RUGBY: A bunch of fives for St Ives as they ease to win over Casuals

St Ives skipper Josh Dear celebrates his first try of the season during their victory against Northa

St Ives skipper Josh Dear celebrates his first try of the season during their victory against Northampton Casuals. Picture: PAUL COX - Credit: Archant

Rugby St Ives 34 Northampton Casuals 19

The Bulls exacted revenge over league rivals Northampton on Saturday and claimed maximum points to boot.

Casuals were looking to make it a double after claiming victory over St Ives earlier in the season but a standout performance from the Bulls ensured they had the last word, with five players going over for tries in a real team performance.

Team coach Phil Brown said: “It was as fine a performance as we could have wished for. We completed some excellent tries which I know impressed the supporters.”

After a period of strong early pressure, spearheaded by the Bulls’ pack, Ollie Raine found space enough to dive over the line to open the scoring. Paul Ashbridge added the conversion.

Jack Blackley was next on the scoresheet, planting down at a stretch after being held up short of the line.

Casuals were not out of the contest, though, and enjoyed a period of dominance that saw them pull a try back. Ollie Bartlett, Raine, Ashbridge and Tommy Newman all worked tirelessly to keep the visitors at bay, but Casuals managed to add a second before the break to pull the scores level.

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Parity was short lived, however, as Ives rallied to score a pressure-relieving third. A loose ball was seized upon by a sprinting Mickey Drake, who chipped through and dived over to score. Ashbridge converted to bring the half to a close.

Having taken the momentum into the break, the hosts came out firing and added further scores in the second half through Alex Henly and skipper Josh Dear. Ashbridge also added a penalty to complete an excellent day for St Ives, who remain in third place in the league.

They return to action on March 4 when they travel to Northampton Men’s Own.

Also in action in Division 3 East were St Neots, who lost in a high-scoring tussle with Northampton BBOB. Battling Neots went down 46-31 to mid-table BBOB, a result which keeps them second from bottom. St Neots will also be away from home on March 4 as they travel to Northampton Casuals.