ST Ives dreams of a place in the final of the Midlands Junior Vase were dashed at the weekend when they lost 32-25 to Stratford-upon-Avon side Harbury at St Ivo.
It was a disappointing end to a Vase run which has seen the Midlands Four East South promotion candidates beat Copsewood, Keyworth, Boston and Cleethorpes – but a 10-0 lead early on was overturned by the Worcestershire visitors who were helped out by some Bulls ill discipline, admitted captain Jim Robinson.
“I’m gutted really,” he told The Hunts Post. “It was end to end and with ten minutes to go there was only four points in it – but a little bit of ill discipline crept in and that gave them the advantage.
“I know I’m biased but perhaps the referee penalised us a bit more for the back chat – but we didn’t play smart and gave away a penalty when we were ahead.”
The match was supposed to be played at the club’s Chicken Shack home but was switched to St Ivo with their Somersham Road pitch still recovering from the recent bad weather. At the start it look liked things were going to be a breeze for the Bulls, when Mel Jessop scored a try and Robinson converted before adding a penalty. But, as the game went on, the visitors got stronger and a first try was followed by a blow for St Ives when they lost Ollie Bartlett to the sin bin.
While the Bulls were a man down Harbury scored a second try and then a third – all before half time.
Thoughts of a St Ives comeback were dismissed early in the second half when Harbury scored a fourth try to make it 24-10.
Mickey Drake bulldozed over the line to score a second St Ives try to give them a glimmer of hope – but the home side switched off and let Harbury scored a fifth try for 29-17 with time quickly running out.
Robinson grabbed another try for the Bulls but missed the conversation. However, when the captain kicked a penalty, there was only four points in it.
Harbury finished the game on a high though by making sure of the victory with a drop goal in the final minute.
“It’s my job and the coach’s jobs to lift the lads for the league now,” said Robinson. “Two go up and we have a great chance of being one of those two.”
Indeed, with seven games of the season to go, St Ives are sitting pretty in second behind runaway leaders Brackley, with strugglers Westwood their visitors this Saturday.