St Ives host two games during beer festival as full-contact rugby returns after restrictions

Bradley Robinson goes on the charge for St Ives Rugby Club during their pre-season friendly with Shelford

Bradley Robinson goes on the charge for St Ives during their pre-season friendly with Shelford. - Credit: PAUL COX

Full contact rugby returned to the Chicken Shack as St Ives Rugby Club held two matches during their beer festival.

The contests, both against sides from Shelford, were part of the entertainment for the crowd at Somersham Road and were the first played under standard laws since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Both were played as part of the Bulls pre-season campaign and both followed a similar pattern.

St Ives put out two very strong sets of forwards while the visitors were more than happy to ship the ball wide whenever they were in possession.

And while they were billed as friendlies, there was still a competitive edge and a desire to claim victory, epitomised by Shelford's decision in the first game, played mostly between the home side's second-team squad and the visitors thirds, to convert a penalty late on and assure the win 17-10.

Callum Long got the first Ives try after after well-constructed phase play and Freddie Clark the second after some strong driving by the forwards.

The second match between Ives' firsts and Shelford's seconds ended 12-10 to the visitors, both teams grabbing two tries with Shelford successfully converting one of theirs.

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The scorers for Ives were Oliver Raine, dotting down a pushover try, and Bradley Robinson who bulldozed his way over from 20 metres out.

Head coach Max Dominy said: "Saturday was another really positive day for us. We were able to field 40 players across two teams who finished within a score against opposition who play at least one level higher.

"The performance was a marked improvement, but we know where we still need to get better and have a lot of competition for places in every position.

"I am looking forward to seeing how the group continue to grow throughout pre-season and into the league games.”