Sat 05
2nd XV
Ely 2
J Paddison
N Gusto (2)
N Gusto (2)
Debutants shine in the gloom

Debutants shine in the gloom

By Phil Brown
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Short shift leaves Bulls short

The build up to this fixture, looked like St. Ives would not raise a team, however come matchday we started with a full 15 including two colts players Lewis Olivier and Connor O’Neill making their senior debuts, and a subs bench of 2 St. Ives players and 2 guest players.
The weather and atrocious playing conditions was a leveller in this top of the table home league fixture. Ely Tigers started the game with the wind and the rain behind them, and from the kick-off put the ball deep into the St. Ives 22.
Whilst St. Ives were dealing with the initial onslaught by Ely, within the first few minutes, the visitors broke through the defensive line to score under the posts. With the conversion kicked, Ely took an early 7 point lead.
From the kick-off Ely worked the ball back into the St. Ives half, using their pack and runners off the back of the mauls and rucks to inch closer to the try line. Eventually finding a gap again in the Bulls defence to run in their 2nd try. With the conversion wind assisted sailing through the posts to double the score.
St. Ives dug deep in the mud, and began the fight back. Using their backline from their own 22, Olivier and O’Neill, both made breaks, whilst running in to the wind to endeavour to get out of their own half. With Ely having more to worry about in defence, this gave chance for some great individual runs in the forwards by Basham , Peach and Proctor. Match this with some tackles in the Bulls own defence with Cherrington, skipper Riches and the rest of the back line not giving any further chances to Ely.
Finally St. Ives got their breakthrough, the ball found it’s way down the back line for O’Neill to make a defiant break , then managing to release the ball in mid tackle to the St. Ives support. After a spilled ball and a couple of fly hacks, the ball managed to bobble into Ely’s 22, Padderson ran through from the left wing to pick up the loose ball and run in the St. Ives try. With O’Neill suffering a severe case of cramp, Basham took over kicking duties, but didn’t quite have the strength against the wind to secure the extra points, score 5:14.
From the Ely kick-off St. Ives trundled back up the pitch with runs by Vivers, Peach, Basham and Sharp. Unfortunately with the St. Ives attack in one’s and two’s they lacked support at the breakdown, which resulted in turnover ball or knock-on.
In the last few minutes of the 1st half St. Ives again found themselves on the half way, only to try and kick into the wind, and then found themselves a few seconds later having to defend their own 5 metre line. From the resulting ruck, the 1st and only penalty was awarded for a high tackle by St. Ives. Ely opted to tap and run for the line but some sterling tackling prevented Ely getting any further than the 5 metre line. An injury to scrum half Boyle from the last Ely attack saw the half time whistle go.
Halftime 5:14
St. Ives made some changes at the interval with fresh legs and more noticeably very clean jerseys. With Boyle injured, Olivier moved to scrum half and O’Neill to fly half, with guest player Dim going to full back.
In the second half St. Ives got their game face on and took it to Ely with some excellent line breaks, but this time with support play. Although by now the conditions had worsened and the ball became very hard to hold on to and it became very difficult to identify who was playing for who, as the mud stained shirts camouflaged the playing colours.
More changes early in the 2nd half through injuries, saw Stubbington and Beauchamp enter the fray.
Both got straight into action with some excellent barnstorming runs. Basham also continued his efforts to break the Ely line, but the play was eventually forced into touch.
As St. Ives kept on the pressure it was surely only a matter of time before the Bulls would gain atleast one more score in the game. But time in fact was completely against them, when the referee firstly gave three blasts of the whistle, this bought a massive cheer from Ely, for them to be told it was actually their scrum.
From the resulting scrum another fumble, only this time the hyperthermic referee gave another three blasts on the whistle to end the game in the 63rd minute!
Final score 5:14 , but a super spirited effort by St. Ives 2nds in atrocious conditions.
There were some excellent individual performances from the whole team, but our man of the match was a double award to the two debutants, Olivier for his energetic performance at both fly half and then scrum half, O’Neill for his running line breaks across the mud-soaked pitch, and both for their countless tackles against players twice their size.
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Match details

Match date

Sat 05, Mar 2022


Lewis Olivier

Star Player

Lewis Olivier