IVYBRIDGE are hoping their passionate home crowd can help inspire them to upset last season’s runners-up Exmouth in National Three South West on Saturday (2.30pm).
Team manager Neil Thomson admits the newly-promoted Cross-in-Hand side will be the underdogs against Jon Hill’s team, but he says Ivybridge have gained belief from their opening two matches at level five.
Ivybridge beat Old Patesians 13-9 in their opening home game, while they came agonisingly close to beating Barnstaple away last Saturday. They only lost 25-23 after Barum scored a late converted try.
Although they know this weekend will be their toughest test yet, they can take encouragement that the fact that Barnstaple managed to shock Exmouth on the opening day.
“Every match we play now is big, with all these Devon derbies,” said Thomson.
“But everyone’s looking forward to this weekend.
“Exmouth really should have gone up last year, but they lost in the play-offs in extra-time.
“I would say we are definitely seen as the underdogs this week as we got promoted last year and they were at the top of this league.
“But we’ve got to try to make home advantage count.
“We do create a good atmosphere at home and hopefully it can help us get four points.”
Thomson says Ivybridge, who are coached by Lewis Paterson and Gareth Elliot, are learning all the time in National Three and they just have to make sure they win their own ball on Saturday and try and get their exciting backs into the game.
Exmouth have back-row forward Ben Hawley back from Plymouth Albion. He missed the Cockles’ 23-20 defeat at Barnstaple but scored two tries last weekend as they hammered Lydney 55-10.
Ivybridge, who have three more consecutive Devon derbies to follow Saturday’s match, are waiting on a couple of injuries.
The big game in Western Counties West is at Moorlands Lane where Saltash entertain early leader Devonport Services.
Services have claimed a full 10 points from their opening two games, beating Truro 38-21 and Wadebridge 29-25.
Newly-promoted Saltash sit eighth after two tough matches. They narrowly lost 20-14 to last year’s runners-up Kingsbridge in their first game before getting off the mark last Saturday with a 20-16 away victory at Cullompton.
Saltash have boosted their squad with the signing of prop Nick Thomas from Medway.
In Cornwall/Devon League, Argaum will be looking to continue their good start to life in the higher division when they travel to fellow unbeaten side Falmouth.
Argaum have picked up nine points from a possible 10 following their promotion from Devon One with victories over Hayle at home (47-3) and Honiton away (19-7).
They sit second, one place above Falmouth, who have overcome Newquay and Falmouth.
Ahead of Saturday’s match, Argaum have officially appointed Tom Richards as their new club captain. They should also have Ellery Jones available again.
Fellow newcomers Plymstock Albion Oaks entertain early leaders Withycombe at Horsham Fields on Saturday.
Oaks will be boosted by last week’s 25-8 win at Bodmin. They will be keen to claim their first home victory of the season having lost to St Ives of their own patch on the opening day of the season.
Troubled Tavistock will also be hoping for home joy when they entertain Newquay. The Sandy Park side, relegated from Western Counties West, have made a disappointing start in the lower level losing 42-14 at Pirates Amateurs and 22-5 at Falmouth.
For a full round-up of South West rugby fixtures, click HERE