Blank week leaves Hakes with fixture headache
ST IVES will try again to play their Cornwall and Devon League match at sixth-place Withycombe on Saturday, after last weekend's fixture was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
Their inactivity saw the Hakes lose top spot in the table to Teignmouth, who now lead the Cornishmen by four points, with nine of their 26 league matches remaining.
St Ives still have a 100 per cent record after their 17 games, but trail Teignmouth because of their own five-point deduction for failing to fulfil a fixture towards the end of last season, when they were struggling for senior players.
Hakes head coach Joff Rowe was hoping to have a blank date this weekend, so he could put out a first-team line-up for the annual Feast Day game against a Cornwall Clubs' XV at Alexandra Road on Monday night (7.15pm), but he will now need to reconsider his plans.
It will give St Ives three games in eight days, with the last of those the crunch home fixture with Teignmouth, which could all but decide the destiny of the Cornwall and Devon League title.
"We did approach the league and ask for this weekend not to be used, but we have been told we can't do that," said Rowe.
"The Clubs XV put out quite a strong side last year, and I wanted to field a first team against them."
With the Hakes' last scheduled Saturday home game against Plymouth Barbarians cancelled earlier this month, when the Devon outfit were unable to raise a side, it means the Teignmouth match on February 9 will be the first league fixture at Alexandra Road since December 22, when they faced Hayle.
"We will not have had a home league game in January, and Teignmouth is our only scheduled home match in February," said Rowe.
"Financially, that causes a really big problem for the club, not for the paying of players, because we don't do that, but just to keep income rolling into the club."
Another problem for Rowe is the lack of availability of some important players heading into the big fixtures coming up.
"We have had a fantastic six months, but we are lacking a bit in squad strength at the moment," said Rowe.
Scrum half Max Bodilly and prop Tyler Gendall are currently involved at weekends with the Exeter Academy Under-18 team, while several other players are ruled out through skiing holidays and injuries.
"We have Withycombe away, leaders Teignmouth at home, third-place Tiverton away, and then Wadebridge in the Cornwall Cup semi-final, so our next month of fixtures is quite significant in our season really," said Rowe.
St Ives youth rugby reports, see page 81.