RUGBY: Huge year begins in winning style as six-try haul ensures table-topping St Ives triumph
- Credit: Archant
The biggest year in St Ives’ history began in successful style last Saturday.
The Bulls extended their 100 per cent record to 12 games in Midlands Division Three East (South) – and 16 in all competitions – with a 36-15 victory against Leicester Forest.
Paul Ashbridge, Albiee Tayedzerwa and Ollie Raine collected two tries apiece for a set of table-toppers chasing title glory at this level for the first time.
St Ives are also through to the semi-finals of the Midlands Senior Vase and the significance of the next few months is not lost on skipper Ollie Bartlett.
He said: “That was a tough test to start the year and we came through it well. We’ve got plenty more hard challenges coming up in league and cup, and this result helps us to look forward to those with some confidence.”
St Ives had to survive a couple of early scares before Ashbridge raced in to open their try account for 2018. It was followed almost immediately by a second score as Tayedzerwa scorched into the corner after being released by Josh Dear.
Any thoughts of a cakewalk were soon dismissed as Forest claimed a converted try, but the Bulls responded well to asset their authority before the break thanks to a pair of Raine tries which sandwiched a penalty for the visitors.
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That left St Ives in possession of a 14-point advantage which was cut by another away try early in the second half and that prompted a spell of Leicester pressure as the Bulls were forced to defend their line doggedly.
But they weren’t about to surrender their proud winning record. Some excellent kicking provided respite and pushed St Ives upfield and allowed Ashbridge to complete his brace before Tayedzerwa did likewise after slicing through the Forest defence at high speed. Ashbridge also sent over three of his conversion attempts.
Second-bottom Northampton BBOB are the next obstacle for St Ives to overcome. They entertain the strugglers at Somersham Road this Saturday.
St Neots resume their Midlands Division Four East (South) title challenge with their first outing of 2018 when travelling to Stamford College Old Boys.