St Ives demonstrated their promotion credentials with a demonstration of how to perform under pressure with a hard fought victory over Falmouth in appalling conditions at Alexandra Road on Saturday. The Hakes secured victory by scoring 3 tries and defending ferociously when reduced to 13 players on the field.
The Hakes needed victory to hang on to the coat tails of league leaders Bude and also take revenge on Falmouth, who had caused an upset by beating them in October.
Both sides came to the match short of key players, Luke Collins and Humphreys for the Hakes, Falmouth missing Skipper Justin Irons and lock Jon Lamsin.
Playing into the wind and with rain streaming down St Ives began the match in enterprising style, with surprisingly slick handling and offloads. Number 8 Martyn Lawrence spearheading attacks but the Eagles were resolute in defence, literally soaking up tackles, openside Tom Simmons a stand out all game.
A high penalty count was costing the Eagles, as was a misfiring line out as St Ives dominated possession and territory, the cracks were widening and a score seemed inevitable. From a lost lineout St Ives Prop, Jess Tompsett drove forward twice in quick succession making hard yards, lively scrum half Jason Jackson spotted an overlap and the ball was shipped to wing to dive over in the corner, Grant Thirlby missing the conversion. The rest of the half continued in the same vein, St Ives dominating but being held out by Falmouth but also with conditions worsening, handling errors becoming more frequent and there were no further scores.
With very little between the two teams Falmouth were encouraged by Coaches Whitmore and Morgan at the interval to “give it a go” but they were hurt straight from kick off by a St Ives score.
A low skidding kick off was knocked on, from the scrum the Eagles prop was penalised for not staying straight, the Hakes kicked the penalty to the corner and Cameron Bone secured a catch to drive over the line. On a filthy day when handling and even running with the ball was a real challenge this was a hammer blow for Falmouth.
The Eagles never give in and looked to have been given a life line when the replacement prop was sent off for punching. Tom Spiller converted the penalty to bring Falmouth to within 7 points.
Falmouth however were the architects of their own downfall when from kick off the exact copy of events for the second try was replayed, kick off, knock on, scrum, penalty, line out, catch and drive, try, although this time Grant Thirlby secured the extras with a brilliantly judged kick which was sent wide and drifted on the wind between the posts.
St Ives, using all means available to secure the match deliberately slowed the play, Falmouth were awarded a series of penalties and eventually referee sent flanker to the sin bin.
With the opposition down to 13 the Eagles sniffed an opportunity but the St Ives defence was ferocious, quick off the line they snuffed out any chance the Eagles had of exploiting their advantage. Falmouth only making half breaks through a Baragwanath attack and Jon Baglow hacking a loose ball forward.
In dismal conditions and spectators barely able to see play at the far end of the field, the referee blew for full time as the Hakes held on to maintain their challenge.
Searle, Geach, Kirk, David, Baglow, Simmons, Bailey, McColl, Tyson, Biggins, Job, Kindjardsky, Spiller, Lea, Symons.
Church, Baragwanath, Instance.
Written by James Instance. Photo by Sunshine Tucker.