IVYBRIDGE have moved to the top of National Three South West after claiming an impressive 29-15 bonus point win away at Launceston on Saturday.
The victory was Ivybridge’s third straight success of the new season and sets them up perfectly for next week’s big match with fellow unbeaten side Camborne at Cross-in-Hand.
“It is only three games into the season but we are at the top of the table, which is something we never done before, so we have to enjoy it,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson.
Paterson and fellow coach Jamie Tripcony had particular reason to enjoy Saturday’s win at Polson Bridge, having previously played for Launceston.
Paterson marked the occasion by scoring Ivybridge’s fourth try to secure a bonus point.
“It was nice on a personal level to get the win, but for the side it was fantastic,” said Paterson.
“It was always going to tough. Launceston at home are a very, very tough side.
“They raised their game. They have got a young side and they played with a lot of heart and spirit and they really put their bodies on the line.”
The game was quite feisty and scrappy, with host of yellow cards and penalties. At one point in the second half Ivybridge had three players in the sin-bin, including Tripcony.
“We were ill-disciplined and we have got to improve on that,” said Paterson. “Launceston are a very emotional side and they had a real hunger to win and we got sucked into their game.
“At one point we were down to 11 players as we had three in the sin-bin and one down injured.
“But when we were down to 12 men we actually scored. That showed character.”
Billy Pinkus scored Ivybridge’s only try in the first half as they led 10-3 at the break.
But after the interval they added three more tries, with prop Nathan Reeves putting in James Sloan to score, then Ivybridge got a penalty try after some good work by their pack before Paterson crossed in the corner.
“We came out after half-time and got down the paddock and scored a quick try,” said Paterson. “That was massive for us and was the turning point in the game.”
He added: “The boys went there looking for the win and they got it. There are areas to improve, but the boys are really on a high at the moment and it’s really positive to see.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services made it two wins out of three with a hard-earned 14-5 victory away at Crediton.
For the second week running, Services were grateful to their defence against a Crediton side keen to impress in their first home match.
Crediton, who are still looking for their first win of the season, dominated possession but only once managed to break Services down.
“It was a very tough game,” said Devonport team manager Kieran Leach. “We defended for about 60 minutes.
“Our defence was awesome in the second half.”
Services, who handed a debut to Charles Horn at prop, particularly had to dig deep in the final minutes after Tom Burt was sin-binned.
A Phil Greenside try, converted by Matt Anstis, put Services ahead.
Anstis then scored a try of his own, which he converted.
The win has moved Devonport up to seventh in the early season standings. Next weekend they will host unbeaten Cullompton at the Rectory.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks took the honours in a hard-fought derby match with Plymouth Argaum at Horsham Fields on Saturday.
Oaks were forced to come back from 14-3 down and then survive a frantic final few minutes before running out 26-21 winners.
“I don’t like that the last two homes games we have been on our line defending for our lives to keep hold of the victory,” said Oaks coach Tim Mathias
“But it shows the commitment and the spirit in the team that we didn’t actually look too uncomfortable doing it.
“There were periods in the first half where we defended for long periods of the game but I thought our discipline was fantastic for a derby game. I think we only gave away two penalties in the first half. We probably gave away more in the last five minutes than in the whole game.
“I was pleased with the lads in that respect, but I just thought our execution let us down. I don’t know if the derby occasion got the better of a few of our players. When we did execute we looked really sharp, but when we didn’t we let them back into the game.
“We were 14-3 down but that’s the nature of this team – you never know what is going to turn up, which is a bit frustrating for me – but I know it is in there and I’m happy it did come out.
“Last year if we had gone 14-3 down to Argaum we would have lost, but I think that’s the difference this year. We’ve had new players come in who offer something different and players know places are up for grabs.”
He added: “Our body language first half was not right, but it just changed second half. When we got penalties, turnovers or scores everyone was up and high-fiving.”
Oaks were grateful to the goalkicking of player-coach Richard West on Saturday. He was key to their success with 16 points from the kicking tee.
“It’s great to have a 10 that can keep the scoreboard ticking over,” said Mathias. “That was one of his best kicking performances since he’s been here.”
Argaum coach Gordon ‘Taff’ Howells was frustrated his team did not build on their 14-3 advantage.
“The first half we were outstanding, but second half we just switched off a little bit and allowed them back in it,” said Howells.
“The last 15 minutes, though, we dominated again and it came down to the last play.”
Howells was a bit frustrated at some of the decisions that went against his team, but said: “At the end of the day the ref is always right and we just have to come back next week against Saltash and, hopefully, play just as good.
“As soon as we scored that try in the last 15 minutes Oaks did not come into our half. It was just that passion and fire that we didn’t have in the first 25 minutes of the second half.”
Oaks took the lead in the 10th minute with a West penalty, but Argaum hit back almost straight away with the impressive Troy Gobey running in to the right of the posts for a try, which Ali Murray converted.
Plymstock looked like they were going to score in the 16th minute but knocked on with the try line just five metres away and Argaum made them pay minutes later.
The visitors produced a great speedy, counterattack move which finished with John Ireland touching down and Dave Hall converting.
Oaks struggled to find the final ball but they finally did in the last minute of the first half when Corey Jamieson crossed and West converted to pull them to within four points at the interval.
The home team came out in determined mood after the break. They had a chance to score before West pulled them to within one point with a penalty on 49 minutes.
Argaum were giving away too many penalties, which resulted in them being reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes. It was from a penalty on 52 minutes that Oaks scored their second try. Plymstock quickly tapped the penalty and former Argaum player Tom Richards dived over. West converted to make it 20-14.
West, having a great day with the boot, kicked two more penalties to give Oaks a 26-14 lead.
But six minutes from time, Gobey scored a great second try, which Murray converted, to set up a thrilling final few minutes.
Argaum won penalty after penalty in the dying seconds but just could not find a way over the line to secure a draw or a victory. (Gallery of this game is available below).
Argaum did get revenge in the Lockie Cup, with their second team beating Oaks’ second string 24-6 at Bickleigh Down.
TAMAR Saracens suffered their first home defeat in two-and-a-half years when they were beaten 27-5 by high-flying Penryn.
However, coach Stuart Busfield was much happier with his side’s display than in their opening two matches of the season.
He felt it was just fitness that told in the end with all the points coming in the second half.
“I’m really upbeat, despite the scoreline,” said Busfield.
“The first half was Tamar Saracens at their best. The half finished 0-0, but we played out of our skin. We came close twice and defensively we were really with it.
“We were just beaten by a fitter side. I think we deserved a bit more, but the message we will take from it is that if you take on the top sides in this league you have to be fit.
“But from that first 40 minutes I’m 100 per cent certain than we can do a job against any team. Our focus going forward, though, just has to be on fitness.
“Penryn are a very good side, but I was proud that our guys stepped up to the mark technically.”
Busfield added: “The first half was best 40 minutes of rugby I’ve seen. It was a real Battle of the Titans. Both teams were playing really good rugby.”
Tom Siggery scored Tamar Saracens’ only try, which came on 60 minutes after Penryn had scored three quick touchdowns in succession.
Saracens had a good spell after scoring but Penryn secured the bonus point with the last play of the game.
TAVISTOCK suffered their first defeat of the season when they lost 19-5 to unbeaten Paignton at Sandy Park.
Tavvy paid the price for a slow start in front of their home crowd, going down 14-0 after just 15 minutes.
“We were flat to start and after being 14-0 down after 15 minutes we had a mountain to climb,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill.
“But the boys dug deep in the middle period and Doug Lloyd was particularly impressive defensively in midfield.
“We felt we were hard done by at scrum time but it wouldn’t have changed the result.
“The fact that the boys were so disappointed shows they want to carry on their good starting form.
“As soon as we get some consistency with injuries and selection I think we’ll be a difficult team to beat.
“But I think Paignton will most definitely be up there come Christmas.”
Andy Smerdon scored Tavistock’s only try of the game.
SALTASH are finally off the mark in the Cornwall/Devon League after they beat previously unbeaten Pirates Amateurs 32-26 at Moorlands Lane.
The Pirates took an early 6-0 lead with penalties from Dan McGee, but Saltash hit back with a try by number eight Lewys Wells, which was converted by Nick Blake.
The visitors, though, turned up the pace and went 16-7 up with a penalty and a Steve Evans converted try.
However, the game turned with two quick Saltash tries just before the break scored by full-back Ryan Cruickshanks and prop Ryan Rayner, which put the home side 21-16 in front.
They increased that to 24-16 after the break with a penalty in the 47th minute, but then there was not another score until the 71st minute when Kieran Down crossed the whitewash to increase Ashes’ lead further.
Yet the game was not finished and Pirates pulled it back to 29-23 with a converted try by Tony Matthews before Blake and McGee traded penalties.
Saltash, though, hung on and also achieved a rare feat, with Rob Eastwell featuring in a league match alongside his two sons, Phil and Greg.
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OPMs have put themselves in a great position at the halfway point in Group C of the David Butt Memorial Trophy.
The Old Boys’ 19-5 victory over Salcombe at King George V Playing Fields was their second in three matches.
Their only defeat so far was a 5-3 reverse at Devon One side Totnes, who still have to visit Elburton.
Oaks coach Howard Turner was really pleased with the performance of his side after they claimed their second successive victory.
“It was very positive performance,” said Turner, in his third spell as coach at the club. “Our first and second teams both won, which is the first time that’s happened in a while. We’ve also not won two games on a trot for a while.”
He added: “We were very dominant first half. We went 19-0 up, but I think we should have scored another two or three.
“The second half was 0-0. They slowed the game up and we got dragged into it.”
OPMs’ tries came from Matt Thompson, Chris Harmer and Rhys Phillips.
In Group D, DHSOB were back to full strength as they beat Plympton Victoria 52-39 in a thriller at Marsh Mills.
Plym Vic, who had been 14 points up early in the game, gave themselves hope of snatching the game at the end when they scored to close the gap to 45-39 with minutes to play.
But from the restart they went looking for a winning try and lost the ball in their own half and DHSOB scored to secure the match.
Plym Vic coach Howell Phillips said: “It was an all-action game.
“But I said to the boys, ‘how do you score 39 points and not win?’
“They (DHSOB) had their Fijians back and they just played their natural game.
“It was a game we could have won, but the ball they took off us they used. We should not have given them opportunities. We destroyed them at the scrum and had so many other things going in our favour, but didn’t win.
“We are on a learning curve and we played some good rugby, but we just need to improve our tackling.”