RUGBY: Super streak is over as St Ives slip to a first defeat of the season
- Credit: Archant
Player-coach John Naylor is confident a first defeat will not derail St Ives’ super season.
The Bulls’ saw their proud unbeaten record ended last Saturday when pipped 6-5 at Bedford side Queens in a low-scoring Midlands Division Three East (South) clash.
The first blot on an otherwise exemplary copybook arrived in their 20th fixture of the campaign in all competitions.
Naylor said: “It was obviously very disappointing to see our unbeaten run come to an end.
“We always felt we were going to be able to win the game, but we couldn’t actually manage it.
“We haven’t really been able to build any momentum in 2018 with blank weekends and a recent cancelled game, but we can’t really have any excuses.
“Queens were much better than when we met earlier in the season and all credit to them.
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“We can’t let one result derail our whole season and I’m sure we will re-focus on hitting our goals.
“We’re still 10 points clear in the table with three home games to come, and we also have the Midlands Senior Vase final to look forward to next month.”
The scoreline suggests this was a tight encounter, but the reality was very different. Both teams created ample opportunities but failed to convert them.
St Ives began brightly but found themselves falling behind to the first of their hosts’ penalties after being caught offside at a line-out.
The Bulls responded with the only try of the afternoon as Mickey Drake raced onto his own grubber kick, shrugged aside the final defender and touched down to complete a fine individual try.
He received a hefty knock in the process which put him out of the game for around 10 minutes and his side’s advantage only lasted a similar amount of time as Queens sent over another penalty.
That proved to be the end of the scoring despite plenty of excitement at both ends of the pitch with both sides enjoying spells of pressure, but gaining no reward.
St Ives saw one lengthy penalty attempt from Paul Ashbridge fall just short of the posts in the second half, while they left to regret declining the opportunity to kick another penalty on the 22 to chase a try as their attack fizzled out.
Only some resolute defensive work from the likes of fit-again Matt Wood, Ollie Bartlett and Jack Blackley kept the hosts at bay as they made it over the try-line three times, but were held up by the Bulls on each occasion.
St Ives return to action when hosting Rushden & Higham on March 3.