St Ives are gearing up for an early-season clash of the Midlands Division Three East (South) titans this Saturday.

The Bulls welcome fellow 100 per-cent starters Northampton Casuals to Somersham Road for a mouth-watering top-of-the-table showdown, 3pm.

Both teams have won their opening three league games and St Ives head coach Phil Brown insists his men will need to bring their 'A' game to extend their perfect opening to the campaign.

He said: "We always have good, open games of rugby against Casuals and we expect nothing different on this occasion.

"We'll certainly be wary of strong opponents as usual and we know we will have to be at the top of our game to get a result - and that's something we've not really been in our last couple of outings."

St Ives have actually reeled off five successive victories after also negotiating the opening two rounds of the Midlands Senior Vase.

The latest of those triumph arrived last Saturday as they beat Sleaford 22-10 at Somersham Road.

Stand-in skipper Mickey Drake produced a tremendous individual try to put St Ives ahead with Jim Robinson only being denied the extras by the bar.

Thomas Watts pounced for a second score before half-time after fine work from the Bulls front row of Michael Wright, Tommy Newman and Josh Dear at a five-metre scrum for the visitors. The conversion was successful to open up a nine-point lead at the break and that cushion grew in the second period.

Robinson guided over a penalty before also converting after Watts had gone over for his second try after more fine work from the front row.

Sleaford, who had only previously managed one penalty, did claim a consolation try late on, with the successful conversion proving to be the final action.

Bulls chief Brown added: "Good teams find a way to win when they are off it. There were some moments of real cohesion in the tough conditions, but other times when a lack of composure or willingness to hold onto the ball gave Sleaford chances."

* Huntingdon return to action this Saturday with a juicy clash of their own.

Stags, who were without a game last weekend, entertain Kettering in an A14 derby clash at The Racecourse, 3pm.