Vital success brings the buzz back to St Neots

Joe Woodgate scored and created tries for St Neots. Picture: RACHEL CAMERON

Joe Woodgate scored and created tries for St Neots. Picture: RACHEL CAMERON - Credit: Archant

St Neots delivered the perfect performance to put their Midlands Division Three East (South) season back on track – despite having to play more than a half of a 42-22 success against Stewart & Lloyds with only 14 men.

The Saints defied a numerical disadvantage after losing hooker Ben Arnold to injury just before the break and not having a forward replacement to call on.

It was a second setback of the game after they had earlier seen Ed Hunt depart hurt, but it wasn’t enough to upset a high-class performance against tough opposition from Corby.

Skipper Matt Cartwright said: “Every player in the squad produced an incredible performance against a very good team, in extremely difficult conditions and being a man down for so long.

“We played exciting and attacking rugby to secure a very convincing win and the buzz is definitely back at St Neots.”

Joe Woodgate kicked Saints ahead before following up with a fine individual try. He then turned provider to pick out Luke Warburton with a long pass before the winger raced down the line to touch down in the corner.

The visitors hit back before Saints responded with a double-salvo of their own courtesy of Grant Hobbs to open up a 22-point cushion.

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Hobbs accepted a Woodgate off-load for his first try and was then the beneficiary of an Adam Porter interception for his second.

But the early departure of Arnold meant Saints faced a tough task against the wind in the second period.

They made light of the situation as Rhod Howcroft charged over to provide further breathing space before Stewart & Lloyd bagged a couple of tries of their own.

Porter was denied when held up over the line, but Saints didn’t have long to wait for another try as Will Smith rounded off a fine team move following the resulting five-metre scrum.

The visitors went over again to secure their bonus point, but it was Saints’ day as Adam Peel emphasised when completing the scoring with a well-deserved try. Woodgate also guided over two conversions.

Saints climbed to third-from-bottom ahead of a trip to Daventry this Saturday.