St Ives continued their winning streak when passing a ‘real test’ to reach the quarter-finals of the Midlands Senior Vase last Saturday.

Tommy Newman on the charge as St Ives triumphed in the Midlands Senior Vase. Picture: PAUL COXTommy Newman on the charge as St Ives triumphed in the Midlands Senior Vase. Picture: PAUL COX

The local lads collected an eighth successive victory in all competitions this season when triumphing 41-21 at Kesteven in a third-round tie.

Phil Brown's men found themselves behind at the break and trailed again in the second half before moving through the gears with a four-try spree to advance.

"That was a real test," admitted St Ives skipper Bartlett following the success in Lincolnshire.

"We didn't have our usual dominance up front and we went off the boil a bit when the game was close.

"But we reacted really well and the last 20 minutes were ours as we made sure of the win."

St Ives soon eased into a 10-point advantage thanks to a try, conversion and penalty from Paul Ashbridge, but that became a four-point deficit at half-time following a pair of converted tries from the Grantham-based hosts.

It was a situation which left the Bulls with plenty of work to do, but they went about their business impressively in the second period.

Player-coach John Naylor darted through a gap to grab his first St Ives try - converted by Ashbridge - before Kesteven replied to ease ahead again.

But 24 unanswered points ensured the Bulls eventually emerged as emphatic winners.

Captain Ollie Bartlett and wideman Albiee Tayedzerwa put them on top before late tries from Duncan Williams and Naylor sealed victory. The first and last of those efforts were both converted by Ashbridge.

St Ives will attempt to strengthen their grip on top spot in Midlands Division Three East (South) this Saturday when entertaining Bedford side Queens at Somersham Road (2.15pm).

The Bulls have roared to victories in their opening five league games to open a three-point cushion at the summit.

Another table-topping local side are on the road. St Neots, who were out of action last weekend, aim to extend their perfect start to the Midlands Division Four East (South) campaign to five games when travelling to lowly Aylestone St James.