RUGBY PREVIEWS: Ivybridge target two wins before Christmas

Ivybridge rugbyIVYBRIDGE are hoping they can claim a couple of wins before Christmas to consolidate their mid-table position in National Three South West at the halfway point of the season.

The Cross-in-Hand side, who currently sit ninth in a tight league after winning half of their 10 matches so far, travel to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday to take on fourth-placed Hornets.

They will then follow that up with a home match against bottom club Chippenham and then a trip to 12th-placed Old Centralians.

“We have got three games to go before we reach the halfway mark of the season,” said team manager Neil Thomson. “And it would be nice to target a couple of wins to maintain our position or even move up the table.

“We have nearly played everyone now and we have shown we can compete in this league.

“But we just want to keep pushing and striving to get as many points as we can.”

He added: “We are at Hornets this weekend, which is a big game. They are a very good home side and the weather forecast also does not look good. But we’re coming off a win and a good second half performance against Bournemouth. We’ve just got to keep working hard.”

Ivybridge are still without second-row Dom Loomes but they are able to welcome back player-coach Gareth Elliott.

Jordan Anderton should also be fit after recovering from a nasty cut to the head last week against Bournemouth, while Ivybridge, who are set to recall Billy Pinkus to the starting line-up, also hope Richard Luscombe will be okay following a knock.


In Western Counties West, Devonport Services will be hoping to build on last week’s impressive win over high-flying Exeter University when they travel to Tiverton.

Services ended a run of six straight league defeats by triumphing 18-15 at the Rectory against the students.

That win has moved Bryan Crichton’s side up to seventh place in the table, one spot above Tiverton, who like Services also have four wins out of 10.

Tiverton had a poor start to the season, losing their opening three games, but they have picked up in recent weeks and have beaten leaders Kingsbridge. However, they did slip up last Saturday, going down 20-15 at Cullompton.

In the same division, Saltash will be aiming to return to winning ways when they travel to bottom club Penryn.

The Ashes have lost their last three matches and have fallen down to ninth spot, although they do have a game in hand.

Saltash have been boosted by the return of half-back Ollie Mulberry from Launceston and they will be favourites to beat a Penryn side who have only won twice this season. However, both Penryn’s victories have come at home and they did beat Services in their last match at the Memorial Ground.


In the Cornwall/Devon League, Plymstock Albion Oaks will be looking to make it eight games unbeaten when they travel to bottom side Newquay Hornets.

The match will be a chance for Oaks coach Tim Mathias to come up against his former Albion team-mate James Owen, who has recently taken over from Ian Morgan at the struggling Cornish side.

Newquay have yet to win a game this season and have only scored 101 points in 10 matches.

argaum4Oaks, in contrast, are the division’s in-form side and have moved up to fourth in the table after six wins and a draw in their last seven outings.

Elsewhere in the Cornwall/Devon League, Plymouth Argaum face ‘an important’ game at home to Exeter Saracens, according to their director of rugby Dave Sansom.

Argaum, after a great start to the season following promotion, have not been able to squeeze out a win in their last five matches.

They have been close, losing two games by just one score, and they will be hoping to put that record right against an Exeter Saracens side who sit 10th in the table.

“It is an important game for us,” said Sansom. “We could really do with a win on Saturday just to give us a bit of breathing space.”

Argaum have been boosted by news that Sansom was cleared of any improper conduct following his team’s controversial 12-8 defeat to Bodmin by a Devon RFU disciplinary committee this week.

Argaum are waiting on the fitness of new winger Lewis Chick.

The University of St Mark and St John student, who has previously played for Torquay, was handed his debut last weekend at leaders Withycombe. However, Chick lasted just four minutes before being involved in a clash of heads that led to him going to hospital for checks.

Argaum, meanwhile, have teamed up with the University of St Mark and St John to form a new mini rugby side in north Plymouth.

The club will be launching Sunday fun sessions for under-sevens and under-eights in January at the university. The sessions will start on January 10 between 10.30am and 12noon.

Elsewhere, Tavistock are in desperate need of a Cornwall/Devon League win after dropping into the bottom three after their 59-0 hammering at Oaks last weekend.

They entertain sixth-placed Paignton knowing a win could move them up to ninth spot.


In Devon One, OPMs host unbeaten leaders Wessex at Elburton on Saturday.

OPMs, who narrowly lost 13-8 away at second-placed North Tawton last week, could really do with causing a mini upset to keep the pressure on the teams above them.

OPMsThe Old Boys are down in seventh spot but they do have a game in hand on most of their rivals and are only seven points off second place.

St Columba & Torpoint will be hoping they can get their first win of the season when they travel to fellow strugglers New Cross.

The sides fill the bottom two places, but New Cross do have one win to their name, unlike Saints.

St Columba will be without forwards Neal and Paul Walters, Steve Lister, George Trevor-Harris, but they can welcome back James Dolman and Mike Grieve has also been passed fit to play.

They are also set to include Martyn Ruskin at full-back following his return to the club, while Jon Adams will be handed a debut at fly-half.

Tamar Saracens are frustratingly without a league game this week after twice having their match with St Columba postponed.

They are likely to face a bit of a fixture backlog in the near future as they are still in the RFU Junior Vase and Devon Junior Cup.

To get some match practice in, promotion-chasing Tamar Saracens have arranged a match with Saltash’s seconds at Moorlands Lane.

“We really need a game,” said coach Stuart Busfield. “We don’t want to be going into an important league game without having played for three weeks.

“This will be a tough fixture for us at Saltash. It will be interesting to see if we can blow off the cobwebs.

“It’s also an opportunity to try out guys in different positions and being a friendly we can take a fairly big bench to have a look at people.”


In Devon Two, fourth-placed Old Techs will be looking for a vital win away at Salcombe.

Techs are just four points off second-placed Torrington.

Shaun Bedford-Smith“It would be good to get a win this weekend as it’s our last league game before Christmas,” said coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.

“We have had a to travel a lot in the first half of the season, but after New Year the furthest we have to go is Buckfastleigh. All the rest of our games are at home or in and around Plymouth.

“If we could get a win this weekend then hopefully we can go on a nice little run at the turn of the year, but Salcombe are always quite tough at home.”

Old Techs are taking a bus to Salcombe, although due to unavailabilities they will not be as strong as they can be.

Another team hoping for an away win are sixth-placed DHSOB, who travel to third-placed Dartmouth.

The Old Boys are the league’s most unpredictable team, but director of rugby Mike Freeman is hoping they can sneak a win that would push them into the top half of the table at Christmas.

“If we have all our players available we can take on anyone, even in the rain,” said Freeman.

“If we travel well and we are on our game then we could beat Dartmouth.

Mike freeman“But if people don’t make the bus and we are disorganised then we could get walloped.”

DHSOB are holding a club party on Friday evening and Freeman is hoping his players don’t enjoy themselves too much before their trip to Dartmouth.

The Old Boys will also be sending a second team to play Saltash’s third string.

Meanwhile, bottom club Plympton Victoria face a tough trip to second-placed Salcombe, who have only lost once in the league this season.

View South West rugby fixtures HERE


Leave a Reply