St. Ives first grade team put a convincing win over the boys from Forest in round 6 of the Barraclough Cup, a much physically larger and stronger forward pack dominating all over the field.
The first half was very evenly matched with a hybrid looking Forest team looking fresh and quick, capitalising early in the half after a number of St. Ives mistakes led to good attack play off a mid field scrum on the Saints’ 22.
Forest applied high pressure after their kick off, winning the ball back and strong, flowing connections between the fullback and left wing meant they were able to capitalise again in the left corner.
Both packs clashed for a while in the centre of the field, a very big St. Ives forward pack running the ball hard. The referee was all over both teams like a rash so infringements around the ruck caused stoppages of play often.
Dominating in the scrum, St. Ives returned with a try off a scrum and three phases of forward ball; Forest had begun to be picked up too often by the referee and it wasn’t paying off for them. The score was now 14-12, in Saints favour.
On return, Forest were able to apply pressure in the St. Ives red zone for long enough to gain a penalty against St. Ives, slotting the goal to put them ahead.
The Saints returned with further damaging forward play, concealing a penalty in their own favour this time, on the 60 metres out, straight in front. Missed to the left.
Pressure was maintained in the Forest half for the rest of the half, the only break being cut right at the finale of the half as Forest turned a scrum over and a cheeky blindside run; the halfback linking poetically with the right wing led to a try in the right corner off a 70 metre break.
Unconverted, the try ended the half; 15-20 Frenches Forest way.
St. Ives halftime talk from their coach must have invigorated the team spirit as they returned ready to put Forest away.
Forest looked strong for about two minutes until errors meant St. Ives were able to force their way up the field, being held in Forest’s red zone for a solid 10 minutes of gruelling forward ball.
St. Ives broke the line but were held up well by strong defence. The scrum resulted in a try off similar forward running, right next to the posts.
Receiving the restart, the St. Ives team returned with some strong, scintillating back play. A break in play and short disagreement occurred after a big spear tackle by a Forest loose forward.
Forest had dominated the lineouts all day… until now. A penalty led to a 5-metre lineout, Saints way. Again, the dominant pack showed its physicality, mauling the ball over the line for a try near the corner.
Converting from the side-line, the score was now 29-20, Forest looked damaged, mentally and physically.
More tiff’s in the forwards were an obvious sign of Forest’s frustration but they were able to bring the ball into the Saints 22 for quite a period. These tensions were only increased as St. Ives found the ability to turn the ball over repetitively and stop any go-forward momentum Forest aimed to establish.
The St. Ives left wing caught Forest unaware with a sloppy pass causing an intercept break from their own 22, a try in the left corner was the product; 33-20.
Intercepts were aplenty as a St. Ives back movement was broken up by a Forest centre who broke away but was stopped dead when his off-load was picked off by the St. Ives fullback.
After a penalty goal to St. Ives from more relentless refereeing, Forest had a spark of absolute brilliance; a fancy chip and chase and a try from their very skilled halfback.
St. Ives returned as they had all game bringing the heat into Forests’ danger zone but being held there for long periods of time. A drop goal attempt was the sign of the insincerity from the St. Ives team. Injury from the physical forward pack and a fairly brutal points game made Forests’ heads’ drop permanently from here on in.
The referee rewarded St. Ives the nail-in-the-coffin try as ruck infringements and offsides resulted in a penalty try. The final score was 43-27 in St Ives favour.
Both teams showed real promise but Forest was dominated by a much larger and stronger St. Ives team, which looks to be a good contender in the competition.