TAMAR Saracens will be crowned Devon One champions on Saturday if they beat South Molton away.
Sarries, founded in 1973, have never been in the Cornwall/Devon League before but they will be following in the footsteps of Plymouth Argaum, who also claimed back-to-back promotions last season, if they pick up four points this weekend.
“It is D-Day for the club,” said coach Stuart Busfield. “The highest we have ever been before is mid-table in Devon One.
“This would be a really big thing for the club. We are so close now, but I just hope the pressure of the occasion does not get to the lads.
“Hopefully, they learnt a few lessons last week at New Cross.”
If the worst did happen on Saturday then Sarries would still have another chance to seal the title on the final day of the season when they host North Tawton at Parkway.
“We will be pushing hard to finish it off this weekend,” said Busfield.
“Our final game of the season, which is at home, is a players and VP day. It would be nice going into that knowing we are Devon One champions.”
Sarries paid a heavy price for a bruising encounter at New Cross last week where they snatched a late 27-26 win.
Influential back Joe Wyatt broke his collar bone, prop Adam Sheldon broke ribs, hooker Adam Corbett suffered an arm injury and Joey Pook a head injury. Jamie Lavill-Harris is also unavailable this weekend.
However, Saracens are able to welcome back James Hannaford, Ryan Dingle, Dave Chorley, Ed Cox, Steve Hodge and Mark Rennie.
“It’s up and downs with players coming in and out, but, hopefully, it should even itself out,” said Busfield.
“We know from playing them before that they are very tough up front. Our backs did the damage last time, but it will be an extremely tough game.”
Saracens’ resources will be pushed this weekend as they have to play a Lockie Cup quarter-final on Sunday against Old Techs, who finished their league season last weekend.
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH WEST
IVYBRIDGE will have a major point to prove on Saturday when they travel to bottom side Chippenham.
The Wiltshire side are already relegated after only winning two of their 23 games, but one of those victories was against Ivybridge back in December.
Chippenham caused a major upset by triumphing 22-19 at Cross-in-Hand.
“The boys are really hungry for this game,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson. “They are really targeting it.
“They have been saying they can’t believe Chippenham beat us. Hopefully, they can redeem themselves this weekend and beat them.
“We won’t be taking them lightly, but we are hungry for this game. We do want a big performance.”
Ivybridge beat fourth-placed Hornets 38-24 last weekend. That moved them up to ninth in the National Three South West standings and they could jump up another spot to eighth if they win on Saturday.
After the weekend they will have three remaining games – Old Centralians at home, Old Patesians away and Dings Crusaders at home.
“I would like to see if we could get to the end of the season not losing,” said Paterson.
“I just want to see us show some consistency.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services face a tough trip to leaders Kingsbridge on Saturday.
It is the third time Services have faced the title-chasers.
The city side thought they had beaten Kingsbridge 19-13 at the Rectory in December but the game had to be replayed as the referee picked up an injury six minutes before the end and could not continue.
Kingsbridge won the rematch at the Rectory 29-0 and the High House side have really found their form in recent weeks to take a grip on the race for the title.
Last week they beat seventh-placed Cullompton 41-8 away, the week before they trounced Penryn 50-0 and in the match before that they overcame third-placed Exeter University 39-5.
Services do go into the game boosted by a 27-10 win over Tiverton last weekend.
Prop Pete Farrow is not available for Services so Jason Money replaces him otherwise it is the same set of forwards that impressed against Tiverton last week. However, the city side know they will face a stiffer test up front against Kingsbridge.
In the backs Alex Percival returns in the centre but Full Back Eddie McGinley has a slight knee injury so is rested in his place comes Sam Luke.
Bottom side Saltash, who are starring relegation in the face, have a difficult task away at Exeter University.
Saltash, though, did end a six-month losing run last weekend when they Penryn 29-25.
The Ashes still have a faint hope of staying up but they are nine points from safety with just five games to go, all of which are against top six sides.
THE big match in Plymouth this weekend is at Bickleigh Down where Argaum host Plymstock Albion Oaks in the Cornwall/Devon League.
Argaum have won the last two meetings of the sides and surprised Oaks in December with a 16-10 victory at Horsham Fields.
Oaks had gone three months without defeat before that derby loss.
The Staddiscombe-based side are once again in-form. Their last reverse came at the end of January when they were beaten by Pirates Amateurs.
Injury-hit Argaum, who have been without key players like Tom Richards and Mike Cox in recent weeks, returned to winning ways last Saturday by beating struggling Exeter Saracens 24-5 away.
Meanwhile, Tavistock face a must-win match at home to Honiton.
Tavvy are currently eight points off safety with four games to go.
Honiton, who sit 10th, are one of the teams that are eight points in front of them. If they could cut that gap to four of five then they would hope as they have got bottom side Newquay among their remaining games.
Whatever happens in their remaining matches Tavistock are looking for a player-coach for next season.
The club say the role will include developing skills of the club’s senior players, providing regular training sessions, supporting the team on matchdays and full responsibility for the club’s senior playing sides and their development.
They also say they are prepared to look at a remuneration package based upon the experience and benefit that the candidate can bring to the role.
Anyone interested should contact Bob Boreham on email@example.com or ring 01822 833492.
South West rugby fixtures can be viewed HERE