IVYBRIDGE coach Lewis Paterson was encouraged by what he saw from his squad on Thursday night when they hosted a 10s tournament at Cross-in-Hand.
The National Three South West club entered two teams, with their league rivals Newton Abbot also fielding two and newly-promoted South West One outfit Kingsbridge bringing one side along.
Ivybridge’s 38-man squad was split into ‘Potentials’ and ‘Possibles’, with both teams only losing one match.
The Possibles were narrowly beaten by a last-gasp try by their Ivybridge colleagues in the inter-club game, while the Potentials looked like they may remain undefeated until slipping to a 21-17 loss in the final match against Newton Abbot.
“It was good to kick-start pre-season with a successful 10s tournament. We had a great crowd of people come up and watch,” said player-coach Paterson.
“I think if you had put it into a tournament format we would have won on points, but for us it was not about winning or losing, it was just about getting the fundamentals right that we have been working on in pre-season.
“But to see both sides do so well was brilliant. The depth is there now. That was a massive thing that we wanted after last season. We want plenty of depth of quality players.
“It was a fantastic start for us in terms of building for the (15-a-side) games. There are going to be some headaches when it comes to selecting players.”
He added: “We have brought Ryan Dingle in and he’s been doing well in pre-season. Jamie Tripcony has come in and done a fantastic job as one of the coaches. The boys are responding really well to him. It’s also good to get him playing as well.
“Callum Cload from Saltash played on Thursday and he did well and we had some impressive colts out there.
“Sam Brown, who is on Exeter Chiefs’ books, is only 17 but scored two great tries in the last game. He’s a very good player. He’s still got lots to learn, but I was really impressed with him and Sam Lilly, a young winger playing for the Possibles. He looked really sharp.
“It’s good to see colts who have been training with us not finding the step up too difficult and showing they are not too far off adult rugby.
“But it was just nice to get out there and play some competitive rugby and have other local clubs come down and support us. It was brilliant to have Newton Abbot and Kingsbridge over.
“We will be doing it again next year and maybe have two pitches going.”
Ivybridge will start their 15-a-side pre-season campaign on August 6 when they host Plymouth Fiji at Cross-in-Hand.
“We are going have a tag rugby festival in the morning, which will be mixed ability and ages, and then play the Fijians in the afternoon. We want to make it a fun day and get a good crowd up at the club,” said Paterson.