IT’S the big St Neots-St Ives Midlands Four South East derby this weekend, and St Neots chairman Nigel Samm is expecting a good turnout for the crunch match.

The two teams are second and third respectively in their division, with Brackley leading the way by a single bonus point.

Both the Saints and St Ives Bulls have won all seven of their league games so far this season - a record which will fall one way or another at the weekend.

"It'll be close - both teams are well matched but we are better off in the league on points difference," said Samm.

"It's been a great year for both teams and we have both progressed. But all the top teams are beginning to play each other now. We are hoping to have a lot of people around because we have two teams playing at home on the day. We hope we can get a win because it's what the squad deserves for all the effort they have put in.

"It's down to the coaches really - I put in a structure of coaches for this season and that in turn has attracted new blood. It's all good."

The visitors, St Ives, were in action last weekend while St Neots rested. The Bulls beat Boston 41-12 in the third round of the Midlands Vase, a competition that the Saints exited with a defeat to Harbury in the last round.

Visitors Boston, who are also undefeated in their Midlands Four East North division, went 5-0 up early on - but Bulls' captain Jim Robinson pulled a penalty back before Boston once again scored a try to go 12-3 ahead.

In the second half however it was all St Ives. A penalty kicked things off and a Jim Lewsham try followed to give the Bulls a 13-12 lead. Jack Blackey scored next with John Paxton touching down from close range. Paul Ashbridge scored with a jinking 40-yard run which ended under the posts. The home side worked hard but were unable to stop Blackley from getting his second try late on with a nice chip-and-run followed by a clean collect and dive.

Midlands Junior Vase, third round results: Coventrians 21-10 Ashfield, Greyhound 21-19 Harborne, Manor Park 10-27 Cleethorpes, Old Yardleians 40-14 Telford Hornets, Skegness 19-29 Bedford Swifts, St Ives (Midlands) 41-12 Boston, Tenbury 12-25 Harbury, Tupton 5-14 Uttoxeter.

HUNTINGDON & District, who are also unbeaten and top of the Midlands Two South East division, progressed through to the quarter finals of the Midlands Intermediate Cup with a brilliant 23-17 win over Newbold on Avon.

Midlands Intermediate Cup, third round results: Ashbourne 22-23 Wolverhampton, Bedworth AWO Oadby Wyggestonians, Bugbrooke HWO Belgrave, Coalville 29-19 Northampton Old Scouts, Dunstablians 12-17 Old Laurentians, Huntingdon & District 23-17 Newbold on Avon, Kenilworth 20-19 Leighton Buzzard, Stafford 5-26 Bakewell Mannerians.

YOUTH RUGBY

DEFENDING champions Huntingdon & District under-14s went out of the East Midlands Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday when they lost 29-12 to a big and bruising Bedford side.

Sam Durnan opened the scoring for Stags but Max Oliver, George Mansfield, Jack Starkey and Ben McNicol all felt the force of tough tackles before Bedford broke away and went 7-5 up.

The visitors then seemed to change gear and ran in three quick tries to end the game as a contest. A kicked penalty added to Huntingdon's woes and Bedford led 29-5 at half time.

The commitment and desire of the home side was never in question, and the Stags forwards, led by Oliver, made some great tackles. With time running out, fresh Stags legs seemed to boost the team who worked their way up the pitch. From a scrum, despite the coaches urging Stags' No. 8 to go blind, Waring broke through a couple of tackles on the open side and at full stretch pulled a try back. This time Adam Garrood kicked the extra points to make the final score 29-12.

Stags under-15s traveled to Peterborough Lions and against a willing but inexperienced side and rolled out 91-12 winners with 15 tries to two in preparation for their cup match against Peterborough next week.

Archie Maggs scored five tries, fly-half Sam Eascott scored four, center Owen Taylor two, and Ben Wilcox, Cai Oram, Liam McCleary and Euan Johnson one each.

The under-13s met Ampthill at the Racecourse and narrowly lost 41-38 with all six Stags tries being scored by Brandon Charakupa, four of which were converted by Fraser Hutton.