IVYBRIDGE suffered their first defeat of the season when they were beaten 41-24 by Camborne at Cross-in-Hand.
The loss sees Ivybridge, who went into the match as early season leaders, drop down to third in the standings, behind Old Redcliffians and Camborne.
The Bridgers paid for a disappointing opening 20 minutes when they found themselves 24-0 down to a fired up Camborne side, who were captain by former Plymouth Albion star Sam Matavesi.
The home team did get back into the game and nearly snatched a bonus point at the end but could not get a fourth try their late pressure deserved.
“Full credit to Camborne they are a good side and are coming into the league with a lot of momentum from last season,” said Ivybridge player-coach Lewis Paterson.
“We were in a similar position last season coming up and pulling off big wins against good sides.
“We didn’t panic, but we just didn’t have enough oomph to get back into it.
“But these things happen. We are a young team. They (Camborne) were a good side and were really well drilled and came at us very, very quickly and managed to get some points out of it. We didn’t absorb that pressure and put some good defence in.”
He added: “Some things did not go our way, like the charge down (try), but that happens sometimes. There is a bit of luck in it but there are little things that can prevent that from happening.
“We just have to go back, learn and try and capitalise on next week. We can’t dwell, if we do that it will have a knock-on effect.”
On narrowly missing out on a bonus point at the end, Paterson said: “From the side’s perspective it would have been frustrating, but as a coach I’m just happy the boys showed character to come back into the game and had something to fight for.”
Camborne made a blistering start and took the lead after 90 seconds when centre Jack Simmons showed his pace to score in the left corner, which David Mankee converted.
Five minutes later they scored again when Ben Kemp got the ball down from a drive try after a catch-and-drive move from a penalty.
The prolific Mankee converted and he added a penalty three minutes later to put Camborne 17-0 and well in control.
Ivybridge were shell-shocked and even failed to find touch with a penalty that would have finally have got them out of their half on 13 minutes.
It got worse for them when Tommy Lee Southworth added a third try on 19 minutes from more good forward work from the visitors, who were enjoying a half where everything was going in their favour. Mankee again added the extras.
Ivybridge then slowly started to get into the game. Billy Pinkus missed with a long-range penalty on 22 minutes before the hosts did get on the scoreboard with an impressive try by young winger Damon Akerman after a line-out move. Pinkus converted to make the score 24-7.
But the home side shot themselves in the foot from the restart with Joel Matavesi charging down a clearing kick with his foot (pictured) and picking up the ball to score a fourth Camborne try in the right corner, which scrum-half Mankee converted.
Ivybridge did have the last word of a tough half when Pinkus kicked a penalty to make the score at the interval 31-10 to Camborne.
The home side came out well and came close to scoring but got turned over right on the line.
Ivybridge really needed the next score but it went to Camborne with Sam Matavesi scoring after some good support play. Mankee, who just could not miss, added the extras.
But after that Ivybridge dominated possession and territory. They were awarded a penalty try on 66 minutes, which Pinkus converted, and then, after Sam Matavesi had been sin-binned, Justin Rogers forced his way under the posts for another converted try to make the score 38-24.
A penalty from Mankee put the game beyond doubt but Ivybridge went looking for a try-scoring bonus point. They had two five-metre line-outs but just could not force their way over.
They must pick themselves up now for the long trip to Bromsgrove next Saturday.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services made it three wins in a row by overcoming previously unbeaten Cullompton 18-15 at the Rectory on Saturday.
The victory has moved Services up to fifth in the Western Counties West table.
Their success came despite losing three players in the opening 30 minutes due to injury.
First to go was prop Sean Dunn, then flanker Jack Norris, who broke his leg, before young centre Toby Knowles was forced off after taking a big hit.
The injury to promising forward Norris was particularly disappointing.
“Last season he had some bad head injuries and had just come back and was looking good,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
Cullompton, who had won their opening three matches, took the lead at the Rectory with an unconverted try but Services hit back when Ben McGowan went over for a try, which Matt Anstis converted.
The visitors kicked a penalty to go 8-7 up, which was how it stayed until half-time.
However, straight after the interval, Anstis kicked a penalty to nudge Services back in front at 10-8.
Then Alex Lambert, who had come on for Knowles, produced a great break from halfway. Although he was tackled, he was able to pop the ball up into the hands of Phil Greenside, who went over for his second try in two games.
That made it 15-8 and then Anstis sliced a drop-goal that might not have been the prettiest strike, but it found its way through the uprights to put his side 10 points up.
Cullompton hit back straight away with a converted try through Adam Pearce and then Services whose scrum and attacking play were better than in recent weeks, had to really dig deep in defence to seal the win.
Devonport Services’ seconds also beat Cullompton. They triumphed 28-22 away, with Rocky Young, making his comeback, scoring two tries.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks once again came from behind to continue their unbeaten run at Horsham Fields.
Oaks beat last year’s third-placed finishers Withycombe 19-14 on Saturday in the Cornwall/Devon League to move up to fourth in the table.
However, they found themselves 14-0 down after 15 minutes. The previous week at the same venue they had trailed neighbours Plymouth Argaum 14-3 before winning 26-21.
“It was another nail-biter,” admitted Oaks coach Tim Mathias. “At the end we were on our line. That’s three times we’ve had to do that at home this season, but, once again, our defence was very good.”
Mathias added: “I will definitely take the win with the way we played.
“We were 14-0 down inside 15 minutes, it was just like last week against Argaum, before we decided to play a bit of rugby.
“It is a sign of a good team that they can play badly in parts but still win, so that’s pleasing, but it was another frustrating week as we had trained really well but did not put into practice in the match.
“It’s just the execution that’s letting us down. We could have had two or three more tries. But you’d take any win against Withycombe any day of the week.”
Oaks scored three tries, one from David Bing and two pushover tries from the pack, with Richard West converting two of them.
Next weekend, Oaks travel to Saltash, who now sit just one point behind them in fifth after beating Plymouth Argaum 17-7 at Bickleigh Down on Saturday.
Saltash, though, had to dig deep to pick up four points in their first competitive meeting against Argaum in 15 years.
The home team took the lead with a try by centre John Foulston, which Jamie Fellows converted.
Argaum had the better of the first half but could not add to their points and Saltash went in at the break 10-7 in front with Nick Blake scoring a converted try and then adding a penalty.
Saltash, who were in Western Counties West last season, defended well before getting a grip of the game.
The derby match was sealed by a converted try by Tom Rixon.
Meanwhile, there was no joy for Tamar Saracens and Tavistock in Cornwall.
An understrength Tamar Saracens side were beaten 50-0 by third-placed Pirates Amateurs, while Tavistock also drew a blank, losing 39-0 at fellow much-fancied Duchy side Penryn.
Tamar Saracens coach Stuart Busfield was unhappy that they had so many players drop out of the long trip to Penzance, where they faced a home side that included former Albion and Wales Sevens international Rhodri McAtee.
However, he was full of praise for the players that did take to the field at Mennaye Field, but says the club will be holding a meeting this week to talk to the squad about they need more commitment now they are in the Cornwall/Devon League.
“Until 10am we were still unsure whether we were going to have a team,” said Busfield. “But some real clubmen travelled down.
“The guys who did play were a bit overawed by the venue at the start – a lot had never played anywhere like that – but we had a talk at half-time and second half we played really well. The tries the Pirates scored second half were just top-class tries.”
He added: “We were well represented by supporters. I think we had 20-plus supporters make the trip, but why couldn’t half the team travel?”
“It was a wake-up call for Tamar Saracens, but there were still a lot of positives from a bad day.
“Our man of the match was Frazer Tatchell, who joined us from DHSOB in the summer. He was playing in Devon Two last season but was playing against an opposite number who’s played in the Championship.
“A special mention also has to go to Sam Gough, who came in at the last minute after just coming off his holiday. Marc Coiffi turned out for us late on as well.
“Sam Gough has only played six senior games of rugby and it was his first run out for the first team. It would have been nice to have come in better circumstances but he made a great try-saving tackle, which was all about courage and heart.
“Dave Chorley played his first game since dislocating his shoulder last year, while Ian Nicol had not played for the first team for two year but came on and steadied the scrum.”
Tom Rigby also impressed as usual at scrum-half for Saracens, who face Plymouth Argaum next weekend.
Tavistock’s defeat at Penryn has dropped them down to eighth in the table. Next weekend they host the Pirates Amateurs at Sandy Park.
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OPMs look set to miss out on progressing to the knockout stages of the David Butt Trophy after narrowly losing 14-7 at home to Devon One side Totnes.
The Old Boys had previously lost 5-3 away to Totnes, who top Group C with just two games left to go.
“It was a very close game,” said OPMs coach Howard Turner. “They are in a higher league but it was a fantastic performance from all the players.
“We were 7-0 up and we should have scored another three or four tries. After half-time they had a good 10 minute spell where they scored two tries, but then we hammered their try line for the last 20 minutes.”
Martin Skelley scored OPMs’ only try. The only way they can progress now is if Totnes lose their final two matches to Salcombe and Dartmouth and OPMs beat the same two teams for a second time, having already overcome them in the second and third weeks of the competition.
Even if they don’t progress, Turner feels his team have benefitted from the new competition.
“We have played really well in all our games,” he said. “We have won our other games but just lost by a single score twice to Totnes, who are in a higher league, but we could have won both those games as well.
“We are using this as a stepping stone for the league.”
OLD Techs will be in the semi-finals after a last-gasp Billy Evans penalty secured them an 11-10 win over DHSOB at Weston Mill.
It had looked like DHSOB might produce the turnaround of all time, having lost 105-15 to Old Techs just three weeks early, but they just could not hang on for a famous victory.
Lopeti Faha, playing on the wing as he tries to regain his fitness, and Shawn Nucunabita had scored first half tries to put DHSOB 10-8 at half-time.
Faha nearly scored again late in the second half, but Old Techs did well to stop him and then managed to get up the other end and score their winning penalty.
“It would have been so nice to have won,” said DHSOB’s director of rugby Mike Freeman. “But on the run of the play they probably deserved to nick it, although it was absolutely gutting.
“We did have to defend a lot second half, but the big thing for us was that we had 22 players and we took the game to them.
“Old Techs are well organised in the scrums and line-outs and we struggled in that department. We just did not get enough clean ball.
“It was gutting, but on reflection we can’t have any complaints. We need to do a bit more work on our front five with their scrum, line-out and loose work.
“It was at their place and they had their VP day, so it would have been fantastic if we could have won, but, like I said, I was happy to get a decent team on the park and have five or six replacements.”