St Ives’ day out at the seaside ends in Midlands Junior Vase quarter final win over Cleethorpes

ST IVES are through to the semi finals of rugby union’s Midlands Junior Vase after a brilliant day out at the seaside.

With seven front row players unavailable, the Bulls travelled to Cleepthorpes, Lincolnshire, in the quarter finals of the competition on Saturday and pulled off a stunning 39-7 victory against their Midlands Four East North opponents.

“It’s exciting times at the club at the moment,” said captain Jim Robinson. “Our coach Alan Hine reckons this is the furthest we have ever got in the Vase – and we are second in the league.

“If we win our semi final, that will put us into the quarter finals of the national competition as well, so we are just three games away from Twickenham, which is fantastic.”

At Cleethorpes Robinson scored the Bulls’ opening try, but his conversion pinged off the left hand upright. However, he was accurate with his second conversion after Russell Warrington had gone over for try number two.

The home side enjoyed spells in the St Ives half but the Bulls defence stood firm and looked dangerous when they got themselves into attacking areas. Mel Jessop exchanged a one-two with John Paxton before crossing the line for a fine try and a second Robinson conversion.

In the second half Cleethorpes were dominant in the scrum and kicked their way into some good field positions – but again the St Ives defence was well drilled, despite the home side touching down and converting a try of their own. Not phased, the Bulls went straight on the attack and this time it was Ollie Bartlett who scampered in under the posts for another Robinson converted try.

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They were now in total control and things were made even more comfortable when a Cleethorpes front rower used his boot in a ruck and was sin-binned for his troubles. Robinson slotted home the resulting penalty.

Bartlett dived to secure his second try of the afternoon late on with Robinson converting again.

The other three teams through to the semis are Bedford Swifts, Hartbury and Old Yardleians.

The draw is yet to be made and it is the latter team, who are top of their division, that Robinson is keen to avoid.

“We would like Bedford Swifts in the next round,” he told The Hunts Post. “They are in our division and we have beaten them already this season.”

But almost as important as any semi final is the Bulls’ visit to Brackley this Saturday. A win there would see the team go top of the Midlands Four East South table.

“It’s between us, Brackley and St Neots in third,” said Robinson. “It will be two from us three that go up.

“We have Brackely on Saturday and St Neots are at home to them the following Saturday. By Christmas the table will look more accurate.”