Chicken Shack beats to the sound of rugby once again as St Ives finally return to action

Ollie Bartlett collects a line-out for St Ives

Ollie Bartlett collects a line-out for St Ives. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

It has been such a long time coming but St Ives Rugby Club finally made it onto the pitch for a competitive fixture - their first in 15 months.

Played under the amended rules, no scrums and no mauls, it still provided plenty of entertainment for the club's loyal support, starved of any rugby at their Chicken Shack home.

Cambridge seconds were the visitors to Somersham Road for the friendly played under a warm sun and on a firm pitch underfoot.

Duncan Williams of St Ives RFC

Duncan Williams looks to break clear of the tackle. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

And the lack of set-pieces made the pace high and given the enforced hiatus, the skill levels and impacts on display by both sides was extraordinary.

From the off, the Ives front five was eager for the ball and carried hard with the younger Cambridge side initially shell-shocked with the collisions.

Tommy Newman of of St Ives Rugby Club

St Ives captain Tommy Newman looks to shrug off a tackle. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

The pattern of the game was set as both sides looked to move the ball quickly and involve the outside backs and the defence of both teams was also tough and uncompromising.

There were great performances throughout the Ives squad, especially that front five, and there was pleasing first outings for debutants Oli Watts, Freddie Clark, Jason Chamberlain, Mike Brennan, Ash Dallimore, Henri Cherrington, Richard Bannister and Phil Shire who all illustrated that the strength in depth has improved significantly.

Jason Chamberlain of St Ives Rugby Club

Jason Chamberlain in action for St Ives. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

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Head coach Max Dominy was delighted with the run out.

He said: "We are on a new journey and have given ourselves a marker in where we are in our development.

"As a group we made a really positive step forward and I am excited to see where we can go.

"It is clear to see the areas that still need some work but the standards the players are bringing every week has increased significantly, as seen in the improvement of performance.”

Michael Wright and Paul Ashbridge of St Ives Rugby Club

Michael Wright of St Ives gathers some pace supported by Paul Ashbridge. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

Chairman Ross Thompson added: "It was so good to see people back at the club and enjoying their rugby both on and off the field."

The result was perhaps the least important part of the day but for the record Cambridge took it 19-17, the sides having managed three tries each.

Freddie Clark of of St Ives Rugby Club

Freddie Clark scores a try for St Ives on his debut. - Credit: ST IVES RFC

The Ives scorers were Ollie Bartlett, Freddie Clark and Michael Wright with Alex Henly adding a conversion.

The club are instantly back into a usual summer break although pre-season training returns properly next month with pre-season fixtures starting in August.