CULLOMPTON got their Tribute Western Counties West campaign off to a winning start with a 23-12 victory at St Ives.

The visitors got to off the perfect start inside the opening five minutes as a fine piece of open play, with Cully probing from touch line to touch line, soon exposed a gap in the Cornish defence.

That allowed flanker Sean Mardell to cut through for the opening try while centre Ross Toms, returning to the ranks from Taunton, nailed a conversion.

Cully followed up with another score on 18 minutes when, after going through three phases of driving play, the ball was seized by scrum-half Ben Pitkin to touch down his maiden first XV try.

The wind swept the conversion wide leaving the score at 0-12.

St Ives struck back on the half-hour mark with a fine unconverted try by fly-half Jordan Gott to get five points on the board, before a Toms penalty nudged the gap back to ten for 5-15 at the break.

Winger Josh Palmer closed the gap to three points after the break with a score converted by Gott, although Cullompton’s repost settled the game.

From a penalty lineout on the 22, the driving maul moved inexorably towards the line giving Pitkin his second score.

This was an overt display of strength technique and fitness which, coming as it did an hour into the game, was an enormous morale booster for Cully but a sword through the heart of the home side.

Although Toms’ conversion struck the upright he made amends a little later with a penalty to move the score beyond St Ives’ reach.