IVYBRIDGE made it three wins in a row with a hard-earned 23-19 success over relegation-threatening Old Centralians at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
The Gloucestershire-based side arrived in Devon really needing the win to keep them clear of Newton Abbot, who sit in the final relegation spot.
Ivybridge’s victory has given their county rivals, Newton Abbot, renewed hope of staying up. They are just three points behind Old Centralians with two games to go.
However, the eighth-placed Bridgers had to claim their four points the hard way. They found themselves down to 12 men in the first half after having three players sin-binned and they were also trailing with 15 minutes to go.
“At one point we were down to 12,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson. “But we managed to come through and get a really good win.
“We really are looking to finish the season on a high.
“The boys showed on Saturday there is no complacency just because we are safe. Old Centralians were fighting for everything and it showed really good character from us to get the win. That was really positive.
“We are now targeting this coming weekend’s game against Old Patesians, who are already relegated.
“We just want to enjoy are remaining games of the season.”
Hayden Coles, Charlie Briant and Jordan Anderton scored Ivybridge’s tries, with Matt Grieveson kicking the rest of their points.
The win followed on from victories over Chippenham and Hornets and means Ivybridge could still finish seventh in their first season in the league.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services ended a tough week on a high with a bonus point victory over seventh-placed Cullompton at the Rectory.
Services were playing their third league match within seven days, having travelled to leaders Kingsbridge last weekend and second-placed Okehampton on Wednesday.
The city side had put good performances in against the top two yet had not been able to win, but they were good enough to overcome Cullompton 28-21.
Services made a great start and were 14-0 up are 12 minutes thanks to tries in the corner by Eddie McGingley and Kelli Bainivalu, both which were brilliantly converted by Matt Anstis.
But Cullompton, who started the day one place and eight points ahead of Services, hit back and closed to within four points with a penalty and a converted try.
But a Ben McGowen touch-down, converted by Anstis, just after the break put Devonport 21-10 up.
Cullompton came back and closed to within three points, but, despite their tough week, Services dug deep and secured the full five points thanks to a try from close range by Anstis, who also converted. His only miss of the day was a penalty attempt.
Bottom club Saltash nearly pulled off a vital win over sixth-placed Tiverton at Moorlands Lane on Saturday.
Ashes, needing to win to keep alive their faint hopes of staying up, were 25-12 in front and were still leading 25-24 going into the final few minutes but Tiverton’s Brown broke their hearts with a late penalty.
Fly-half Todd Crofts gave Saltash the lead in the second minute with a penalty before lock Tom Rixon scored a try to make it 10-0.
Former Albion forward Wayne Sprangle, playing at prop, got Tiverton back in the game with a try before Crofts kicked another penalty to make it 13-5.
Visiting scrum-half Adam Howell scored a fine try to pull his side to within a point at the break.
After the interval, Max Venables went over for Saltash, who quickly added another to go 25-12 ahead.
But two Richard Tucker drive tries pulled Tiverton to within a point before Brown’s late winning penalty.
Saltash are still not mathematically down. They are 12 points off safety with three games to go, but those matches are against Okehampton (home and away) and away at leaders Kingsbridge.
TAVISTOCK missed out on a massive chance to try and avoid a second successive relegation by only drawing 14-14 away at fellow strugglers Hayle.
Tavvy went into the match sitting in the final relegation spot, just four points behind Hayle.
They could have leapfrogged above them, with a game in hand, had they claimed a bonus point win but it now means the Sandy Park side have to beat Falmouth at home next week and overcome bottom club Newquay away the following week to stay up.
Luke Northmore scored Tavistock’s only try with Tom Friend kicking three penalties.
Plymouth Argaum boosted their hopes of a top half finish in their first season in the league with a hard-earned 14-12 win at Paignton.
Argaum went into the match sitting in seventh spot, one point above Paignton. They are now four points ahead of their south Devon rivals, although they have played a game more.
The Bickleigh Down team scored two tries in the contest courtesy of Mike Anderson-Smith and fit-again Tom Richards, who converted both.
Paignton’s only points came from penalties.
Plymstock Albion Oaks nearly dampened Bude’s title celebrations at Horsham Fields but the Cornish side eventually triumphed 17-15 thanks to a last-gasp penalty to guarantee top spot.
Oaks were leading 15-14 going into the dying seconds but could not hang on.
However, they should secure a top four finish in their first season in the league.
DEVON ONE AND TWO AND LOCKIE CUP
DEVON One champions Tamar Saracens ended their league season in style with a bonus point 28-7 home victory over North Tawton.
In front of an impressive crowd of around 200, Saracens ran in four tries courtesy of Jack Martin, Marc Cioffi, Aaron Webb and Jamie Havill.
“It was a fantastic day,” said coach Stuart Busfield. “We did not play very well in the first half, but the second half we were at our best against a very good side. It was really good how we finished getting a bonus point win.
Jason Stead stood out in the pack, while Dane Waryck was outstanding in the backs.
“We were just pleased as punch with the whole day,” added Busfield. “We had around 200 people there, which was amazing.”
Meanwhile, St Columba & Torpoint picked up their first points of the season in their final match against fellow relegated side OPMs.
Saints collected two bonus points in a 41-35 try fest at Defiance Field.
In Devon Two, DHSOB beat Plympton Victoria 19-8 at Marsh Mills, while Old Techs booked their place in the Lockie Cup final with a 11-8 home win over Devonport Services II.
Old Techs, who have not won the Lockie Cup since 2000, will meet Peninsula Medical School in the final after they overcome Plymouth Argaum II’s 12-10.