RUGBY: Draw for relegation battlers Huntingdon; defeat for promotion-chasing St Ives; third loss in a row for St Neots

Ollie Raine scored one of the St Ives tries in their loss at Long Buckby. Picture: PAUL COX

Ollie Raine scored one of the St Ives tries in their loss at Long Buckby. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

Head coach Damien Whales praised the fighting spirit of his Huntingdon side after they picked up two valuable points in their Midlands Division Two East (South) survival fight.

The rock-bottom Stags shared the spoils with Corby side Stewarts & Lloyds in a 10-10 deadlock at The Racecourse last Saturday.

Charlie Saunders provided the two Stags tries – which put them ahead in both halves – but they had to survive a late onslaught from the visitors.

“It was a gritty performance to gain two points,” said Whales. “We showed a lot of heart for the second successive home game and that is essential if we are to get ourselves out of trouble.

“We have to scrap for every single point and the two we picked up in this game could prove crucial at the end of the season.

“It’s vital we pick up points at home and in games against the teams around us so this was a step in the right direction.”

St Ives’ promotion challenge in Midlands Division Two East (South) was hit by an away defeat last Saturday.

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A much-changed Bulls side were beaten 29-12 at Northamptonshire outfit Long Buckby.

They trailed 19-5 at the break with a Tommy Newman try, following an effective driving maul, all they had to show for their endeavours in the opening 40 minutes.

St Ives had to soak up further pressure early in the second half before cutting their arrears thanks an Ollie Raine try which was expertly converted from the touchline by Alex Henly.

But there was no rousing fightback from the Bulls as they conceded two further tries to suffer a fourth defeat of their debut campaign at this level.

They remain in third place ahead of a break until January 26 when they host Market Bosworth. Huntingdon & are at Leicestershire side Belgrave on that date.

St Neots suffered a third successive Midlands Division Three East (South) defeat last Saturday. Johnny Berwick’s side went down 32-5 at Dunstablians with Jordan Rook providing their try.

They switch their attention to the Midlands Senior Vase this Saturday when travelling to Daventry for a semi-final showdown.

They were pipped 37-32 by the same opponents in a high-scoring league clash earlier this month.