IVYBRIDGE coach Lewis Paterson has described Saturday’s National Three South West clash with Camborne at Cross-in-Hand as ‘huge’ (2.30pm).
The teams sit first and second in the table after winning their opening three matches.
Ivybridge proudly lie top after picking up 14 out of a maximum 15 points from their games against Launceston, Salisbury and Hornets.
Newly-promoted Camborne, who can included former Albion star Sam Matavesi in their squad, lie just a point behind having overcome Hornets, Dings Crusaders and Cleve.
“It is going to be a huge game,” said Paterson. “It is a top-of-the-table clash.
“We are really focused on playing Camborne at our place.
“They are a very, very good side. We know a bit about them, but they are travelling up to us and we have to capitalise on that.
“I’m sure they will bring good support, but it’s on our paddock and we are in-form having picked up 14 points from 15.”
Ivybridge have so far shown good strength in depth, covering for injuries and unavailabilities.
Devon second-row Dom Loomes remains on the sidelines after tearing his hamstring and damaging hip muscles in the first 30 minutes of Ivybridge’s win over Salisbury in the second match of the campaign.
“We still don’t know how long he’ll be out,” said Paterson. “It is quite a serious injury, but we just need to look Dom.
“The positive news, though, is Jordan Anderton is easing back into training and we have got good depth in places.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services will be looking to claim a third straight victory when they host unbeaten Cullompton at the Rectory on Saturday in Western Counties West.
Services have dug deep to beat Crediton and St Ives in their last two matches. Their only defeat so far was on the opening day when they lost 22-19 at Bude after giving away a last-gasp penalty.
Cullompton have also beaten Crediton and St Ives, with their other win coming at Wellington last weekend.
Joint Services coach Mike Lewis believes it is too early yet to make judgements on teams.
“It usually takes 10 games to see who are the in-form teams,” said Lewis.
“At the moment we are going into every weekend quite blind.
“We have talked to other teams and players, but we just have to focus on ourselves.”
Lewis has been really pleased with the spirit Services have shown to dig out wins over Crediton and St Ives in their last two matches.
“Last week our defence was fantastic,” said Lewis. “We did really well. There were plenty of times where we could have lost structure or thrown the towel in, but our character really showed, especially in the last 15 minutes when we had Tom Burt in the bin.”
Lewis says the team are looking forward to playing at the Rectory again.
“We have only played one home game so far, so it’s nice to get back home and the pitch is fantastic.”
Services will be without the influential forward Burt, who is preparing to move to London.
“He is going to be solely missed,” said Lewis. “But we have got Alex Lambert coming back from a quad injury and Alex Percival, Aaron Webb and Sam Bennett are also available this week after missing last Saturday, so we have got a few selection dilemmas.”
He added: “We have got such a young side but every week they are developing.
“If we can keep the ball a bit longer in a game and sharpen up in the scrum then I will be happy, providing we compliment that we what we have been doing in the last few weeks.
“It would just be nice to have a bit more attack and less defence.”
PLYMOUTH Argaum face the second of four consecutive derby matches in the Cornwall/Devon League on Saturday when they host Saltash at Bickleigh Down.
Argaum suffered frustrated last weekend in their first derby game of the campaign, narrowly losing 26-21 at Plymstock Albion Oaks after been 14-3 up at Horsham Fields.
It was their second one-score defeat of the season, having lost 6-0 to Pirates on the opening day. However, they did beat Withycombe at home in their last match at Bickleigh Down.
Saltash, relegated from Western Counties West last season, also have one win and two narrow defeats to their name this season.
They beat Pirates Amateurs last weekend after previously slipping to defeats to Penryn and Paignton.
Argaum coach Gordon ‘Taff’ Howells is certainly hoping his team can put their narrow defeat to Oaks behind them.
“We’ve got Saltash, which is another derby match,” said Howells. “It is going to be hard, but they are all hard as there’s some good teams in this league.
“But, hopefully, we can bounce back and get a ‘W’.”
Plymstock Albion Oaks are back at home again on Saturday when they host last season’s third-placed finishers Withycombe.
“We are at home again,” said coach Tim Mathias. “Playing Withycombe is going to be a challenge. We had them first up last year and we lost but got a great win up there.”
Mathias added: “Already this league looks wide open – wider than it’s been for a long time. Last year it was always going to be Bude, St Ives and Withycombe, but this year it is wide open.
“It is a big week for us. We need to send a message out to the league that we can produce an 80 minute performance, although I’d take 60 at the moment! But we are getting there.”
Life in the Cornwall/Devon League does not get any easier for Tamar Saracens, who make the long trip to Pirates Amateurs on Saturday.
The Pirates are traditionally good on their own pitch and beat Oaks 45-19 in their last match at Mennaye Field.
Saracens beat fellow newcomers Lanner 3-0 on the opening day of the season, but have since lost to early pacesetters Paignton and Penryn.
Coach Stuart Busfield, however, was encouraged by his side’s performance, especially first half, in their 27-5 defeat to Penryn last week.
All Penryn’s points came in the second period as their fitness told.
Tavistock also have a tough trip down to Cornwall this weekend. They visit second-placed Penryn.
Tavvy are hoping to bounce back from their first defeat of the campaign. They lost 19-5 at home to early leaders Paignton.
They are able to welcome back Mark Webber at fly-half and Aide Baker to the front-row. They are also set to include new full-back signing Alec Hampden-Smith on the bench.
Coach Hammy Kerswill says his team have not allowed last weekend’s defeat to dampen their spirits.
“Despite injury, we’ve had another good training week,” said Kerswill. “It’s nice to see the boys continuing to enjoy their rugby.
“Penryn’s a nice place to play and after reading their preview to the game, it’s good to see another club looking to build a whole club ethos.
“We must start well. If we can focus from the off, it should be a cracker, but in their own back yard they will not roll over lightly.”
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OLD Techs could seal their place in the semi-finals of the David Butt Trophy if they beat DHSOB at Weston Mill on Saturday.
Techs are unbeaten so far in the competition and top Group D after big wins over DHSOB and Plympton Victoria and a walkover against St Columba & Torpoint.
If they were to claim the double over DHSOB then they would not be able to be caught at the top of the pool.
They did beat Devonport 105-15 in the first game of the competition, but their opponents only had 11 players and they are determined to give Old Techs more of a game this weekend.
DHSOB were able to welcome back most of their Fijian players last weekend as they beat Plym Vic 52-39 in a thriller at Marsh Mills.
“One thing is certain we will have a team this week. It won’t be 15 v 11,” said DHSOB’s director of rugby Mike Freeman.
“If we are anywhere near full strength then we should be able to give them a good game. It should certainly be a better match than three weeks ago.”
Freeman knows if they have their first choice backs available they can be dangerous, like they showed last weekend against Plym Vic.
“Plym Vic were very strong and any normal weekend they would have won that game,” said Freeman. “But we had a back division full of Fijians.
“If our forwards can get some parity then we can be very dangerous.”
OPMs could also take a giant step towards progressing to the knockout stages of the cup if they can beat Devon One side Totnes at King George V Playing Fields.
Totnes narrowly beat then 5-3 away in the opening match of the competition, but OPMs have since claimed wins over Dartmouth and Salcombe.
“We are really keen for this game, having lost 5-3 away to them in horrible weather,” said OPMs coach Howard Turner. “We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Turner returned as OPMs coach in the summer following their relegation to Devon Two.
“It is nice to be back for my third stint as coach,” said Turner. “It has been a difficult couple of seasons for the club, but there is a really good buzz around at the moment. We’ve been getting 30-plus players at training.”
South West rugby fixtures are available HERE