Feast of running rugby in the sun
By Phil Brown
Useful run out for both squads points the way to the new season
With the new season fast approaching, St. Ives plan to be competitive at their historic highest league level (E. Mids 2S), introduce youngsters to senior rugby in the 2nd XV and expand the playing opportunity by fielding a third XV.
Having had a very useful joint training and playing session with near neighbours St. Neots the previous week, these plans were given a big boost with a full on encounter with Cantabs. The visitors also fielded a mixed squad, enabling both sides to take a look at the prospects for the coming season. It was clear throughout that both squads were determined to practise on-field moves rather than kick, either from hand or penalties. The onlooking supporters were treated to a feast of running rugby.
Played in 4 sessions and in warm temperatures, the game started at a cracking pace. Cantabs were first out of the blocks posting two early tries. One followed a quickly taken lineout and good hands out wide, the second good continuity following a turnover.
Realising that contact was now for real, St. Ives dusted themselves down and started to compete. Two well-rehearsed moves, one from a scrum, the other a lineout gave the three quarters the opportunity to pierce the visitors’ defence through Pete Fahey, scored by Alex Henly and Mickey Drake.
A chip through saw the indefatigable Fahey following up what looked like a lost cause. The full back foundered and Fahey grubbered further to score.
Cantabs attacked, but were held out by excellent defence. Following a turnover, Fahey’s attempted clearance kick swirled back into the arms of Albiee Tayedzerwa. From his own 22 metre line, Tayedzerwa scampered upfield, handing off two defenders to score.
As the third session started, Ives were in the ascendant. Drake added two more tries, one following an outrageous dummy, the other after a direct thrust by Henly. Drake returned the favour by releasing Henly for a further score.
With both sides rotating players as they suffered in the heat, the game became more fragmented. Cantabs came back into the match with three tries, all following determined continuity and support. These were interspersed with two more for the Ives, one through a 50 metre dash by skipper Bartlett, the other unnamed to this scribe.
Whilst both coaching teams were delighted with the run out and attitude, some St. Ives mentions must be made:
Duncan Williams, the only player to manage all 80 minutes - made some tremendous runs and anchored the scrum.
Back rowers Ollie Bartlett and Josh Meadows were justifiably exhausted at the close having run miles.
Youngsters Bradley Robinson, Ben West, Brandon MacDonald, Michael Cocksedge and George Peacock all showed the way to the future.
Newcomers Sam Butler, Robin Windon, Rick Peters and David Sykes all enjoyed their first outings at this level.
And of course, the older hands showed they had not forgotten how the game goes.
The Ives face Ely on 25th, which they will also treat as a squad preparation match. This week’s absentees will be given the opportunity to press for places in the upcoming teams.
Squad: Ashbridge, Bartlett (C), Blackley J, Butler, Cocksedge, Dale, Drake, Fahey, Fleming, Hammond, Henly, Hyde, Lumley-Good, MacDonald, Meadows, Myers, Naylor, Newman, Peacock, Peters, Robinson (B), Sharp, Sykes, Tayedzerwa, West, Williams, Windon