RUGBY: Champions St Ives close in on a century despite some sloppiness against Dunstablians
PUBLISHED: 11:27 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 11:27 23 April 2018
Champions St Ives continued their quest to reach a Midlands Division Three East (South) century last Saturday.
Phil Brown’s men triumphed 33-17 against Dunstablians at Somersham Road in their penultimate fixture of a memorable campaign.
But the Bulls’ head coach was quick to admit that it was not one of his side’s best performances as they found themselves behind on three occasions.
Brown said: “It was a messy game and we’ve very happy to have emerged with the five points.
“We scored some great tries, but in between we allowed ourselves to great frustrated and ended up going off script as a result.”
St Ives started sloppily and gradually found themselves pushed back into their own territory by a succession of fine kicks.
They conceded the opening try after failing to deal with an up and under, but soon clicked into gear as Matt Wood touched down with Paul Ashbridge adding the conversion.
Dunstablians delivered a quick response with their second try arriving little more than 20 seconds after the restart, but the Bulls settled to edge ahead before half-time thanks to a slick score.
Josh Dear bulldozed his way into the visitors’ 22 before John Naylor was released to touch down unchallenged. Ashbridge again added the extras for a 14-12 advantage at the interval.
But that soon disappeared along with Dear, who was yellow-carded for a mis-timed challenge. Dunstablians made the most of their numerical advantage to claim a third try, but that proved to be the last time they troubled the Bulls.
Brown’s side upped the ante to deliver 19 unanswered points to a victory that was anything but comfortable.
Pete Fahey crashed in for a try by the corner flag which was followed by an exquisite Ashbridge conversion from the touchline.
Captain Ollie Bartlett was then held up over the line as St Ives began to pound their tiring visitors and they didn’t have to wait long for further reward when being awarded a penalty try after Dunstablians collapsed a scrum.
That was finally the cue for the table-toppers to relax and show their class in the closing stages when Bartlett rounded off a slick move for his seventh try in three games.
St Ives complete their stunning campaign at home to Rushden & Higham this Saturday when a 20th league victory to rack up a century of points will be the target.