St. Ives hosted top of the table Leicester Forest RFC, on Vice Presidents Day Lunch, for once the playing conditions were near perfect with the sun shining and the pitch good to firm.
With many of the VP’s dignitaries still finding their positions on the side-lines, St. Ives found themselves behind from the kick-off, where-by the visitors put the ball through hands and created the overlap to score.
Then 3 mins later another attack through midfield from Leicester Forest , saw The Bulls put in some last ditched defence to prevent the score but it seemed illegal according to the referee, and with advantage being played, Leicester Forest made use of the free ball and threw a long pass wide to score . Despite being out wide the Leicester Forest kicker got the additional two points.
St. Ives finally realised they were in a game and pushed hard with blitz defence and were very unlucky not to get two interceptions by Fleming and Henly, both in the Leicester Forest half, which on another day could have balanced the score.
St. Ives held strong for a good 10 mins, however after a ruck just outside the Bulls 22, the Leicester Forest no. 9 (probably their MOTM) made use of the opportunity to pick-up the ball and make an unopposed sprint to score under the posts. With the kick converted St. Ives were down by 19 points after as many minutes.
With Leicester Forest making full use of the ball, the St. Ives defence was reduced to high and desperate tackles, this led to a penalty for a high tackle just outside the St. Ives 22. A quick tap by the Leicester Forest scrum half , with another break through the defence to score under the posts, and the kicker made it 26 points to nil.
After 25 minutes Leicester Forest had a scrum in the St. Ives half , which they held their ground under a heavy push from the Bulls pack, only for the visitors backs to control the passing and eventually break a tackle in midfield to score under posts. The kicker made it 33 points to nil.
St Ives when they had possession looked dangerous and a good attack from the backline, when Smy kicked a grubber through deep into the Leicester Forest 22 , under Smy’s pressure the fullback for Leicester Forest gathered the ball to set up a super quick counter attack, with Brennan making a try saving tackle high up the opposite end of the pitch.
A few minutes later a break from St. Ives fly half Paxton, who again kicked through nearly led to a Bulls breakaway.
With bodies on both sides tiring before the half time break, on 36 minutes Leicester Forest again broke through a missed tackle in midfield but try saving tackle from Henly saved more points to the away team, the breakdown resulted in a defensive scrum. Unfortunately the Bulls struggled to clear lines, only to clear the ball to touch. Leicester Forest drove up the 5m line from a front call line out, after several drives to the line Leicester Forest forwards eventually touched down. With the conversion kicked half time 40 to nil to Leicester Forest.
From the half time kick off Leicester Forest started the 2nd half as they did the 1st half, taking possession of the ball, running the ball wide after Brennan made a try saving tackle under posts, the ball was spun wide with a long pass to create the overlap and score in corner, for the visitors to add to the score line. Kicker who was on great form hit a conversion from the 5 metre line to secure the extra points.
After 44 min The Bulls found themselves locked in their own 22, and tried pushing out with some forward running, once again the Leicester Forest scrum half made a break from the half way line, but once again Brennan made the saving tackle 5 metres from their own try line.
On 51 min from line out in Bulls 22, the ball thrown to number 6 at the back of line, a quick pass from the Leicester Forest no.9 to his backline, their outside centre then bounced off a desperate St Ives tackle to score. With the conversion hitting the post score 52 to nil to Leicester Forest.
On 55 min St. Ives found themselves in the Leicester Forest half, after sustained pressure into the Leicester Forest 22, a quick ball by Cox at the breakdown saw the ball passed wide, a drive forward by Robinson, was held up just before the try line, with eventually Williams smashing over the line to score. Conversion was neatly struck by St, Ives Mandley to put 7 points on the board for St. Ives.
St. Ives with their tails up started to play their running game and a break from their own half by Brennan led to an attack into the Leicester Forest 22. A quick tap penalty sent Williams to the line, finally resulting in an attacking scrum to St. Ives. Another penalty given to St. Ives, meant another quick tap penalty, which again saw Robinson cross the line but ball held up.
The resulting goal line drop out led to Robinson et al driving up field before the ball was spun wide by the St. Ives back line for Smy to score in the corner.
So after 60 minutes the score line 12 points to 52.
From the restart St Ives conceded a scrum just on the edge of the Bulls 22. Leicester Forest from the scrum put the ball down the back line and performed a cutting scissors move in midfield which outfoxed the St. Ives defence and ended in a score opposite corner. With the kick converted, the score line increased to 59 points for the visitors.
On 68 min another running move by Leicester Forest led to a break through into Bulls 22. From the scramble defence the ball was passed wide to score. The kick converted to make it 66 points to Leicester Forest.
Another attack by Leicester Forest late on led to the St. Ives player of the day Brennan making another try save tackle, and surprisingly the referee gave a ball held up when everyone thought Leicester Forest had scored, this resulted in a penalty to St. Ives after back chat from the Leicester Forest player. From 5m out from their own try line St. Ives put in a great last spell and drove up the field with runs from Williams, Dear and M Sykes. A massive hand off by skipper Newman , managed to get the Bulls up to the half way line.
The last 5 mins saw the game played either side of the halfway line. Late on Brennan made another break only for St. Ives to lose the ball in the ruck. Then Leicester Forest made a counter attack wide, with a 2 v 1 against Robinson and as the only wide defender, he was left only to grab high and concede a penalty.
Leicester Forest kicked down field to win a line out in the St. Ives 22. With the game being played in the St. Ives 22 , another line out to St. Ives this time , with the ball won by St. Ives, Paxton choose to give the Bulls back line one last chance to run, with the ball span flat 5 metres from the St. Ives try line the ball was intercepted and Leicester Forest scored their easiest try and conversion of the day..
Final score 12 to 73
The score-line didn’t really reflect the overall performance put in by St. Ives on the day, against a very skilful opposition in Leicester Forest, with their kicker who added a further 18 points to the score.