IVYBRIDGE player-coach Gareth Elliott says the team’s hard work and togetherness has been the key to their impressive start to life in National Three South West.
The Cross-in-Hand club made it three wins out of four on Saturday with a 20-12 victory over previously unbeaten Brixham at home.
That win followed on the back of victories over Exmouth and Old Patersians. Their only defeat was a last-gasp 25-23 reverse at Barnstaple.
“It was another outstanding team performance,” said Elliott. “Togetherness and hard-work is what is pulling us through.”
Saturday’s game was marred by a sickening clash between Brixham players Scott Puleston, who used to play for Ivybridge, and Dean Squire, another Plymouth lad.
The game was held up for an hour while the pair were treated.
“The game was unfortunately marred by that early head clash between two of their players,” said Elliott. “They have both got ties to Ivybridge, but fortunately we think both are okay.
“It was a difficult situation to deal with as we had an hour’s break after that and did not know when the game would re-start again.
“But we did well as a group to be mentally right for the resumption of play.
“In the first half we had a lot of territory and converted it into points.
“The second half was more scrappy and we conceded a try early, but we consolidated our lead with some solid defence.
“What was pleasing was we matched them physically.”
He added: “I think this was one of our best performances. These last two weeks have been brilliant.
“Brixham were a form side coming into the game with three wins out of three, so to send them home without any points was really pleasing.”
Ivybridge were 13-0 up thanks to tries by Alex Hall and Ben Watts and an early drop-goal from Matt Grieveson.
Dom Connor got Brixham back into the game after the interval with a try converted by former Albion and Bristol star Ed Barnes.
Ivybridge increased their advantage to 20-7 with less than 15 minutes to play when player-coach Lewis Paterson (pictured) went over after good play by Tom Scoles.
Brixham scored late through Jarryd Harris but it proved no more than a consolation effort for Dan Parkes’ side.
The win moves Ivybridge up to third, ahead of Brixham, who dropped down to fifth.
In Western Counties West there was a first defeat of the season for Devonport Services, who went down 21-7 at home to St Austell.
Services’ only points came from a try from debutant Lewis Click, which was converted by Matt Anstis.
Saltash claimed their second win since their promotion to Western Counties West with a hard-earned 33-29 success at Truro.
The victory saw them leap-frog above Truro in to seventh after four games.
Meanwhile in Cornwall/Devon League, Plymouth Argaum continued their good form with a 25-7 bonus point win over Tavistock.
Argaum, however, had to wait until the death to collect their fourth try, which came courtesy of Kal Bloomfield down the wing, and secure a full five points. They have now claimed 15 from a maximum of 20 since their promotion.
Two years ago, Tavistock were in Western Counties West and Argaum in Devon Two, but it was the Bickleigh Down side who always looked in command of this game.
Winger Ieuan Evans and Tom Holliday had early efforts disallowed, while Jake Turfrey also missed a penalty.
But eventually Argaum’s pressure told when number eight Holiday did score and captain Tom Richards converted.
Tavvy, though, hit back with a converted try by Callum Thompson before Richards edged Argaum into a 10-7 half-time lead with a penalty.
Argaum came out for the second half fired up and Dan James powered his way through to score before Joe Avazian added a third.
Tavistock always look a threat, but Argaum defended well and sealed the extra point with Bloomfield’s late score.
Elsewhere in Cornwall/Devon League, Plymstock Albion Oaks hammered Exeter Saracens 60-0 away from home.
It was only their second win since their promotion but it moves them up to seventh in the table, five points behind Argaum.
In Devon One, Tamar Saracens bounced back from their frustrating narrow 8-5 defeat at North Tawton on the opening day by hammering city rivals OPMs 56-0 at Ernesettle. Blake Smith scored a hat-trick for Saracens, who also had Joe Wyatt and Dane Warwyck scoring twice. Their other tries came from Tom Siggerg, Joe Pook and David Chorley.
St Columba and Torpoint could be in for a long season after they lost 41-10 at home to Topsham. Shaun Hall scored their only try.
In Devon Two, Old Techs were the only Plymouth Combination side to make a winning start to the season. They beat Dartmouth 15-7 away.
DHSOB, without their new Fijian signings, went down 42-0 at home to Ilfracombe, while it looks like it will be another hard season for Plympton Victoria, who lost 92-0 away at Buckfastleigh.