IVYBRIDGE are hoping they will recover from their mid-week Devon Cup semi-final clash with Exmouth in time for Saturday’s National Three South West match at Bournemouth.
The Bridgers produced an impressive display against league leaders Exmouth on Wednesday evening before narrowly losing 18-9.
They had their chances to win the game and book a place in the final against Brixham but did not take them.
However, rather than be disappointed at missing out on the chance of some silverware, player-coach Lewis Paterson is hoping his team can take confidence out of their performance against an Exmouth outfit, who had beaten then 39-17 days earlier in the league.
“If you look at stats, possession and territory we were quite dominant (on Wednesday),” said Paterson. “But they (Exmouth) are an experienced side. They have got some fantastic depth, you could tell that from the squad we played against on Saturday and Wednesday. You have to give credit where credit is due.
“But for us it was a fantastic turnaround. The score was a lot different (to the league game) and there was opportunities there if we had executed.
“We will be kicking ourselves, but we have to keep our feet on the ground and remember this is our first season in this league.
“We are doing things well for a team just coming into the league We are learning and we need to look at the bigger picture. Come a few more seasons we might be a different side.
“Our resources, in terms of depth, are improving. People are stepping up. We played a colt, Jack Sturton, on Wednesday. The building blocks are there.”
Tenth-placed Ivybridge could still finish in the top half of the table, if they can put together a winning run in their final seven games.
Bournemouth sit sixth in the table, 20 points ahead of Ivybridge, but they have played two more matches.
“We beat Bournemouth down here,” said Paterson. “We came back from 14-0 down to win 15-14.
“They have got a good pitch up there and if the weather stays as it is, there’s going to be opportunities for us with our style of rugby.
“We just need to make sure we are right having had a mid-week game and we have to get our recovery right.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
SALTASH will be hoping they can give themselves some hope of avoiding the drop back down to the Cornwall/Devon League when they travel to Torquay Athletic on Saturday.
The Ashes currently sit bottom of the Western Counties West table, 12 points off safety with just seven games to go.
They have not won since October and if they do not pick up any points this weekend then their hopes of surviving will be all-but over.
Torquay just edged out the Ashes 20-17 when the teams met at Moorlands Lane in November.
The Tics do sit fifth in the table, but they have lost their last two matches.
Elsewhere in the division, Devonport Services face a tough trip to promotion-chasing Exeter University.
The student side sit second in the table, just three points behind leaders Kingsbridge.
Exeter have only lost five games this season, but one of them was to Devonport Services, who memorably triumphed 18-15 at the end of November to end a losing run in style.
RELEGATION-threatened Tavistock will be hoping to cause an upset when they host fourth-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks in a derby match at Sandy Park.
Tavistock need all the points they can get with them sitting third-from-bottom in the Cornwall/Devon League, but they will know it will be tough against an in-form Oaks side, who beat then 59-0 earlier in the season.
Oaks have not lost since the end of January and last weekend pulled off a great 12-3 away win at promotion-chasing Withycombe.
Saturday’s match will see Oaks’ Richard Goldsby-West return to his former club.
Elsewhere in the division, Plymouth Argaum face a tough test when they host Withycombe.
After their defeat to Oaks last Saturday, RFU Senior Vase finalists Withycombe cannot afford another slip up if they are to win promotion.
Argaum’s director of rugby Dave Sansom is quite happy for the pressure to be on his opponents.
However, seventh-placed Argaum are keen to bounce back after last weekend’s last-gasp 13-10 defeat at Hayle.
“We were the better side last week, but we lost the game,” said Sansom.
“We have played well most games this season but not always got the results.
“There’s probably half a dozen games which were there for the taking but we just did not take them.
“If we look at the points we could have had we would be there or there abouts. That’s the small margins between being a really top team or a mid-table team.
“But mid-table is okay for us this season. We have had to find our feet in this league after two consecutive promotions. You can’t keep going up and up.”
Argaum have suffered a blow with news that they are going to have to replay their match with Bodmin at the end of April.
The Plymouth team won the match 12-9 two weeks ago but the referee abandoned the game 20 minutes early after a fight broke out.
DEVON ONE AND TWO
OPMs could be relegated to Devon Two this weekend if they fail to beat leaders Wessex away and South Molton beat North Tawton at home.
The Old Boys are currently seven points behind South Molton with just three games to play. Molton, on the other hand, have five matches still to go.
It really is last chance saloon this weekend for OPMs, who were in the Cornwall/Devon League last season.
If they could cause an upset, then they would also be doing their city rivals Tamar Saracens a favour.
Sarries sit second in the table, one point behind Wessex. Saracens do not have a league game this weekend but they will host Wessex next Saturday.
Topsham and New Cross could both leapfrog above Tamar Saracens this weekend but they will have played more games.
In-form New Cross travel to St Columba & Torpoint, who are still looking for their first point of the season.
Saints, whose relegation was confirmed last week by losing 40-0 at South Moton, are boosted by the return of several players for the clash at Defiance Field.
With next season in mind, head coach Damo Chambers names three colts – Conor Harris, Taylor Hill and Terry Thomas – and on the bench. The south east Cornwall side want to blood their young players in the final few weeks of the campaign.
Saints, though, do welcome back lock Adi Kenyon and number eight Dave Hussey to their pack.
In the backs they make five changes, with Martyn Ruskin forced into the fly-half shirt in the absence of the injured Luke Richards. Centres Lee White and Del Jenkins are available again, while wingers Nathan Lacey and Jack Hodgetts also return after a week off.
Saints: Mike Grieve, Jack Hodgetts, Del Jenkins, Lee White, Nathan Lacey, Martyn Ruskin, Ben Green, Aiden Nethercot, Neal Walters, James Dolman, Adi Kenyon, Damo Chambers, Josh Willcocks, Axel Nicks, Dave Hussey. Reps: Conor Harris, Ben Holmes, Taylor Hill, Terry Thomas.
In Devon Two, Old Techs’ promotion-hopes suffered a major blow last weekend when leaders Ilfracombe and second-placed Torrington played out a 6-6 draw.
Third-placed Techs ideally wanted an Ilfracombe win to give them hope of catching Torrington, who they still have to play at Weston Mill.
But Torrington are now eight points ahead of them with just three games to go. Although Torrington still have Techs to play, their other two matches are against struggling DHSOB and Salcombe.
Bottom side DHSOB travel to them this weekend, while Techs head to the unpredictable Buckfastleigh Ramblers.
Winless Plympton Victoria are the only city team to be at home in Devon Two this weekend when they host third-from-bottom Salcombe.
South West rugby fixtures can be found HERE