Relegation battlers St Ives were beaten in a bog by Bugbrooke last Saturday.

Matt Wood of St Ives during their Midlands Division Two East (South) clash with Bugbrooke. Picture: PAUL COXMatt Wood of St Ives during their Midlands Division Two East (South) clash with Bugbrooke. Picture: PAUL COX

The Bulls suffered a narrow 24-21 defeat in a re-arranged Midlands Division Two East (South) clash at a swamp-like Somersham Road.

The conditions were arguably worse that when the Northamptonshire visitors had deemed them to be unfit when this fixture was originally scheduled late last year.

They seemed to find them to their liking, though, with an early converted try putting St Ives on the back foot, but when the hosts levelled it was all Paul Ashbridge's own work.

He raced onto his own grubber kick to touch down and then also sent over the conversion for good measure.

Shaun Mundy on the charge for St Ives against Bugbrooke with Sam Smith in support. Picture: PAUL COXShaun Mundy on the charge for St Ives against Bugbrooke with Sam Smith in support. Picture: PAUL COX

The Bulls continued to apply pressure but were punished for one mistake too many as Bugbrooke broke to regain the initiative with a second converted try of their own.

A fine tackle from Warwick Brittany prevented further damage when Bugbrooke again threatened before the break and they also had the better of the early exchanges in the second half with St Ives guilty of conceding too many penalties.

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A third try for the away side almost inevitably followed to stretch their advantage to 12 points, but the Bulls quickly responded by laying siege to the Bugbrooke line.

Ollie Bartlett in action for St Ives against Bugbrooke. Picture: PAUL COXOllie Bartlett in action for St Ives against Bugbrooke. Picture: PAUL COX

Andrew Stewart was rewarded for his fast reactions with a try after the ball popped out from a scrum and Ashbridge again sent over the extras, but St Ives were then punished for conceding a penalty as Bugbrooke took advantage to go over for a fourth time.

That left the Bulls 10 points in arrears with only 10 minutes to play and they weren't about to go down without a fight.

Player-coach John Naylor couldn't ground the ball after bursting through a crowd of players, but team-mate Josh Dear did manage it after powering over from close range.

Ashbridge was successful with the conversion but the Bulls could get no closer as they slipped to a narrow loss that keeps them in the drop-zone.

St Ives are on the road this Saturday when they head to Market Bosworth.

Huntingdon and St Neots also return to action in Midlands Division Three East (South) after being without fixtures last weekend.

Huntingdon host Bourne at The Racecourse while rock-bottom Saints head to Bedford side Queens.