By Paul Cottle


Bude 19 St Ives 20

A LAST minute penalty from the fly-half Adam Harris gave St Ives victory over Bude by the narrowest of margins at Bencoolen Meadow last Saturday. 

In a game where the fortunes of both sides seemed to fluctuate constantly, the Seasiders appeared to have won the day only for a series of penalties in the closing stages to undo their previous good work, which allowed the Hakes to snatch victory from their grasp with the final kick of the game.

This result puts them firmly in one of the two likely relegation places at the bottom of the league table, seven points adrift of the next placed side, Bideford, who they play at home on the final day of the league season. 

If they are to preserve their position in this league for another season, they either need to win both their remaining games or hope that the cascade effect from the leagues above works in their favour.

The game opened at a cracking pace, but it was the visitors who got on to the scoreboard first with outside-centre Matt Burrell bursting through Bude's defensive line wide out on the right to touch down after barely 90 seconds. Harris slotted his conversion and St Ives were 7-0 up. 

However, on seven minutes Bude reduced the deficit with a penalty from fly-half Olly Denford after the visitors' defence was caught offside in midfield. 

Then, in the 15th minute, a quickly taken tapped penalty saw second row Matt Williams and inside-centre Ed Hilliam-Cooke combine to create an opening for number eight Ben Hancock to dot down. In the gusty conditions, Denford was unable to add the extras, but nevertheless the hosts held a one-point lead.

Then, just beyond the half-hour mark a series of mistakes by the Seasiders gave the visitors a cast-iron scoring opportunity with a five-metre attacking scrum in front of the Bude posts. 

They gleefully accepted with both hands as the ball was quickly worked to the right and then fed back inside for scrum-half Bayley Rogers to score. Harris' conversion attempt was off-target, but at the break St Ives held a four-point lead.

A 49th minute penalty from Denford reduced the deficit to one point and then shortly before the hour mark, a scorching run from deep by Bude's replacement left wing Zerran Hammond beat the visitors' defence on the wide outside and he crossed in the corner to the delight of the home crowd to put his side back in front once more. 

However, that lead only lasted a few brief minutes at Burrell claimed his second try of the afternoon. 

Again Denford nudged the Seasiders back in front with his third successful penalty kick as the visitors were caught offside. 

Could the hosts keep their nerve and close out the game for a much-needed victory? Sadly it was not to be as Harris crushed their hopes with his last act of the match.

This Saturday Bude entertain second-placed Paignton in a rearranged league game with both sides desperate for the points, but for differing reasons.

BUDE: Brad Thomas, Rory Hodges, Will Pharo, Ed Hilliam-Cooke, Jack Horwell, Olly Denford, Charlie Watton, Fraser Martyn, Rory Mead, Martin George, Matt Williams, Will Hockridge, Harvey Cholwill, Fred Saxton (Capt.), Ben Hancock. Replacements: Aaron Tharme, Zerran Hammond, Alfie Hurwood.

ST IVES: Gareth Tudor, Darcy Treloar, Matthew Burrell, Chris Warren, Billy Bassett, Adam Harris, Bayley Rogers; Anthony Stevens, Liam McFadden, Rory Whitehead, Louis Stevens, Thomas Sutton, Dean Rainey, Joe Lucas, Levi Webster.

Bude – Tries: Hancock, Hammond; Convs: N/A; Pens: Denford (3).

St Ives – Tries: Burrell (2), Rogers; Convs: Harris; Pens: Harris.