RUGBY LEAGUE: Super second-half comeback earns success for St Ives Roosters in East Premier Division opener

St Ives Roosters player-coach Paul Ashbridge starred in their winning start to the season.

St Ives Roosters player-coach Paul Ashbridge starred in their winning start to the season. - Credit: Archant

St Ives Roosters failed to win a single away game last season – but they certainly made up for that with a successful first outing of 2017.

A Roosters side, featuring a handful of new players to the sport, triumphed 39-34 at St Albans Centurions in their East Premier Division curtain-raiser last Saturday.

It was a result which delighted new skipper Josh Meadows, who said: “Before the game I asked the lads to give me 110 per cent – they gave me even more than that.

“We know that we have plenty to work on in training, but this is a great start to the season and really gives us something to build on.”

A converted Barnie West try quickly put Roosters ahead, but the hosts responded to touch down three times, although they failed to add the extras on each occasion.

Rhod Howcroft levelled when charging over for a converted try after player-coach Paul Ashbridge had darted through a gap in the St Albans defence, but two more tries from the hosts put them 10 points ahead at the interval.

David Sykes soon raced in from close range, but another double from the hosts left Roosters, who handed debuts to Pete Hammond, Gethin Jones and Alex Henly, staring at a 34-18 deficit.

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But they responded with 21 unanswered points during the remainder of the second half to emerge victorious.

Jack Trolove stole the ball from an opponent to grab a try before Ashbridge successfully chased down his own chip to race under the posts unopposed.

An Ashbridge drop-goal then shaved another point off the arrears before he took advantage of some tired St Albans tackling to race in for his second try.

His successful conversion edged Roosters ahead and they clinched victory when man-of-the-match Charlie Mandley touched down to complete a move he started.

Roosters entertain Brentwood Eels at the One Leisure St Ives Outdoor tomorrow (Saturday), 3pm.