St Ives completed a perfect 10 last Saturday – but coach Phil Brown insists they are still not satisfied.

Paul Ashbridge converted all six St Ives tries in the win at Rushden & Higham. Picture: PAUL COXPaul Ashbridge converted all six St Ives tries in the win at Rushden & Higham. Picture: PAUL COX

The Bulls breezed to a 42-8 victory at struggling Rushden & Higham – which featured a hat-trick of Ollie Raine tries - to maintain their position at the Midlands Division Three East (South) summit.

It was a seventh consecutive league triumph during a sparkling start to a campaign which has also featured three Midlands Senior Vase successes.

Brown said: “The most fascinating thing about the development of the team is the growth of their self-appraisal.

“For the second weekend running, a 40-plus points tally was immediately followed by guys calling each other out about what might have been.

“This is a humility which will augur well for the tough encounters to come this season.”

A Raine opener, a penalty try and a touchdown from captain Ollie Bartlett – all of which were converted by the trusty boot of Paul Ashbridge – eased St Ives into a 21-3 lead by half-time at Rushden & Higham.

Raine was also the first Bulls man to go over the line in the second period. His second score of the afternoon arrived towards the end of a 10-minute spell in which the hosts were a man light.

Rushden & Higham replied with their only try following an interception, but normal service soon resumed with two further St Ives efforts. Raine completed his treble following a fine surge from the Bulls’ scrum before captain Bartlett crossed for a second time to complete a smart sequence of play which featured fine contributions from the returning Josh Dear and Ashbridge.

The latter player also ended the game with a 100 per-cent kicking record after sending over all six of his conversion attempts.

Skipper Bartlett said: “We’ll take five league points on the road any day!

“Our defensive effort, in particular, was outstanding. Rushden & Higham played well, but we restricted them to one interception try.”

There is a cup double-header at Somersham Road this Saturday. St Ives entertain Rugby St Andrews in the quarter-finals of the Midlands Senior Vase, while the club’s second team host Deepings in a Hunts & Peterborough Cup clash, both 2.15pm.