St Ives were pipped by a last-gasp penalty in a top-of-the-table Midlands Division Two East (South) showdown last Saturday.

Bradley Robinson drives forward for St Ives against Olney. Picture: PAUL COXBradley Robinson drives forward for St Ives against Olney. Picture: PAUL COX

Phil Brown’s men suffered a 16-14 loss at the hands of Olney in the big game, which was settled in dramatic fashion, at Somersham Road.

The Buckinghamshire visitors hit the front with the first try of the afternoon before the boot of Paul Ashbridge put three points on the board for the Bulls after a tip tackle on Ollie Raine, who was making his first appearance of the season after injury.

Ashbridge soon guided over another penalty to complete a quick turnaround and their advantage grew further when Pete Fahey touched down for a try following a patient move which stemmed from more Olney offending.

Ashbridge was unable to add the conversion but he did kick another penalty on the half-hour to leave the Bulls nine points clear, but that proved to be the end of their scoring.

St Ives man Ollie Raine attempts to split the Olney defence. Picture: PAUL COXSt Ives man Ollie Raine attempts to split the Olney defence. Picture: PAUL COX

A series of excellent chances for tries went beginning before the break and that failure to turn the screw became even more frustrating as Olney hit back in the second period when it was their turn to benefit from having the strong wind at their backs.

A long-range penalty cut St Ives’ cushion to six points and further ill-discipline ultimately led to it being wiped out completely.

A series of penalties allowed the visitors to touch down for a second try but the conversion went begging to leave the Bulls one point up with one minute to go.

But then came the late twist as another Olney penalty from 45 metres kissed post and crossbar before creeping over to condemn Brown’s men to a first home defeat for 18 months.

St Ives man Joseph Cox runs at the Olney defence last Saturday. Picture: PAUL COXSt Ives man Joseph Cox runs at the Olney defence last Saturday. Picture: PAUL COX

He said: “It’s a sign of how far the club has come in recent seasons that we treated a defeat to one of the pre-season favourites for promotion as a game that got away.

“There’s no doubt we can hold our heads high despite the final result. We were comfortable for 79 of the 80 minutes and we can certainly take the good things we showed – as well as adding a bit more accuracy close to the try line – into our future fixtures.”

The Bulls, who dropped to third after their second reverse of the campaign, now have a Saturday off before returning to action when they host lowly Vipers on November 17.