IVYBRIDGE will be hoping to finally return to winning ways this weekend when they host third-placed Lydney at Cross-in-Hand.
The Bridgers have narrowly lost their last last three matches at home to leaders Barnstaple and away at Old Redcliffians and Cleve.
That leaves them still needing at least one or two wins to be totally secure of staying in National Three South West for another season.
If that was not motivation enough, then Ivybridge will also want to gain revenge for their 27-13 away defeat at Lyndey in November.
Ivybridge were 13-7 up at the break in the Forest of Dean and looking in command, but the match changed at half-time with the South Hams side heavily penalised by the referee in the final 40 minutes.
That is one of just three games this season, Ivybridge have not picked up at least a point from.
“It’s good that we have another home game for us to target,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson, who was disappointed his team did not pick up at least a point last weekend in a 13-3 defeat to league leaders Barnstaple.
“We want to make sure we get points on the board so we can be safe really.
“Gareth (Elliott) and myself are just looking to build the squad and gain something from every week.
“At the start of the season we said we wanted to try and get something from every game and there’s only been two or three games where we haven’t got a point.”
Lydney will be desperate for a win themselves to keep their promotion push alive.
The Forest of Dean side were relegated last season and want to make an instant return to National Two South.
They currently sit third, nine points behind leaders Barnstaple and six behind second-placed Exmouth, so Ivybridge could do their Devon rivals a favour this weekend.
Lydney did not play last Saturday. Their last match was at home to Barnstaple two weeks ago – a game that ended in a 15-15 draw.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
SALTASH face a make-or-break game on Saturday when they host Crediton at Moorlands Lane in Western Counties West.
Crediton, who were promoted into the division with Saltash, sit one place and six points above second-from-bottom Ashes.
If Saltash lose then it would be incredibly difficult for them to avoid relegation with just seven games left after Saturday.
Crediton have had the better of recent meetings between the sides. They won in east Devon 35-23 earlier this season and crucially won both matches last term to claim the Cornwall/Devon title by just three points. Those games last season came in the opening match and the final one of the campaign, with Crediton winning 23-12 at their place in a title-decider on the last day and 27-24 at Moorlands Lane at the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Devonport Services will be looking for revenge when they host bottom side Penryn at the Rectory on Saturday.
Services suffered a surprise 20-15 defeat in Cornwall in November when they were going through a bad run of form. Indiscipline cost Services that afternoon.
Services’ results have picked up since January but they were disappointed with their last outing two weeks ago when they went down 35-0 at Torquay Athletic.
Services expect a strong forward battle from Penryn and so are delighted to welcome back Pete Farrow back into the squad after operational duties in Norway. He will start on the bench.
Also on the bench will be Rhys Williams, who has been away training with the Royal Navy senior squad ahead of their Inter-Services Championship.
In the back-row Richard Bayliss replaces Dan Edgcumbe, while Devon Under-20 player Luke Stannard returns on the wing after impressing in the second team last week.
Tom Morgan, an impressive replacement against Torquay, gets a first start at scrum-half.
Services: J Shone, E McGinley, C Perkin, A Percival, L Stannard, M Anstis (capt), T Morgan, J Daley, S Bennett, T Sibley, A Pond, A Matthews, R Bayliss, T Busfield, M Gregory. Reps: E Hughes, P Farrow, R Williams.
THERE is a vital match at the bottom of the Cornwall/Devon League, with Tavistock travelling to Exeter Saracens.
Tavistock currently sit second-from-bottom once place and one point below Exeter Saracens, but the west Devon side do have a game in hand.
A victory at Exhibition Way would massively boost Tavistock’s hopes of avoiding a second successive relegation.
Both teams have only won three games this term and neither has claimed a victory since November.
Tavistock’s last success was actually against Exeter Saracens, who they beat 59-26 on November 21.
Plymouth Argaum will be hoping they can return to winning ways on Saturday after frustrating defeats by the top two sides, Bude and St Ives, and a draw last weekend with fourth-placed Falmouth.
Argaum’s director of rugby Dave Sansom felt his team should have picked up at least eight points from those games rather than just two, but he is hoping they can get a win on Saturday when they travel to ninth-place Bodmin.
The Cornish side did surprise Argaum earlier in the season by winning 12-8 at Bickleigh Down.
Meanwhile, Plymstock Albion Oaks could move up to fourth in they beat Falmouth at Horsham Fields on Saturday.
Falmouth sit one place and one point above fifth-placed Oaks. Both teams have only lost five games this season and when they met earlier the campaign played out a 10-10 draw.
TAMAR Saracens will be hoping to pick up another five points to keep their promotion bid on track when they host bottom side St Columba & Torpoint at Parkway.
Saracens currently sit in fourth spott but have three games in hand on second-placed Topsham and third-placed New Cross and are only 10 points behind leaders Wessex with a game in hand on them and with them still to play.
Saracens beat Saints 55-0 away in December but coach Stuart Busfield says they cannot afford to take their Combination rivals lightly.
“We’ve got to show them respect,” he said. “We don’t know who they are going to have available this week.
“But our goal is just to try and get the win, whether that be by three points or 33.”
Busfield added: “We’ve got quite a few changes this week, particularly in the front-row. Last week we had to replace a load of backs and this week it’s the forwards.
“But we are lucky that we still have Jack Martin available and he helps lead our pack from the front.”
Tamar Saracens are looking forward to playing at home for the first time since January.
Their Parkway pitch has taken a battering this season, but Saracens have managed to secure some regular training time on the artificial surface at Keyham, which Busfield believes has boosted his team.
Meanwhile, OPMs will be hoping home advantage can secure them a vital win as they look to try and avoid a second successive relegation when they host Totnes at King George V Playing Fields.
They currently sit second-from-bottom so really need a win against Totnes, who sit two places and 11 points above them.
The teams only met at the end of January with Totnes controversially winning 10-3.
The Old Boys produced an encouraging display last weekend in a 22-5 defeat to Tamar Saracens and they will be hoping to build on that against Totnes.
OLD TECHS are hoping they can keep the pressure on the two teams above them in Devon Two when they host Salcombe at Weston Mill.
Techs, who sit third behind Ilfracombe and Torrington, know they cannot afford any slips up now if they are to secure one of the two promotion places.
“There’s still belief we can do it,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith. “But we are relying a bit on other results, which we did not want, after losing at home to Ilfracambe (at the end of January). That was a game we should have won.
“But Ilfracombe still have to play Torrington and we also have to play Torrington so it is still pretty open.
“However, we have to get through this week’s game against Salcombe first.
“Salcombe may have been struggling a bit in the league, but it won’t be an easy game.
“We only just managed to beat them before Christmas (10-8) and they did beat DHSOB last week.”
Old Techs have got a few injury worries this week. Ian Young (broke and dislocated ankle) and Ben Lynch (cracked ribs) are out, while Techs have doubts over second-row Dan Bond and Dan Rogers. They will need fitness tests.
“We’ve got a few players out, but we are playing at home and last week we have players who came in against Plym Vic and did well away, which was a bonus.”
Devonport High School Old Boys and Plympton Victoria are also both at home in Devon Two this weekend.
The Old Boys, who have their appeal against their point deduction heard next week, play host to fourth-placed Dartmouth at Stonehouse Creek, while Plym Vic entertain second-placed Torrington at Marsh Mills.
View South West Rugby fixtures HERE