TAMAR Saracens have put themselves in a great position to claim the Devon One title by beating leaders Wessex 10-3 at Parkway.
The victory lifts Saracens up to second in the table. They are now just two points behind Wessex with a game in hand.
They know if they win their remaining three matches and pick up just one bonus point they will definitely claim a second successive promotion.
They had to work hard for their victory at a rain-soaked Parkway on Saturday.
The city side dominated territory in the first half, but only managed one try for their efforts courtesy of forward Jack Martin, who powered over after tapping a penalty on 35 minutes.
They definitely should have had at least one more try as they were stopped illegally on the line twice.
Tom Rigby gave them the lead in the 23rd minute with a penalty but that was cancelled out by Wessex almost straight away.
But after being held up over the line and two penalties on it they did get the try they threatened to give them a 10-3 half-time lead.
Wessex, though, had the better of the second half but could not break through Sarries mean defence, which has only conceded 89 points in 13 league matches this season. Saracens’ hooker Adam Corbett made a couple of crucial turnovers.
Wessex could have reduced the gap on 54 minutes with a penalty but missed and then wasted another penalty going for the corner and failing to make it tell.
At the other end, Saracens got a penalty inside Wessex’s half 10 minutes from time, yet rather than go goal and try to go two scores up they went for the corner but their line-out throw was deemed not straight.
Wessex had two late chances to snatch a possible draw with penalties to the corner but they were unable to score from them.
Afterwards Saracens coach Stuart Busfield said his team were delighted with the win but a bit disappointed with the way they played.
“The win was paramount – that was the most important thing,” said Busfield. “There was the elation at the end of the game, but in the changing rooms the guys were a bit deflated because they know they are a lot better than how they played.
“Wessex are a very good side and they came flying out of the blocks second half and they made life difficult for us.
“The last 10 minutes my heart was in my mouth. I thought they were going to pinch a draw.”
Busfield added: “The guys are absolutely focussed on promotion now. We are not quite top yet, but we’ve got that game in hand.
“We have three games left – three difficult games. They are all teams that could beat us on their day, but if you are going to get promoted you have to beat them all.”
Meanwhile, in the same division, Tamar Saracens next opponents, New Cross, beat St Columba & Torpoint 90-18 at Defiance Field. Matthew Price and player-coach Damo Chambers scored tries for Saints, who actually put up more of a fight than the scoreline suggests.
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH WEST AND ROUND-UP
IVYBRIDGE suffered a disappointing 21-12 defeat at Hornets in National Three South West on Saturday.
The Bridgers had gone into the replayed match on the back of an impressive 41-19 win away at Bournemouth.
They had also been beating Hornets 12-0 in the original game back in December before it had to be abandoned due to bad light after a host of injuries.
And it looked like they were going to return with a win when they deservedly led 12-7 at half-time, with tries by Tom Scoles and flanker Alex Hall – one of the players that had been injured in the original match.
But the second half was a tail of two yellow cards. Hornets found themselves down to 14 men early in the half as Ivybridge continued their dominance but the visitors were unable to add any scores.
However, late in the game the conditions changed considerably due to heavy rain and Ivybridge found themselves down to 14 men and conceded two tries in the last seven minutes to return home pointless.
Ivybridge, though, get an early chance for revenge as the Hornets, who moved up to fourth after Saturday’s win, have to travel to Cross-in-Hand this coming weekend.
Meanwhile, in Western Counties West, Devonport Services’ match at Okehampton was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, while in the Cornwall/Devon League Tavistock will now travel to Bodmin on Tuesday evening.
In Devon Two, Old Techs lost 12-7 at Weston Mill in another replayed match that had to be abandoned earlier in the season due to bad light following an injury.
Luke Honeychurch scored Old Techs’ only try on a wet afternoon.
However, the point Techs picked up should be enough for them to secure third spot ahead of Dartmouth, who they host next weekend. Techs will go into that match five points ahead of Dartmouth, who would need a bonus point win and deny their hosts any points to leapfrog above them.