IVYBRIDGE made up for their defeat at the Hornets last weekend by beating them 38-24 at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
The South Hams side came out fired up and stormed into a 21-0 lead, but they then lost their way and at one point Hornets got to within two points of Ivybridge at 26-24.
However, just when it mattered the Bridgers found another gear and finished strongly to secure a full five points and deny Hornets the chance to move into the top three.
The victory, which came courtesy of tries by Billy Pinkus (2), Jay Geraty, Lewis Paterson, Nathan Reeves and Charlie Briant (pictured), has moved Ivybridge up to ninth in the National Three South West table.
However, the win might have come at a cost with player-coach Paterson picking up a worrying knee injury.
He, though, was pleased with his team’s victory and how they responded when things started to go wrong for them.
“We got 21-0 up but then repeated what we did the previous week and starting making individual errors that allowed them back into the game,” said Paterson.
“They got to within two points of us and that was frustrating for the lads, but this week we relaxed and got back to the game-plan.
“We finished the game with some fantastic rugby and some brilliant tries.
“As I’ve said before, this team do learn quick and it was positive to see that they were able to react when things started to go wrong during a game.”
He added: “We went to Hornets and came away with nothing so it was good to send them away with nothing from us. If they had won they would have gone third.
“If we were consistent we could be up there. It has been a bit of a yo-yo year for us. We’ll produce massive performances and then struggle. We just need that consistency.”
Another boost for Ivybridge was the return to action of lock George Wilson after long-term injury. He made his comeback for the club’s second team against Totnes on Saturday.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
BOTTOM side Saltash claimed their first win since October when they beat fellow strugglers Penryn 29-25 at Moorlands Lane.
The win has given the Ashes some faint hope that they might be able to prevent the likely drop back down to the Cornwall/Devon League.
They are nine points off safety but do have a game in hand on third-from-bottom Sidmouth.
However, Saltash’s remaining fixtures could not be tougher. They have to play promotion-chasing Okehampton twice, leaders Kingsbridge, third-placed Exeter University and sixth-placed Tiverton.
With Sidmouth and Penyrn having to play each other, Saltash would need to win at least three out of five of those remaining games to have any hope of staying up.
They made a great start on Saturday against Penryn and were 12-0 up after 13 minutes with tries by Ollie Mulberry and Will Morton.
Saltash, who held a minute’s silence for former player and stalwart Mike King before the game, had the chance to extend their lead but did not take them and the visitors closed the gap with a penalty by Martin Strick.
He kicked another after the interval to make it 12-6 before prop Craig Jones touched down for Saltash and Todd Crofts converted to make it 19-6.
However, Penryn fought back and a converted try by Jordan Rose and then one by centre Andrew Sebiour put them 20-19 in front with 20 minutes to go.
Crofts restored the Ashes lead with a penalty but Penryn went back in front when Will Payne scored with seven minutes to go.
But Saltash dug deep and seal their first win of 2016 when Jones scored a second under the posts for Crofts to convert.
Devonport Services also returned to winning ways, beating Tiverton 27-10 at the Rectory.
It was their first win since February and keeps them in eighth place with four matches to go.
Their victory was built around a strong forward effort.
They opened the scoring when Matt Gregory put captain Matt Anstis in to score after the home side turned Tiverton over at a scrum.
Five minutes later Service scored again, this time through fit-again Ben McGowan after good play from a line-out.
Tom Heard halved the deficit with a try for Tiverton to make it 10-5.
Services edged further ahead just before half-time with an Anstis penalty.
After surviving some Tiverton pressure, the home side went 20-5 up with a try by Keli Bainivalu.
A fourth try came not long later when Callum Perkins crossed after earlier good play by McGowan.
Tiverton, who had beaten Services 29-10 at their place earlier in the season, managed 10 points themselves at the Rectory with a try by Newman.
TAVISTOCK are staring a second successive relegation in the face after losing 34-12 away at Paignton.
If that defeat was not bad enough for Tavvy, their relegation rivals Honiton caused a bit of a shock by picking up a bonus point win against Falmouth.
That leaves Tavistock eight points off safety with just four games to play.
Tavvy did battle hard in south Devon and there was nothing to choose between the sides in the first half, but after the break Paignton upped their game to score four tries.
Luke Northmore scored all Tavistock’s points with two tries and a conversion.
Plymouth Argaum returned to winning ways with a 24-5 victory away at Exeter Saracens, who are facing life in Devon One with them being 18 points off safety with just 20 points available.
After two defeats Argaum were just pleased to return to winning ways but will be slightly frustrated they did not pick up a bonus point.
Jake Turfrey, Jamie Burton and Adam Wood scored tries for them, with Turfrey converting all the tries and adding a penalty.
TAMAR Saracens just need one win from their remaining two fixtures to secure the Devon One title after coming from behind to snatch a last-gasp 27-26 victory at in-form New Cross.
Tom Rigby was the hero of the hour with a late try and then a match-winning penalty two minutes from time.
However, it was Aaron Webb, Dane Waryck and Jason Stead who were key to Saracens turning Saturday’s game on its head.
New Cross, who had not lost since November, were 19-0 up at one point, but despite being out-played for long periods, Saracens dug deep and managed to snatch the full five points to move top of the table, with a game in hand on second-placed Topsham and third-placed Wessex.
Jack Martin, Tom Siggery and Jason Stead crossed for tries before Rigby scored a stunning fourth.
Afterwards coach Stuart Busfield said: “I was so proud of the mental strength the team showed to get the win.
“If I’m honest, the better team did not win. They (New Cross) were really strong. That’s the most tries any team has scored against us in two years and it was the furthest we had been behind in a game for a few seasons.
“But once our nerves settled we just started chipping away at their lead. We were under the cosh for three-quarters of the game but we had three or four players who really made a difference and when we had chances we finished.
“We are so pleased to get a bonus point win against an outstanding team like that. We were a bit lucky but we showed our class with the way we thought back.
“We are now top of the table, but we’ve still got two tough games to play.
“If we could win the league it would be a massive thing for this club.”
There was no joy for already-relegated OPMs in their final home fixture of the season. They went down 10-5 to South Molton, who are Tamar Saracens opponents next weekend.
OPMs battled hard and really made South Molton work hard for their fourth consecutive win.
However, all the Old Boys could show for their efforts was a Chris Hammer try.
St Columba and Torpoint, who will join OPMs in Devon Two next season, were beaten 80-7 away at North Tawton.
Saints took the lead with a try Matt Price, but after that the home took command and ran in 12 tries.
DHSOB director of rugby Mike Freeman was upset his side’s 67-0 defeat at leaders Ilfracombe was recorded as a home walkover.
The Old Boys, bottom of the table after having points deducted for breaching registration rules, were determined to honour the fixture that could decide the outcome of the Devon Two title, despite having only 13 players.
Not having enough front-row forwards, Ilfracombe agreed to lend them one but then recorded the match as a ‘walkover’.
Freeman said: “I wanted the result recorded as I wanted people to know we honoured the fixture.
“We lost 67-0 but I thought we did quite well considering we only had 13 players. We kept them down to just five tries in the second half, which I thought was a major effort from us.
“We honoured the game and they had a big crowed as it was their VPs day, but they then phoned the result through as a walkover because they said they had to lend us a front-row player.
“They did make us feel welcome and brought us all a pint, but I was disappointed it was put down as a walkover.”
Ilfracombe were crowned champions on points difference from Torrington.
Meanwhile, Old Techs ended their season on a high with a 36-10 home win over Dartmouth, which guaranteed them third place.
Billy Evans (2), Ryan Tunnicliffe, Joel Dickens, Anthony Luxton and James Tegale scored tries for Old Techs.
Winless Plympton Victoria battled hard against Buckfastleigh Rangers before losing 26-3.