GALLERY: St Ives Roosters win East Rugby League Premier grand final at third attempt

10:08 19 August 2014

St Ives Roosters v Bedford Tigers, Rooster (yellow) win the league.

St Ives Roosters v Bedford Tigers, Rooster (yellow) win the league.

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St Ives Roosters were crowned East Rugby League Premier League champions at the weekend after beating Bedford Tigers on Saturday (August 16).

St Ives Roosters were crowned East Rugby League Premier League champions at the weekend after beating Bedford Tigers on Saturday (August 16).

They won the grand final at the Ivo outdoor 42-30 for the first time having lost out twice at the same stage in the past two seasons.

The Tigers took the early lead with a drop kick but Roosters hit back with a try close to the posts by Josh Meadows, converted by player coach Paul Ashbridge.

Two tries from Adam Peel and one from Michael Drake, all of which were followed by successful kicks, meant the home side went in 24-12 at the break.

The Roosters’ defence was breached twice after the interval to reduce the deficit to 24-22. The momentum looked to be with the Tigers after Drake was sin binned, David Sykes left the field in an ambulance after dislocating and fracturing his hip, and Andrew Hutchinson was side-lined after tearing his Achilles tendon.

But with 12 men, the Roosters scored twice, through Sam Peel and Luke Slade, before extending their lead further when Sam Peel crossed the line for a second time.

Any thoughts of a rout, however, soon disappeared as the visitors scored another two tries but they were to be the final points of the match and the game and the title belonged to the Roosters.

A delighted Ashbridge said: “It was more relief than anything else. We’d been there twice before and we did not want to be known as a team that crumbles under pressure.

“In the last four years we’ve put a good squad together, set up the junior section, relocated to the Ivo and we’re starting to reap the rewards.”

Man-of-the-match was Josh Dear, who Ashbridge praised for his strong ball carrying and commitment to defence.

The win means the Roosters will take part in the Harry Jepson Trophy, contested by the top sides from amateur leagues across the country, and face London Premier champions South West London Chargers at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday, September 6.

“There will be a lot of nerves floating about,” said Ashbridge. “But there’s no pressure on us and we can go and have a go.”

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