St Neots coach Mick Cleary warns of tougher times to come for the Midlands Four East South leaders
ST Neots coach Mick Cleary is warning against complacency after his side chalked up their biggest win of the season when they beat Corby 98-0 at The Common on Saturday.
Six games into the Midlands Four East South season, St Neots are top of the table having won all of their matches, clocking up 376 points to keep them 19 clear of second-placed Brackley, while Huntingdonshire rivals St Ives sit in third, just one point behind the leading pair.
However, Cleary knows the campaign will get tougher now – with his side not actually having played any of the teams in the top half of the table yet. “We are all fully aware that this was a game between top and bottom of the league, and we cannot become complacent as games against our main title contenders are now looming,” he said.
On Saturday they will travel to fourth-placed Oundle, before the following week’s big Hunts derby at home to St Ives.
There was a large crowd for the big win against Corby with numerous past players watching from the sidelines after one of their regular lunches. Those former Saints will have been impressed with the display of this new team with St Neots dominating from beginning to end, and with lock forward Matt Ellwood running in four tries, three of which came in the first 20 minutes.
Winger Sam Allen managed to score an impressive hat-trick, and back row players Lewis Hall and Ben Reedman scored two each. Reedman’s second was a solo effort begun in his own half.
Seventeen-year-old Callum McShane, playing in his first-team debut at full-back, also ran in a try from his own half, while new flanker Rob Turner scored his first try for the club.
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Others on the score sheet were hooker Phil Sandling, centre Harry Gillam, and captain Rhod Howcroft. “The lads were great today, clinical and powerful, and they deserved their big win. We are hoping to keep everyone fit and get good numbers at training, so that we can maximise the potential of this team,” said the coach.
ST Ives kept in touch with the top two with a 22-12 win at Oundle, who they leapfrogged from fourth to third.
Max Dominy scored the Bulls first try of the afternoon before the hosts made it 5-5 and silly St Ives mistakes allowed Oundle to go further ahead with another try and conversion.
However, Steve Burke – who had an excellent game – charged down a kick and spinted for the line to make it 12-10 at half-time.
In the second half Jack Blackley scored the Bulls’ third try and Paul Ashbridge broke through Oundle’s defender to power over the line for the fourth, which Dominy converted.
“We knew it would be a stern test today and we would have to be at our best if we were going to take anything from the game,” said captain Jim Robinson.
“Our pack was strong and hungry and just edged the battle up front which ulmitately resulted in this great victory.
“Our win against Oundle are always a great spectacle and today was another hard fought contest, one we are glad to be on the winning side of.”
HUNTINGDON & District remain top of the Midlands Two East South table after a stormy 52-0 win down the A1 at Bigglewade on Saturday.
After a somewhat lacklustre and turgid performance against Leicester Vipers the previous week, Stags were keen to stamp their authority as league leaders against their winless hosts.
But within five minutes of the start, a violent hailstorm sent even the hardiest of spectators scuttling for cover, and made good rugby extremely difficult to play. However, a Lee Osborne try, converted by Dan Malem, had already seen them on the scoreboard just 90 seconds in.
After the weather-influenced 15-minute stalemate, Huntingdon finally broke the home side again with three tries from Steve Chantler, Ben Strangeways and Jesse Milne, the last on the stroke of half time. Stags continued too give away too many penalties in the second half and were often guilty of losing momentum. However, there were still points in the game with Malem putting Josh Turner in for the fifth try and Turner added his second not long after
Chantler bulldozed over for his second of the day before a sweeping movement that covered almost the all the length of the pitch with Tom Morgan and Heath Crawford exchanging passes for Crawford to touch down.
Saints now prepare for the visit of Lutterworth on Saturday. Now the clocks have gone back, it is 2.15pm kick-off times again...