IVYBRIDGE head out of Devon for the first time this season eager to bounce back from their heavy defeat at the hands of Cleve in their last outing.
The Cross-in-Hand side, who sit fourth in National Three South West, travel to 12th-placed Dings Crusaders on Saturday.
An understrength Ivybridge lost 52-21 at home to Cleve two weeks ago. That was only their second defeat since their promotion to level five and their first at home.
“I think the club are very eager to bounce back,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson.
“We are a team that have shown when everyone is working on the same wavelength we have been able to break big teams.
“Hopefully, we can do that on Saturday. We’ve got to go with the same game-plan and just make sure we are ready for a tough battle.”
Ivybridge were without 12 regular first-teamers for their last match against Cleve but, after a weekend off, they will be back to nearly full strength this weekend, with the return of the likes of Paterson, Jordan Anderton, Charlie Briant, Dom Loomes and Alex Hall.
“The people who have been in every week like myself, Jordan Anderton, Charlie Briant, were unavailable against Cleve and they are the ones who know our systems,” said Paterson. “It was unfortunate to miss people who know how we play.
“The players who stepped up are not much different in ability or size and they played with a lot of passion and they have got what it takes to play at this level, but they just need to buy into how we play.
“Some of those players will add so much to our squad, but they just need to know what is going on so they don’t miss tackles, which resulted in such a big score.
“We have got depth but we just need to get the regularity of players coming to training so they understand how we play.
“As a club in general everyone felt that defeat. We have built up a real club ethos so even if there is only 18 playing on a Saturday the result does affect the 25-30 that we have in the squad.”
Ivybridge may have been promoted to National League Three but so far they have not played a game outside their own county in the opening two months of the season, with all their away matches coming against Devon rivals.
“It is our first trip out of Devon, but Dings isn’t too far away, which is good,” said Paterson.
“Dings were a National Two team and I have played there before. It is a bit of a tough old ground to visit, but we are quite good when we travel and we are looking forward to this weekend.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST & CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUES
IN Western Counties West, Saltash will be hoping to continue their recent good form when they travel to Sidmouth.
The Ashes have been slowly moving up the table following their promotion. They have won their last three matches, which has lifted them up to fourth in the standings.
They will face a tough test this weekend against Sidmouth, who sit just one place behind them in fifth. Both teams have won four of their opening six matches.
Saltash team: Venables, Morton, Cload, Crofts, Crawford, Reburn, D Mulberry, Nance, Rayner, Coutts, Rixson, Scott, Wells, Eatwell. Reps: R Eatwell, Carroll, M Jones.
In the same division, Devonport Services will be hoping to end a four-match league and cup losing streak when they travel to struggling Crediton.
Services won their opening three matches with maximum points but they have not won now since September 19.
However, they will be looking to put that record straight against a Crediton side who have won just once since their promotion from the Cornwall/Devon League. The east Devon outfit sit in 13th spot, with Services in sixth.
In the Cornwall/Devon League, Plymouth Argaum will also be hoping to return to winning ways when they entertain fellow high-flyers Bude at Bickleigh Down.
Argaum suffered their first home defeat in their last outing two weeks ago when they were beaten 10-8 by Pirates Amateurs.
Director of rugby Dave Sansom had said before the Pirates match that the next three matches would probably decide if they are likely to be challengers or just making up the numbers.
Bude will certainly test Argaum’s credentials. They have only lost once so far this term – away at Tavistock – and have twice scored 70 points or more in their opening six games.
The north Cornwall side, who sit second, are the league’s top scorers but fourth-placed Argaum have the division’s meanest defence, so it should be an interesting clash.
“We know it’s going to be a hard game,” said Argaum’s director of rugby Dave Sansom. “Bude are a side that go up and down between Western Counties West and Cornwall/Devon. They are certainly a team that know what they are doing.”
Although Argaum have lost two matches they have been by one point and two points and on both occasions Sansom felt his team should have won.
“In the two games we’ve lost we battered the opposition but lost,” he said. “But we’ve got to learn to see games out.”
In the same division, Plymstock Albion Oaks will be looking to continue their rise up the table when they travel to bottom side Honiton.
Oaks, promoted alongside Argaum, have won their last three matches and now sit in seventh spot.
Tenth-placed Tavistock will also be looking to move up the league when they travel to 12th-placed Bodmin.
DEVON ONE AND TWO
THE big game in Devon One is at Flowerpot Fields where leaders Wessex host fellow title-hopefuls Tamar Saracens.
Wessex have enjoyed an unbeaten start so far this term, with three wins out of three to sit second, but Tamar Saracens have proved on their day to be a match for anyone at their level. Their only defeat this season came on the opening day when they narrowly lost 8-5 at North Tawton.
However, they did draw on their last outing with Totnes, so fourth-placed Saracens will be hoping for four points this weekend, which could take the to the top of the league.
Elsewhere in Devon One, winless St Columba & Torpoint face a tough test when they travel to South Molton, while OPMs are without a fixture.
In Devon Two, sixth-placed DHSOB are keen to make it two wins a row when they travel to seventh-placed Salcombe.
The Old Boys, who this term have been boosted by the signing of a number of the Plymouth Fiji rugby team, beat city rivals Plympton Victoria 35-3 two weeks ago.
Director of rugby Mike Freeman, though, knows there will be little chance of surprising Salcombe this weekend.
“We took on a friendly match – a club XV – against them about a month ago,” said Freeman. “It was a positive game for us but the downside is that they will be aware of what we have got. They will know the challenge they are up against.
“Salcombe have been struggling a bit this year and hopefully we can get the win. We would like to progress up the table with a win.”
DHSOB’s second team, known as the Wizards, are also in action when they travel to Totnes IIs in the Devon Participation Merit Table.
Elsewhere in Devon Two, promotion-hopefuls Old Techs travel to fifth-placed Torrington, while bottom club Plympton Victoria face a tough challenge at home to unbeaten Ilfracombe.