St Ives go try-happy but injuries mar pre-season fun against Saffron Walden
- Credit: PAUL COX
St Ives enjoyed a try bonanza in their final pre-season friendly but the success over Saffron Walden was marred by injuries to key players.
The hosts took the contest 80-24, the first full match to be played under lights at the Chicken Shack.
However, they ended the game without an influential duo, skipper Tommy Newman and Oli Watts limping off an potentially requiring significant recovery time.
But the game itself was a feast for the supporters, the home side bagging 12 of the 16 tries in total.
Bulls' front-rowers Dave Sharp and John Alexander donned Walden shirts to ensure contested scrums were played throughout after the visitors arrived short in that key area.
And it benefitted Ives who were a menace with the ball in hand.
The first half hour was evenly-contested with well worked tries by Pete Fahey and Callum Matthews answered by an interception try and a good move by Saffron Walden.
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But things changed when the visitors lost a man to a yellow card and Ives swiftly used the advantage to score three more tries through Fahey, Tom Woodrow and Oli Watts, taking a 35-12 lead into the second period.
They scored immediately after the restart too, Mike Brennan continuing his hot-streak, and a rolling maul saw Dip Adams strolling over to complete a fine forwards try.
Adams did see yellow for a high tackle and that allowed Saffron Walden to make use of the space and score a try of their own.
And after the two sides exchanged another try each, Fin Matthews crossing for the Bulls, the game eventually had a 20-minute period where defence actually ruled attack.
However, the visitors' smaller squad began to tire in the latter stages and the floodgates opened with 10 minutes to go.
Ives ran in a further four tries, Matthews adding two more to complete his hat-trick, with Ollie Raine and Cullan Smy the other to score.
The final score was also boosted by 10 successful conversions from 12 attempts by Callum Matthews.
Ives travel to Ely for the Percy Walker Cup and a second-team fixture on September 11 while the first Midlands Two East (South) league game of the season take Ives to Market Bosworth on September 25.
The younger members of the club have their registration day on Saturday at 10.30am with training starting on Sunday at 10am.
Anyone interested in turning up and giving it a go is more than welcome.