Midlands 5 East (South) St Ives Bulls 5 Aylestone Athletic 27 FIELDING what could hardly be described as a first team, St Ives started the year with a disappointing loss to league rivals Aylestone Athletic. Skipper Pete Hammond said: "We dominated this game for long periods and came away empty-handed. As soon as we see the try-line we develop a phobia and seem unable to cross it. We need to start getting something from games or relegation will be a real possibility." Aylestone came full of confidence having won the previous fixture between the sides this season by a healthy margin but it was the home side that showed early intent without actually scoring. The visitors then won a loose ball and some poor defensive work by St Ives allowed them over the line. They repeated this with an almost carbon copy try to leave Saints 10-0 adrift after only 10 minutes. Saints then dominated the rest of the half and camped inside the Aylestone 22-metre line only to be undone yet again as the visitors scored another breakaway try. Changes made at half-time seemed to have little difference in the end result of St Ives play - rucks and mauls were secure and provided a good attacking platform - but Ives still could not score. Aylestone again exploited some poor defensive work from the home side to score two tries albeit one under controversial circumstances. St Ives did manage a face-saving try in the dying minutes. Hooker Gez Gilburt kicked the ball over the advancing Aylestone defenders and collected the bounce to storm up the pitch. This surprise attack enabled Ives to mount pressure on the visitors' line and force a penalty close to the try line. Steve Burke then forced his way over the line to score, ending the match 27-5 to Aylestone. n Next up for St Ives is a trip to Oundle on January 19.