St Ives 18, Hayle 13
ST IVES survived a red card for flanker Sam Heath with 15 minutes remaining to see off old rivals Hayle in dreadful conditions at Alexandra Road, writes Nigel Walrond.
They maintained their winning record this season, but they missed out on a bonus point to leave them trailing Cornwall and Devon League leaders Teignmouth by two points, with 14 of their 26 league matches played.
St Ives head coach Joff Rowe said: "Hayle played very well and were certainly well prepared for the game, but the effort and hard work we put in enabled us to secure the win.
"My man of the match was Richard Humphries, who led from the front, but well done to all those who took part in a game played in appalling conditions."
Hayle put the home side under pressure from the kick-off, and after only two minutes they had a chance to open the scoring with a penalty, but the windy conditions proved too much and the opportunity was missed.
They continued to put pressure on the St Ives defence, who were struggling in the conditions to clear their lines, and turned their pressure into points when Scott Harvey crossed for a try after 12 minutes, converted by player-coach Martin Strick, to give Hayle a 7-0 lead.
Finding themselves behind for the first occasion in a long time this season, the St Ives players dug deep and began to get to grips with the weather, and they hit back just before the midway point in the first half when a catch-and-drive was finished off by captain and hooker Ben Taylor to make it 7-5 to Hayle.
The home side were punished once again by the boot of Strick after 23 minutes when he successfully kicked another penalty, but only three minutes later, Hayle were reduced to 14 men when scrum half Jamie Edwards was sent to the sin-bin for persistent offending around the scrum.
St Ives failed to capitalise on their extra man though, and it was Hayle who scored again with a Strick penalty to give them a 13-5 interval lead.
The second half proved to be a very different affair, with St Ives now enjoying the wind at their backs.
Only four minutes had elapsed when Taylor once again forced his way over the line to score his second try of the game, and St Ives were right back in it at only 13-10 down.
But it was St Ives' turn to then lose a player to the sin-bin, with former Pirates Amateurs flanker Heath receiving a yellow card.
However, while he was off, the Hakes took the lead for the first time in the match when Hayle old boy Jamie Prisk burst through the centre channel to score, and even though Thomas again missed the difficult conversion, St Ives had their noses in front at 15-13.
Heath returned to the fray, but his presence was only shortlived, as a large brawl resulted in Heath and Hayle centre Scott Murray both sin-binned for their part in the proceedings, and for Heath that was the end of his game.
The elements got even worse, with the mud becoming the clear winner, but with eight minutes remaining, Thomas finally conquered the conditions to slot a penalty to give his side some breathing space, and they saw out the rest of the game to seal a very hard-fought victory.
St Ives U7s beat Camborne 120-105 in their final match before the Christmas break.
A high scoring match saw man of the match displays from both Ethan Redondo-Barter and Jake Cartwright.
The lead changed hands several times, with honours even at half-time.
But the second half produced hat-tricks from Ella Redondo-Barter, Leo Beck, Jude Hardy and Will Cross as St Ives finished worthy winners by 24 tries to 21.
The victory stretched the Hakes' unbeaten run to 10 games in a row.
St Ives U9s produced a vastly improved performance in a 9-9 draw with Camborne.
The Hakes welcomed the return of Olly, who scored three tries. Other tries were scored by Will (2), James, Liam, Harvey and Jack, with his first try for St Ives. However, man of the match went to Tom.
St Ives U9s: James (c), Edward, Harvey, Jack, Josh, Liam, Olly, Seb, Tom, Will.