IVYBRIDGE missed out on reaching the Devon Senior Cup final, narrowly losing 18-9 to league rivals Exmouth in an enthralling semi-final at Cross-in-Hand.
Exmouth had beaten Ivybridge 39-17 at the Imperial Ground just days earlier in National Three South West, but Wednesday night’s clash under floodlights was a totally different game.
In front of a large crowd, Ivybridge dominated the opening quarter but did not convert their territory and possession into points.
They should definitely have scored at least one try, but Tom Scoles somehow dropped the ball a metre from the try line after bursting through in front of the posts.
Exmouth weathered the storm and after half-an-hour finally got out of the half and scored within minutes when number eight Ben Hawley went over from the back of a five-metre scrum and Rich Cadywould converted.
Three minutes later the visitors added a second when scrum-half Lloyd Watkins burst through from 35 metres to go over on the right for a fine individual effort.
Billy Pinkus missed a penalty for Ivybridge before he did put one over before half-time as his side went in 12-3 down.
The scoreline was tough on the home team, whose backs always looked a threat, particularly Charlie Briant.
However, it was Exmouth’s more experienced pack that won them the match, stealing a number of crucial line-outs and driving well when they needed to.
Ivybridge, though, gave them a real fright by getting to within three points with Billy Pinkus kicking two penalties.
At that point it looked like the momentum might be with them, with the visitors getting on the wrong side of the referee.
But Cadywould edged Exmouth six points in front before the National Three South West leaders kicked a crucial drop-goal 10 minutes from time to edge them two scores in front.
Ivybridge threw everything at the Cockles late on. Jordan Anderton made a great break but was just stopped short.
The home team also got a penalty with five minutes to go but opted for the corner and were unable to make it tell.
Exmouth will now play Brixham in the final at the Imperial Ground.
Ivybridge, meanwhile, will be hoping they can play with the same passion and intensity when they travel to Bournemouth on Saturday in the league.