RUGBY UNION: Super St Ives sink the table-toppers as terrific season continues
PUBLISHED: 11:41 13 March 2017 | UPDATED: 11:41 13 March 2017
St Ives’ super season hit new heights as they succeeded where all before them had failed last Saturday.
The brilliant Bulls snatched an 18-17 success at Corby side Stewart & Lloyds to end the table-toppers’ 100 per-cent record in Midlands Division Three East (South).
Skipper Josh Dear, who recovered from a bout of food poisoning to lead his third-placed side to glory, said: “We have again set another standard for ourselves with this performance and result.
“Many of us felt like we had been in a car crash on Sunday morning, but it was worth it for a win like this!”
Resolute defensive work was the cornerstone for a famous victory as St Ives spent much of the opening period deep inside their own territory.
But they weathered the storm before hitting the form as Paul Ashbridge broke and picked out Ollie Bartlett to dash over in the corner.
Ashbridge couldn’t land the conversion, but he did increase the lead with a penalty before Stewart & Lloyds responded with a try on the stroke of the interval.
That cut the Bulls’ advantage to three points, but Ashbridge struck with another penalty in the second period to extend it again.
However, their cushion became a deficit when the hosts executed a fine maul from a line-out to touch down, and a successful conversion edged them into the narrowest of leads.
But St Ives responded superbly as their pack flexed its muscle, driving forward from a line out for David Stone to pick up the ball and touch down again.
Ashbridge made no mistake with a tough conversion, which proved to be crucial, before Stewart & Lloyds were reduced to 14 men by a red card.
The numerical disadvantage didn’t stop them clawing their way back to within a point courtesy of another try, but the conversion went astray as St Ives emerged victorious.
They now go to Northampton Men’s Own for a re-arranged clash this Saturday.
Northampton Men’s Own triumphed 34-25 at St Neots last weekend – a result which all but condemned the local side to relegation.
Second-bottom St Neots are now out of action until March 25, when they go to St Ives for a Huntingdonshire derby.