Hakes facing crucial relegation clash after four-point reduction confirmed
WEST Cornwall meets North Cornwall at Alexandra Road on Saturday as St Ives host Bude (3pm) in a match which could have a major bearing on the battle to stay in Western Counties West, writes Dick Straughan.
Both teams had a blank weekend in the build-up to the game with the Hakes seeing their game at Kingsbridge fall victim to the weather, while Bude's fixture at Penryn went the same way.
And with so much at stake this weekend both teams also come into the game in decent form. However St Ives have decided not to appeal the result reversal of their last home fixture against Truro and they have suffered a four point deduction. This leaves both themselves and Bude now level on points, although the Hakes have a game in hand. Truro had argued that the game, in which they lost 17-12 at Alexandra Road last month, should never have gone to uncontested scrums late in the match and that St Ives had failed to provide adequate front row cover on the bench. St Ives head coach Rob Elloway described the decision as "harsh".
"I suppose it is one of things but I don't understand it," he said. "We had a front row replacement on the bench.
"But the thing which really disappoints me is that Truro have been awarded five points for the win and they were never in a position to take five points from the game."
Looking ahead to this weekend's crunch league fixture Elloway explained that he is looking to maximise home advantage. With five wins out of nine at Alexandra Road they will probably start as slight favourites against a Bude team who have won twice on the road this season.
"I always back us to do well at home and make no mistake this is a really big game for our young group of players," he said. "But it is not make or break. There are another eight games after this one but a win against Bude would go a long way to securing our league status for next season."
St Ives welcome back centre Tom Nicholas for the match and have picked up Cornwall Under-20s wing Ben Drew from Redruth.
As the Hakes look to avenge October's narrow defeat at Bencoolen Meadow, Elloway is happy with the quality these two will bring to his attack.
He said: "We are good defensively but our attack isn't quite there at the moment. These two boys are exciting players and I expect them to give us a cutting edge.
"If Adam Black plays for Bude then we can expect them to bring a very good scrum and be hugely physical. He's a top end prop with 15 years in the Premiership."