RUGBY PREVIEWS: Ivybridge hope to end tough November on a high

Ivybridge Rugby

IVYBRIDGE will be looking for a much-needed win when they entertain Bournemouth at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday in National Three South West (2.30pm).

The Bridgers have lost their last four matches to drop down from second in the table to ninth.

Their opponents this weekend may only sit two places and five points above them but last Saturday Bournemouth caused a shock by beating leaders Barnstaple 23-7.

“It’s going to be another tough game,” said Ivybridge team manager Neil Thomson.

“They beat Barnstaple last week. This is a funny league, but we just need a couple of wins before Christmas to stay away from the bottom.

“Last season we had an awful November but by December we had got used to the conditions and got back to the standard we were playing up to November.”

Player-coach Lewis Paterson added: “We have got the November blues again, but we’ve just got to keep working hard and, hopefully, we can get back to winning ways.”

Devonport Services are also in need of a win in Western Counties West.

They have dropped from the top of the table after three games down to fourth from bottom after six consecutive league defeats.

They are likely to be up against it this weekend when they entertain leaders Exeter University at the Rectory (2.15pm).

Exeter University have only lost twice this season, although they did suffer a 24-23 defeat at home to struggling Cullompton last weekend, which should give Services hope.

Saltash rugbySaltash, meanwhile, are reported to have re-signed scrum-half Olly Mulberry from Launceston ahead of their home match with Torquay (2.30pm).

Mulberry left Moorlands Lane in the summer for Polson Bridge and has made three starts and two replacement appearances in National Two South. Following his departure in the summer the Ashes signed his younger brother Dom.

Seventh-placed Saltash are looking to bounce back after losing 35-23 to old rivals Crediton last weekend.

After a poor start to the season, Torquay have picked up with two wins over Truro and Devonport Services in the last two weeks to move up to 10th.

The big match in the Cornwall/Devon League is at Horsham Fields where Plymstock Albion Oaks entertain Tavistock.

The match will be a chance for Oaks’ player-coach Richard West to come up against the club he left in the summer.

Oaks have been in outstanding form recently and have gone six league games unbeaten.

Tavistock, who were two divisions higher than Oaks last term, are one of the most unpredictable teams in the league.

They sit in 10th spot but last weekend ended a run of three defeats in a row by hammering Exeter Saracens 59-26. They are also the only team to be second-placed Bude this season.

In the same division, Plymouth Argaum face a tough test when they travel to leaders Withycombe.

Argaum have lost their last four matches, but two have been by just one score.

OPMs v ArgaumThe Bickleigh Down side controversially lost 12-8 at home last week to Bodmin, with the visitors scoring with the last play of the game after a penalty kick hit the post and then the ball appeared to be knocked on before a try was awarded.

Argaum might not have had a lot of luck recently, but director of rugby Dave Sansom, though, insists his team just have to get on with it and try to be even better.

“Last week was a bit hard to swallow,” admitted Sansom. “But we’ve got to get ourselves back up.

“We’ve just got to get back on that bike and get going again.

“Last week we should have been out of sight, but it did not quite happen for us. However, I’ve no doubt we will pick up points.”

He added: “This weekend we have got to go up with Withycombe and we just have to relax and enjoy having a game of rugby.

“But you have always got to go with the attitude that you are going there to win.”

In Devon One, St Columba & Torpoint and Tamar Saracens will try again to play each other. They should have played last week, but the game at Defiance Field was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

Tamar Saracens were disappointed not to play last Saturday as they were hoping to push their promotion claims with news signings Ryan Dingle, James Hannaford, Jack Martin and Fin Gilding all set to feature.

“I would be really disappointed if it does not go ahead this week and we have had to postpone a Devon Cup game at Buckfastleigh to play this league game,” said Tamar Saracens coach Stuart Busfield.

“We do need a game. The players are still frustrated from that South Molton match, which was a really tough mentally and physically.”

Sarries did beat South Molton 14-5, but in horrible conditions missed out on a valuable bonus point despite scoring two tries in the opening few minutes.

OPMs are also playing catch-up this weekend. They have only played four league matches in Devon One, having had two postponed.

This weekend they will travel to North Tawton, who sit two places and four points ahead of them. The match should have been played earlier in the season but when OPMs arrived there was no referee.

OPMs also had their match against Totnes postponed last weekend. That is now rescheduled for January 2.

To view South West rugby fixtures, click HERE



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