St Ives downed but not downhearted after sterling effort at Leicester Forest

No way through for Leicester Forest as Andrew Hutchison and John Malings make the stop.

No way through for Leicester Forest as Andrew Hutchison and John Malings make the stop. - Credit: PAUL COX

The score says it was a solid defeat on the road but there was still plenty to be proud of for St Ives on their trip to Leicester Forest.

The patched-up squad, hit by illness and work commitments, went down 40-5 at Leicester Forest, third in Midlands Two East (South).

It leaves them fourth from bottom but there was a massive effort and some notable performances among the disrupted ranks.

The Bulls defended resolutely throughout, Ben Fleming setting the standard with four ankle-height tackles in the space of one two-minute spell.

Michael Sykes in action for St Ives against Leicester Forest.

Michael Sykes in action for St Ives against Leicester Forest. - Credit: PAUL COX

With the ball Michael Sykes and Andrew Hutchison found gaps in the home defence and they were actually rewarded with a try from John Malings, bulldozing his way to the line.

Two scores gave the home side the lead but it was still a good reflection of how the match had gone.

However, two scores either side of the interval gave the Foxes a bonus point and the breathing space they needed to relax.

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But the Bulls would not been silenced and they pounded the home defence furiously as well as defending the gain-line.

Luke Basham looks for a way through for St Ives.

Luke Basham looks for a way through for St Ives. - Credit: PAUL COX

Youngster Luke Basham was everywhere, putting in a mountain of hard to break the line in attack and defend the fringes.

Hooker Rob Olivier and battered and bruised Rick Peters were also playing with determination to get their side back in the game.

Among the graft, there was also the heart-warming sight of the last-awarded player of the year Warwick Brittany on the wing, although opportunities for him and full-back Cullan Smy were rare.

Dan Proctor also epitomised the collective effort, travelling with the squad to ensure the required front-row numbers having played for the Vets side the previous evening.

He made his first-team debut in the last 10 minutes.

Rick Peters claims a line-out for St Ives against Leicester Forest.

Rick Peters claims a line-out for St Ives against Leicester Forest. - Credit: PAUL COX

Without a full bench, St Ives naturally tired and conceded two more tries but head coach Max Dominy was still immensely proud of the performance.

He said: "That was a really good shift from the lads. Travelling with 16 after so much disruption this week, to keep the score close for so long and have our own opportunities was backed up with some really good performances."

Huntingdon & District continued their winning home form by beating Mens Own 30-10.

The first quarter was a close affair, with both defences holding firm, but once the Stags pack wrestled control, the momentum shifted the way of the hosts.

A well-worked score put Barnie Westin under the posts, Joe Hicken adding the extras, and the kicker then landed two penalties for a 13-3 half-time lead.

And they put the game to bed after the break, Jamie Gunn getting the second after a superb flat pass from Dan Malem, and the latter then crashed over from short range for the try his performance deserved.

Hicken converted both.

Coach Reggie Reid said: "Another improved performance and we’re beginning to see the work on the training paddock translating to Saturday afternoons.

"We just need to take our home form on the road."

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