Rowe hails St Ives squad after away win at Crediton
Crediton 0, St Ives 20
ST IVES head coach Joff Rowe hailed his side's display after their bonus-point victory at lowly Crediton kept them in the hunt for the Cornwall and Devon League title, writes Nigel Walrond.
"It was the best wet weather performance we have produced all season," he said.
"It was exceptional, yet we didn't run away with 40 or 50 points because Crediton gave us a real problem and their defence was outstanding and it took ages to break them down."
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It was particularly satisfying, as the Hakes managed the win without influential former Cornish Pirates fly half Ceiron Thomas, who was ruled out by a slight groin injury.
"We played without Ceiron, on a really horrible and muddy pitch, and it hammered down with rain before the game," explained Rowe.
"Crediton said afterwards that they felt we were the best side they had played all season, and I think we performed like that.
"We produced such controlled, easy-going, nicely-structured rugby in the conditions."
Rowe paid special tribute to veteran winger Ian Veal, who scored two of his side's tries.
"He is around the age of 40, and he scored two tries on Saturday and could have had two more," said Rowe.
"He is one of the best clubmen you could hope to have. His defence is awesome, he has lost a bit of pace, but he has got a heart of gold.
"He has been a great servant to the club as a captain, and he has been brilliant, and it is working with people like that out on the pitch and in training which brings on the young lads in our squad."
With leaders Teignmouth winning 49-14 at Wessex, the gap at the top of the table remains at six points, with only four games remaining.
St Ives dominated possession and territory for long periods at Crediton but found the home defence very difficult to break down, and it took them until the 25th minute to take the lead with what the hosts felt was a somewhat controversial score.
A chip over the Crediton defence was chased down, but the home side felt that full back Leigh Kinch had grounded the ball before it squirted clear and Veal got the touchdown.
The home side were unable to get their hands on the ball, and on the half-hour mark, a blindside break from a ruck set up Veal to go over in the corner for his second try.
Some of St Ives' handling and support play was outstanding, given the conditions, but Crediton had their moments and were still in the game until they were sunk by two tries in two minutes.
Centre Josh Semmens broke clear to score out wide, and this was followed by another chip and chase for full back Josh Palmer to touch down.
Crediton defended valiantly throughout, but they did not manage to reward their efforts with a consolation score.
The Hakes take a week's break from league action on Saturday (2pm) to play their Tribute Cornwall Cup semi-final at holders Wadebridge Camels (see back page).