GALLERY: St Neots triumph in derby win over St Ives

St Neots (red) v St Ives rugby

St Neots (red) v St Ives rugby - Credit: Archant

St Neots 20 St Ives 17

A derby success which came complete with a higher-level scalp – St Neots Saints’ defence of the Hunts & Peterborough Cup could hardly have got off to a better start on Saturday.

But the Saints, unbeaten in the 2014-15 campaign after running riot at Midlands Division Four East (South) Level, had to dig deep to do it the hard way against their rivals.

They trailed St Ives, who play their rugby one rung up the Midlands ladder in Division Three East (South), 12-3 at one stage before surging to victory in a match where all 37 points were scored in the second period.

The two sides merely sized each other up and cancelled each other out in the opening 40 minutes. St Neots looked sharper in open play, but St Ives were better at the scrum thanks to a more sizable pack.

But the game did eventually come to life following the resumption as St Ives scored under the posts thanks to the darting Mickey Drake.

St Neots responded as Lewis Hall guided over a penalty, but a second try for the visitors from James Hodgson soon followed.

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But then the super Peel siblings hit their stride to fire St Neots to victory.

Adam fed Sam to sprint over in the corner to haul them back into contention before racing in himself from 50 yards out for another try as they hit the front for the first time.

And Adam wasn’t done there as he benefited from a Rob Black line-out steal and a Scott Hardiman pass to power over under the posts again.

Hall did the honours with the conversion before St Ives came back strongly as Ollie Bartlett crossed the line, but it was St Neots who held on to prevail.

Coach John Blenkharn said: “We showed a fantastic level of commitment and resolve in coming back from 12-3 down against a team in a league above.

“It demonstrates we do have the players and the ability to play at a higher level and that is our aim come the end of this season.”

Both teams return to league action this weekend with St Neots bidding to extend their 100 per cent record to 10 games at Old Newtonians while a step higher St Ives should triumph at bottom club Northampton Mens Own.

Huntingdon entertain whipping boys Spalding in Midlands Division One East. The Stags’ home clash against Paviors last weekend fell victim to a saturated Racecourse ground.