On the day the Club celebrated their season at the annual Awards night, it was fitting that St. Ives 2nds were able to bring a trophy to the event. Travelling to Saffron Walden for the Cambridgeshire Cup Finals day, the Ives faced a Bury 4th string that were coming into the match on a good run.
With the remnants of Storm Hannah at their backs, the Bulls began well and had their opponents under pressure. Good defence saw the Bury winger bundled into touch in his own 22. From the lineout, Ives attempted a maul, but savvy play by the Bury forwards held it up and the chance was lost.
No matter as from the ensuing scrum, Ives turned the ball over with Stuart Cornwell bulldozing his way to the line to open the scoring.
The opening quarter was all Ives. Eschewing an easy three points from in front, Ives took a quick tapped penalty and spread the ball wide. Bradley Robinson took up the charge and crashed over for the second try. Jim Robinson struck an excellent conversion from the touchline to stretch the lead to 14.
Bury then got back into the game. A series of soft penalties conceded by the Bulls gave Bury momentum and they surged upfield. For fully 15 minutes Ives were kept pinned in their own half. The sign of a cohesive team is its defence and the Bulls demonstrated immense resolve to keep Bury out. Even following the carding of Graham Moffitt for a breakdown offence, Ives kept their line intact.
With the half drawing to a close, the Bulls finally broke the shackles. The ball was swiftly transferred to the left where Callum Long was given just enough space to swerve round his opposite number. Typical of his season, he then put on the after burners and scorched downfield to score in the corner.
Half time 19-0
Playing the second half into the gale, Ives kept the ball in hand. Immediately, a break by Joe Cox gained territory. Good direct running and handling by the younger Robinson and Tom Riches saw the ball reach Rick Peters on the right wing. He demonstrated similar pace to his wing partner and scored under the posts.
Ives then found themselves once more on the wrong end of the penalty count. A series of misdemeanours saw Bury truck upfield via their forwards. Tapping a penalty on 5 metres, the Ives defence finally ran out of numbers and Bury scored wide out on the right.
Chiding themselves for their indiscipline, Ives quickly got back to dominance. Probably the try of the match was then scored as the Ives played from deep in their own half, the ball going through countless hands and phases. It was David Sykes topping a fine personal performance who trotted through the last defence to complete a great team try.
Ives were now on a roll. The changes were rung with the bench given opportunities to shine, but there was no alteration to the fine structure the Bulls were now imposing on their opponents.
Pressure forced a lineout in the Bury 22. Jacko Tate hit his man and a training ground wrap around saw Ives just held short of the line. Quick recycling got the ball to Jordan Edwards who barrelled his way over for the try.
Expertly marshalled by skipper Jim Robinson, Ives were soon on the attack again. It was Bury’s turn to demonstrate resilience as strong defence aided by a little white line fever kept Ives at bay. The ball was finally spun left and Fin Ruddock ran around the overlap to score.
Bury were determined to get something for their efforts and fought to gain territory. Once again, the Ives defence held firm. Deep in their own half, the Bulls turned the ball over and whipped the ball wide to Max Flint. He needed no second invitation and sprinted 60 metres to score.
With the clock running down there was still time for the Bulls to construct two more splendid tries.
The first saw Graeme Stubbington take a fine line to crash through weak shoulders. Looking around for support, he found none, so had to run the 40 metres to the line himself to score.
From the final kick off, Jack Webb pierced the close-in defence and sprinted upfield. Good support enabled the ball to reach Peters who gleefully sprinted to the posts.
With Robinson Snr. striking five conversions and Mitch Newman 3, the Bulls ran out with a resounding victory to finish their season in style.