St Ives skipper Josh Dear was pleased to see his team return to winning ways last Saturday – but not with the performance that earned it.

The Bulls edged out Northampton BBOB at Somersham Road to claim a 19-17 success in Midlands Division Three East (South) despite being well below par.

“I guess the fact we can win while playing like that should make me happy,” said Dear.

“In all fairness we did have a few guys playing out of position and I thank them for putting in great shifts.

“It is clear we still have lots to work on, but we can look forward with confidence.”

The scoreline remained blank until the sides traded tries late in the opening half.

The power of the St Ives pack allowed Duncan Williams to make the breakthrough with a score converted by the boot of Paul Ashbridge, but BBOB restored parity almost immediately.

St Ives were on the receiving end of a halftime tongue-lashing after dominating possession in the first period, only for ill-discipline and indifferent execution to prevent them from moving into a match-winning lead.

And the harsh words seemed to have the desired effect as Josh Meadows touched down in the corner after a scrum.

But Bulls' performance levels dipped again and further frustration followed as BBOB eased into a five-point advantage with a quarter-of-an-hour to go courtesy of a converted try.

But, to their credit, St Ives rallied to snatch victory as Will Nelson darted in to score following a series of scrums before Ashbridge nervelessly kicked a fine conversion.

There was one last chance for BBOB to snatch the points, but a poor pass led to a knock-on which enabled Bulls to breathe a sigh of relief.

St Ives hit the road for a match at Northampton Casuals, who sit one place and one point above them in the table, this Saturday.