Roosters run league leaders close in thriller

A FIRED-UP St Ives Roosters side ran league leaders Northampton close on Saturday. The first meeting of the teams in May was abandoned after a mass brawl broke out, with the Roosters losing 42-4. Comments posted on the Casuals website promised the Roost

A FIRED-UP St Ives Roosters side ran league leaders Northampton close on Saturday.

The first meeting of the teams in May was abandoned after a mass brawl broke out, with the Roosters losing 42-4.

Comments posted on the Casuals' website promised the Roosters a similarly physical welcome on Saturday, but the challenge seemed to bring the best out of the visitors.

"When we saw what they had said, I didn't need to give a team talk. That was all the motivation we needed for the game," said coach Ian Hill.


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"I thought we deserved to win the game - we caught them by surprise, and they underestimated us. At times during the match we made them look very ordinary."

Casuals have been in rampant form this year, but St Ives were boosted by the signings of GB student international Nick Walker and West Hull player Ben Parker. They also welcomed Lee Kupyn back from long-term injury.

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David Sykes opened the scoring for the Roosters, after Northampton had given away a series of penalties, but the kick was missed. Further indiscipline saw a Northampton player yellow carded, and half-backs Walker and Michael Drake began to open up the Northampton defence at will.

The visitors extended their lead when Paul Ashbridge fed Andy Dean to go over in the corner.

The turning point of the match came on 20 minutes, when the Roosters lost Parker to an arm injury, and Walker to concussion. The Casuals were able to capitalise on the double blow, and scored twice to make the score 14-8 at half-time.

Ashbridge scored for the Roosters early in the second half after a good team move, but a third missed conversion meant Roosters were still playing catch-up.

As the game opened up, Northampton added two more tries before Parker returned to the field and scored for the Roosters. David Sykes then left the field with a broken hand, and the Casuals added another try.

Walker returned to the field for the final 15 minutes, and showed his class with two excellent individual tries, stepping through the Casuals defence take the score to 30-26. With the game in the balance and the momentum with the Roosters, the Casuals had to add one final try to make sure of the win.

The Roosters' next game is against Bury Titans at Somersham Road, at 2.30pm on Saturday July 18.

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