RUGBY: St Ives issued a statement of intent with grand Midlands Division Two East (South) entrance, but Huntingdon and St Neots suffer losing starts

Josh Meadows was one of the try-scorers as St Ives thumped Coalville on the opening day of the seaso

Josh Meadows was one of the try-scorers as St Ives thumped Coalville on the opening day of the season. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

St Ives could hardly have issued a more emphatic statement of intent after enjoying a high-scoring debut at Midlands Division Two East (South) level last Saturday.

St Ives captain Ollie Bartlett is at full-stretch to make a tackle during their success against Coal

St Ives captain Ollie Bartlett is at full-stretch to make a tackle during their success against Coalville. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

The buoyant Bulls, fresh from an honours double last season, thumped Coalville 55-6 in a Somersham Road try-fest.

Player-coach Paul Ashbridge opened the scoring with a penalty before Tommy Newman touched down for a try that was ruled out by an unsighted referee.

But a brace of Mickey Drake tries were allowed to stand in the first half as St Ives opened up a 17-6 advantage at the interval – and that got a whole lot bigger in the second period as they dominated.

Debutant Chris Williams, player-coach John Naylor, Josh Meadows, Ashbridge and captain Ollie Bartlett all claimed tries during a terrific performance.

Three St Ives players stop a Coalville opponent in his tracks last Saturday. Picture: PAUL COX

Three St Ives players stop a Coalville opponent in his tracks last Saturday. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

Bartlett said: “We have put a marker down and set ourselves a high standard to live up to for the rest of the season.

“Scoring so many tries was great but it was even better to deny Coalville any tries of their own.”

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Ashbridge also sent over a second penalty and kicked seven conversions to complete a bumper haul of points for the Bulls.

They now head to Huntingdon for a local derby this Saturday and they will face a Stags side who were beaten in their first outing.

Damien Whales’ men lost 36-22 on a frustrating afternoon. New captain Roger Shakespeare, former skipper Doug Bentley, the returning Seth Muggeridge and Charlie Saunders scored their tries.

“We paid the price for starting poorly,” said Whales. “We also had a couple of important decisions go against us which certainly didn’t help our predicament.

“We were vastly improved in the second half as we clawed our way back into the game and had Olney under all sorts of pressure.

“But unfortunately we left them off the hook due to a lack of concentration which gifted them a length-of-the-field score.”

St Neots suffered a losing start to the Midlands Division Three East (South) campaign when falling to a 26-13 home defeat at the hands of fellow promoted side Bourne.

They go to Daventry this Saturday.

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