It was the Ives 2nd XV’s chance to shine in front of a well fed and watered crowd of Vice presidents and resting players. And shine they did through the murk of a drizzly day. Conditions underfoot were very muddy and sticky, but the two sides put on an entertaining contest for the vociferous spectators.
From the off, the Ives pack had the upper hand in the scrums and loose play. Props Dan Hyde and Pete Hammond had the measure of their opposite numbers, giving a splendid platform for the power of veteran 2nd rowers Ross Thompson and Andy Grieve to drive the opposition back.
Early in the game a well set lineout maul took Ives to within five metres. Greg Dale, whose passing was immaculate throughout, spun the ball to Jim Robinson at stand off. A father and son wrap around with Bradley Robinson saw Senior go over under the posts for a fine try.
Ely played for territory, kicking long and putting pressure on the Ives exits. From one such, Ben Fleming kicked over the chasing Ely hordes. Outpacing all, he was in sight of a great individual try when the last defender tripped him in full flight. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try.
A flowing move between forwards and backs then saw Ben West the recipient of the overlapping pass. He gleefully scampered into the corner.
The bonus point try was scored on the half hour when Robinson Snr. turned provider for Jnr. A well-executed delayed pass saw Jnr score after an excellent line through the defence.
Half time 24-0
The team reset their targets for the second half determined not only to be victorious, but also keep their opponents scoreless. Determined defence was required for the third quarter. The back row of Michael Cocksedge, Kane Hardwick and Sam Tuckwood was revelling in the mud.
In the three quarters, the Robinsons were well abetted by Tom Riches in the centre and young and old Max Flint and Matt Margetts who all had fine games.
The occasional siege breaking run by Robinson Jnr. brought the crowd to life as he continued to take great lines off Snr.’s smooth helmsmanship.
Entering the final quarter, Ely were once again on the attack. The ball slipped from cold hands midfield and Tuckwood was first to react. Hacking the ball upfield, he dribbled to the line gathered and scored.
Ely continued to fight for territory and kick to gain ground. But, as he did throughout the game, Fleming was fielding the ball well and returning with interest. His reward was the game’s final try.
Playing up the right hand side, the Ives forwards battered the visitors’ line, which held firm. Once more a slick pass from Dale released Robinson Snr. The ball was swiftly transferred to Fleming via Hyde for him to sprint in.
Skipper Craig Cheetham was a delighted man post-match. “Today was a proud victory for the 2nd XV. It’s the first time in over five years that we’ve beaten Ely Development, and the first time ever that they’ve left the chicken shack with no points. We also leapfrogged them to finish second in the league. I’ll take that!”