IVYBRIDGE are hoping for a good crowd at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday to watch their Devon derby with Newton Abbot (2.30pm).
The Bridgers are looking to make it five wins out of six at the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
Their only defeat so far came in their last home outing when they were beaten by Camborne in front of a bumper attendance.
Coach Lewis Paterson says his team want make sure they impress this weekend in front of their home support.
“It’s our first Devon derby of the season and I’m sure we’ll get a good crowd,” said Paterson.
“I wouldn’t say we let our support down the last home game, but we just felt it was a poor performance from us.
“We just did not click and you can’t do that against sides like Camborne or against Newton Abbot. We need to be switched on.
“If we get a big crowd again we are going to look to put on a better show. We want the crowd to enjoy watching Ivybridge win.
“We’ve also got a charity event going on with a head shave, leg shave, waxing and stuff, to try and raise a bit of money. So we want to try and get lots of people up.”
The charity Ivybridge are raising money for is the Teenage Cancer Trust in honour of local lad Andy Hughes.
Ivybridge enjoyed their Devon derbies last season, claiming home wins against Exmouth, Brixham and Newton Abbot.
However, they did have to dig deep to beat Newton Abbot at Cross-in-Hand last term, narrowly winning 11-9.
Paterson expects the Devon All Whites to offer another tough test.
Newton Abbot, having narrowly avoided relegation last season, currently sit seventh, with two wins and a draw from their opening five matches. Their only defeats have come away at Lydney and Dings Crusaders.
“It is a big game for us,” said Paterson. “They are just getting back into form. They have been getting some good wins and Devon derbies always bring the best out of teams.
“They have got a very good fly-half and some other good hungry young players in their side, who can cause a lot of damage.
“But we are definitely going out there to win. We want to win all of our Devon derbies.
“And we want to make sure we start this one with a bang.
“It has been a good start to the season and we want to keep maintaining it.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
Services have won their last four matches to move up to fifth in the Western Counties West table – one point and three places behind their student opponents this weekend.
Exeter University suffered their first defeat of the season last Saturday when they went down 22-17 away at Cullompton, who Services had beaten the week before.
Lewis says his side have to take heart from Cullompton’s success.
“It is a tough trip up there, but Cullompton turned them over last week,” said Lewis. “Cullompton might have been at home, but it proves they (Exeter) are beatable and that gives us an added incentive.
“Mentally this is a big test. Everyone knows they are a good side with a plethora of players – hundreds – to select from. They are the team to beat in the league, but because they have been beaten by Cullompton that does lessen the mental barrier.”
Teams in the league might also be helped by the fact that Exeter University have now started their BUCS Super Rugby season. They were beaten 20-11 at Loughborough on Wednesday evening.
Services go into Saturday’s game on the back of their biggest win of the season last weekend. They scored five tries to beat Wellington 31-6.
“It was the first time we have scored a few tries this year, which was good, but we still didn’t play to our full potential, which, in a way, is another positive,” said Lewis.
“We still know there’s a lot more there, but we still beat a good team like Wellington away by a considerable margin.
“The guys are really working well together. We are getting good numbers at training and that really helps.
“This year when someone isn’t available there is someone else to step into their place. That depth has done us well so far, but we are only a few games into the season.”
Services will be without locks Tom Burt and Adrian Montague. Burt has moved to London, while Montague is unavailable for a couple of weeks. Also likely to be missing is back Ben McGowan, who has an injury. However, Services can welcome back Charles Horn, while Alex Lambert is likely to return to the team.
Saturday is the second of three back-to-back away trips for the Services’ first. Next weekend they have to travel to Crediton in the Devon Cup.
DERBY action once again dominates the Cornwall/Devon League fixtures.
This weekend sees Plymstock Albion Oaks entertain Tamar Saracens, while Plymouth Argaum host Tavistock at Bickleigh Down.
Tamar Saracens and Argaum were left frustrated last weekend when their planned derby had to be called off because there was no referee.
They are both keen to take their frustrations out this weekend on fellow Plymouth Combination opponents, but Plymstock Albion Oaks will also be motivated after losing with the last play of the game at Saltash last Saturday.
“This is a big game for us as the following week we have a week off from the league. We need to get things back on track,” said Oaks coach Tim Mathias
“We are three from three at home so it would be nice to make it four from four.
“Hopefully, we can hit the ground running. It was a tough day at the office last Saturday, but we learn from those. Hopefully, we will come back stronger for it.”
Oaks’ opponents Tamar Saracens have not won since the opening day of the season when they beat fellow newly-promoted side Lanner 3-0.
Saracens coach Stuart Busfield said: “We are looking forward to having a game this weekend as we are desperate to play.
“There was nobody as frustrated as our players and coaching staff last week as we were all lined up for that game, but we have to shake that off. We have talked in training about picking ourselves up.”
Sarries had been hoping to use last weekend’s game against Argaum to kick-start their season after three back-to-back defeats.
Although they know it will be a tough game at Horsham Field against the side that finished fourth last term, Busfield says his team have to go their positive.
“We are looking forward to it,” said Busfield. “We know it’s going to be a tough challenge for sure, but Tamar Saracens’ tradition is take a challenge head on.
“We are not going to be as strong as we would have been last week, but we are just looking forward to playing.
“We just want to change the atmosphere around the club. We just need to think more positively.
“If you go into games negatively then you’ll get a negative outcome.”
Saracens are still without the influential Dane Waryck, while they are likely to have a new-look second-row, with Sam Gough pushing for a start.
But Busfield feels his front-row could be key this week, along with in-form scrum-half Tom Rigby.
“We are proud of our front-row,” said Busfield. “This weekend it’s likely to be Jack Martin, Adam Corbett and Barry Sheldon and they all lead from the front.”
Meanwhile, the TV cameras are likely to be at Bickleigh Down on Saturday for Plymouth Argaum’s derby with Tavistock.
World Rugby TV are spending a day in the life of amateur player-of-the-year Nick Hancock (pictured) and so if he is in the first team squad this weekend the cameras will be at Bickleigh Down. If he’s not, then they will follow him with the seconds to Tavistock.
“It should be a good weekend for the club,” said Argaum spokesman Stuart Quarterman. “World Rugby are coming to do a day in the life of Nick Hancock and do a bit on our club as well. Then the following day our minis will play their first ever match. We are taking them and our under-14s to Totnes.”
Quarterman admitted after last week’s frustration, Argaum are just looking forward to playing and trying to secure their second win of the season.
Argaum have beaten Withycombe this season but have suffered narrow defeats to Pirates Amateurs, Plymstock Albion Oaks and Saltash.
Argaum beat Tavistock twice last year but they expect their visitors to be much tougher opponents this time after claiming three wins from their opening five matches.
“We are expecting a tough game,” said Quarterman. “We’ve not played for a couple of weeks and we expecting more than last year from Tavistock. By all accounts they are a lot more organised.”
Argaum have a couple of injuries that they are waiting on.
Tavistock go into the match on the back of a stunning 38-19 win over Pirates Amateurs.
They want to continue that form at Argaum and put in a performance in memory of their secretary Peter Garland, who sadly died in a farming accident on Wednesday.
“He was a true gent and stalwart to the club,” said coach Hammy Kerswill. “Across all clubs/sports I’ve been involved with I don’t think I’ve ever met a truer clubman.
“All teams across the club are gunning to put in a performance this weekend for Pete. He will be irreplaceable.”
Tavistock will give captain Andrew Schuttkacker a late fitness test, but they are able to welcome back Josh O’Neill from injury and Josh Langton.
Kerswill added: “We’re very much looking forward to the game.
“If we can get the start we had last week I think it should be an excellent game.”
Tavistock: Aidan Mason, Andrew Smerdon, Ben Hadfield, Doug Lloyd, Andrew Craddock, Mark Webber, Jack Thomas Glover, Adrian Baker, Kyle Maslen, Joe Hair, James Bruna, Dan Clark, Ryan Bragg, Andrew Schuttkacker (capt), Mark Friend. Reps: Carl Parsons, Josh Langton, Josh O’Neill.
SALTASH coach Nick Skinnard is expecting another close game when his side host Withycombe at Moorlands Lane.
The Ashes pulled off a sensational comeback last weekend, coming from 21-0 down to beat Oaks 25-21 with three tries in the final seven minutes.
That was Saltash’s third win in five matches, but all of their games this season have been tight and could have gone either way.
“Everyone is this league is pretty competent and capable, so every game is a challenge,” said Skinnard.
Withycombe finished third last season but have been beaten twice this season – at Plymouth Combination clubs Plymstock Albion Oaks and Argaum.
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OPMs, Plympton Victoria and DHSOB will only have pride to play for this weekend in the final round of group matches in the David Butt Trophy.
OPMs travel to winless Salcombe, knowing the best they can do is finish second in Group C, while second and third-placed DHSOB and Plym Vic meet at Stonehouse Creek in Group D.
Old Techs have already qualified as leaders of Group D. They will play Totnes next weekend in the semi-finals.
For the other teams this weekend is all about continuing their preparations for the start of the Devon Two season on November 5.
Plym Vic, though, would love to gain revenge for their tough 52-39 defeat at the hands of DHSOB three weeks ago.
“I said to the team ‘how do you score 39 points and lose the game?,” said Plym Vic coach Howell Phillips.
“Our big problem is player availability.
“Hopefully, we can get something out of Saturday’s game. If we can get all the lads who play for us out on the same day then I think we could do something.
“Our forwards have been going quite well, it’s just a case of trying to put a few things together with the backs.”
South West rugby fixtures can be found HERE