RUGBY: Huntingdon and St Ives set for derby battle in mouth-watering Midlands Division Two East (South) showdown

St Ives celebrate their Midlands Senior Vase success which formed part of an honours double, also in

St Ives celebrate their Midlands Senior Vase success which formed part of an honours double, also including the Midlands Division Three East (South) title, last season. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

A battle for Huntingdonshire bragging rights is set to rage tomorrow (Saturday).

Huntingdon take on St Ives in a mouth-watering Midlands Division Two East (South) derby at The Racecourse, 3pm.

The early-season fixture, thought to be only the second league clash ever between the two clubs, is expected to attract a bumper crowd.

Admission is free for a clash of two clubs who have experienced vastly different fortunes of late.

Stags, for so long the top dogs around here, were relegated last season and made a losing start to the new campaign when beaten 36-22 at Olney last weekend.

But St Ives have their tails up after launching their first ever campaign at this level with a 55-6 drubbing of Coalville as they bid to follow up their Midlands Division Three East (South) and Midlands Senior Vase successes of 2017/18.

Huntingdon head coach Damien Whales said: “It’s great to have a local derby and I’m looking forward to being a part of it. There will excitement, there will be nerves and hopefully by 5pm on Saturday we have the local bragging rights.

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“It wasn’t ideal for us to lose our first game after being relegated, but hopefully we get our season going this Saturday.

“We know it will be far from easy, though. I’m full of admiration of the success that St Ives enjoyed last season and they clearly made a very impressive start at this level last weekend.”

And there is so plenty of excitement in the St Ives camp ahead of the local showdown.

Director of rugby Phil Brown said: “There is a palpable excitement and buzz around the club in advance of the fixture.

“Huntingdon, by virtue of historic results, have long regarded themselves as the top club in the area whereas we have had aspirations to improve.

“The stars have now aligned to give us a chance to test our progress against them.

“I’m not sure our results last weekend are of any relevance. We faced an unknown quantity who have been switched from west to east whereas Huntingdon took on opponents who, like themselves, have recruited heavily in the close season.

“The game on Saturday will not define the season but it is certainly eagerly awaited.”