St Neots and St Ives both have reasons for optimism despite ending 2015 on a losing note

Adam Peel scored two tries for St Neots in their defeat against Dunstablians. Picture: HELEN DRAKE

Adam Peel scored two tries for St Neots in their defeat against Dunstablians. Picture: HELEN DRAKE - Credit: Archant

St Neots had to settle for the consolation of a bonus point as their Midlands Division Three East (South) winning streak came to an end last Saturday.

The Saints had clawed their way out of the relegation zone with back-to-back victories before going down to a 51-24 home reverse at the hands of Dunstablians.

St Neots man Adam Peel went over for the opening try, but the visitors responded with three scores of their own to open up a 19-point cushion at the break.

Saints quickly ate into those arrears by scoring two quick tries early in the second half. Captain Matt Cartwright gathered a loose ball on the Dunstablians’ 22 and powered over the line before Peel darted onto his own kick to touch down for the second time.

But the visitors again came up with an impressive response as they delivered a flurry of three tries to seal victory. Cameron Howson did dash in under the posts to ensure Saints pocketed a bonus point before Dunstablians added two further scores to emerge as clear winners.

Cartwright said: “We are disappointed we didn’t achieve the win we felt we were capable of getting, but the squad showed incredible heart to keep pushing for the full 80 minutes.

“We definitely earned the respect of a tough set of opponents and we can take a lot of positives from a run of 11 league points gained out of a possible 15 in our last three games.

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“That sets us in good stead for a promising start to 2016.”

St Neots are now eight points clear of a relegation zone which includes local rivals St Ives. The Bulls remain second-bottom after going down 28-10 to Long Buckby last Saturday at Somersham Road.

The trusty boot of Jim Robinson kicked St Ives ahead and he again did the honours after Michael Wright had crashed over for a try following the collapse of a scrum.

But they trailed 16-10 at the break and could not make further inroads in the second period.

The loss of Tommy Newman to a leg injury proved to be a blow from which the Bulls could not recover as Buckby scored in the corner to extend their advantage before going over again in the final minute.

But St Ives coach Phil Brown is confident better results lie ahead during the rest of the season.

He said: “We’d obviously like more points on the board, but the most important thing is adding consistency and precision in the backline to the excellent progress we have made up front.

“If we do that, we’ll enjoy a good second half of the season.”

The season resumes on January 9.