IVYBRIDGE coach Lewis Paterson praised his team after they came back from 20-9 down to beat Newton Abbot 28-23 at Cross-in-Hand in National Three South West on Saturday.
The Bridgers scored two tries in the dying minutes to seal their fifth win of the season, which keeps them in third place in the table behind Camborne and Old Redcliffians.
Paterson was influential in the comeback, scoring Ivybridge’s second-to-last try and then making the match-winning one for scrum-half Ben Watts.
He said: “It was brilliant character and effort from the lads to produce a fightback like that.
“It shows the maturity of the team that they didn’t give up and that they had confidence in our fitness and belief in our running game.”
He added: “It was an up and down game, but full credit to Newton. Straight after half-time they got two, good quick scores and then we were on the back foot at 20-9 down.
“But our fitness definitely prevailed and we managed to seal the win.
“It was a game we started very well. I felt we were in control of the first half. We went in 9-8 up but we were definitely in control but the scoreboard did not reflect that.
“But Newton then came out firing as you would expect in a Devon derby. They will probably feel robbed and rightly so. If I was 20-9 points up with 20 minutes to go and then lost the game I would be fuming.
“I was really impressed that our boys managed to do that. We’ll definitely take a victory. We said we wanted to put on a show for the crowd after the Camborne game at home and we did that.”
Billy Pinkus kicked all Ivybridge’s points in the first half, with Kyle Browne scoring a try and Rob Avery-Wright a penalty for Newton Abbot.
Browne scored a second after the interval, with fellow back Jack Bond immediately going over for another try for the visitors to put them in command.
Ivybridge’s man-of-the-match Ryan Dingle, playing at flanker, got the home side back into the game with his first league try for the club.
Avery-Wright added another penalty to put Newton Abbot 23-14 up before Ivybridge’s late show.
Paterson reduced the deficit with a try after a good run and off-load by Billy Pinkus, whose younger brother Mitch also featured on Saturday.
And straight from the restart, Ivybridge scored their winner when Paterson ran nearly the length of the pitch before exchanging passing with Hayden Coles before then getting the ball to Watts.
Ivybridge now have a week off before heading to second-placed Old Redcliffians on October 22.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services are up to second in Western Counties West after a stunning 35-20 bonus point win away at Exeter University.
That was Services’ fifth victory in a row. Their only defeat so far this term was on the opening day when they narrowly lost 22-19 away at Bude to a last-gasp penalty.
However, Saturday’s win was their best yet, beating one of the pre-season favourites.
“It was a superb day,” said Services’ team manager Kieran Leach. “We were all over the moon. It was a tremendous effort by everyone.
“It was a really good all-round performance. Our attacking was good and our defence and discipline were again outstanding.
“It is probably the best we have played this season.”
Services had paid for slow starts on their last two trips to Exeter University and were determined not to make the same mistake this year.
And they got the perfect start with Matt Anstis kicking a penalty in the opening minute before Andy Pond scored a try from a line-out, which Anstis converted.
Anstis then added another penalty to put Services 13-0 up.
The visitors then paid for messing up a line-out, with the students scoring in the corner to cut the gap to eight points.
But Devonport responded to that set back by scoring a second try from their own line. Youngster Toby Knowles made the decisive break before prop Joe Daley won a one-on-one with Exeter’s winger to score and make it 18-5.
Exeter University got a lifeline just before the interval with a second try. They then added a third with some more quick passing after the break to make it 18-15.
But Services did not panic. A great tackle by Alex Lambert caused Exeter to drop the ball when attacking and Luke Stannard picked up. Stannard exchanged passes with Phil Greenside before going over for Devonport’s third.
The visitors had to soak up a lot of pressure, but then increased their lead with an Anstis penalty after Knowles intercepted an Exeter pass and nearly made it to the try line.
That made it 28-15, but the students cut that to eight before prop Daley added his second after peeling off a maul.
PLYMOUTH Argaum returned to winning ways with a 26-5 victory over local rivals Tavistock in front of the Rugby World TV cameras at Bickleigh Down on Saturday.
Argaum did the damage in the first half, going 19-0 up after 27 minutes thanks to two turnover tries within nine minutes by backs John Fulton and Dave Hall and a well-worked one from close range by Ryan Chivers.
Tavistock had a lot of pressure at the end of the first half, which resulted in Argaum being reduced to 14 players for 10 minutes, but they could not turn it into points.
While Argaum were down to 14 men they brought on national amateur player of the year Nick Hancock, who Rugby World TV were following for a documentary to be shown on Sky Sports and their Internet channel later this month.
The home side, who dominated the set piece, made sure of the match 10 minutes after the break when John Ireland did brilliantly down the left wing to beat three players before running in under the posts for an easy conversion for Ali Murray.
The game lost its way slightly after that. Both sides wasted great chances within five minutes midway through the half.
Tavistock, whose line-out let down on the day, thought they had scored in the 80th minute when Ben Hadfield produced a great run down the left wing to go over the whitewash, but the try was ruled out for a foot in touch.
However, with Argaum again down to 14 player, Tavvy did get a consolation try deep in injury-time when number eight Mark Friend went over under the posts.
The victory was only Argaum’s second of the season and their first September 10. They had narrowly lost to Saltash, Plymstock Albion Oaks and Pirates Amateurs.
Argaum’s assistant coach Mark Sullivan hopes the team can push on now.
“There is a lot of talent in the team and I think the forwards are gelling now,” he said. “The backs have always had the talent but they have started to use their hands more.
“I think for the first time (this season) we saw the forwards and the backs really link up.
“They (Tavistock) had beaten the Pirates by quite a large number of points last week, so I think the lads are really pleased with themselves.”
Argaum had struggled to convert pressure and chances into points in some of their opening matches this season, but they did that on Saturday, especially in the first half where they really capitalised on Tavistock’s mistakes.
On their two early breakaway tries, Sullivan said: “Those turnovers came from really strong defence and then good awareness from the team to just take and go.”
Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill admitted his team paid the price for a slow start.
“The first half has been a bit of a problem for us all season,” he said. “We seem to start games slow. I don’t know what it is.
“We did have a few players turn up late on Saturday, which did not help, and we had to make three changes late on. We did have good replacements, but it does not help having late changes when you have been working on things.
“However, that’s no excuse. They (Argaum) just got out of the blocks quicker than us and got two turnover tries and then you are fighting against it.
“The games we have been down two scores this year we have not won. Those we have been down just one score, we have been able to come back and do all right.
“It was frustrating as the second half was 7-5 and should have been 7-7.
“But you can’t take too much away from Argaum. They were the better side, but I think a 15-5 or 12-5 scoreline would have been a bit fairer. Ultimately that first half killed us.
“We’ve now got a week off. Hopefully, we can get some injured players back and regroup for our game against Oaks at home.”
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks are fourth in the table after claiming a 15-7 victory over local rivals Tamar Saracens at Horsham Fields.
Oaks were determined to bounce back after their last-gasp 25-21 defeat at Saltash the week before.
However, Saracens, who have not won since the opening day of the season, gave them a shock by taking an early 7-0 lead thanks to a converted try by Fraser Tatchell.
But Oaks hit back with a try by winger Mat Nayle-Opie before half-time and second half scores by scrum-half Gareth Higginson, son of Plymstock chairman Nigel, and Brett Tunnicliffe.
For once Richard West was unable to add any points with the boots, with all Oaks’ tries coming out wide.
“They went 7-0 up but I never really felt we were going to lose, to be honest,” said Oaks coach Tim Mathias.
“They came out of the blocks pretty strong and we had to weather quite a strong storm. We were lucky as they made a mess of one score.
“But then we started to look pretty comfortable. We scored a couple of tries either side of half-time.
“It did take us a while to get the third try and I am very disappointed we did not get the bonus point, to be honest.”
Although Oaks won, Mathias believes Tamar Saracens will be okay in the Cornwall/Devon league, despite the fact that they have so far only won once since their promotion from Devon One.
“I know Bus (Tamar Saracens coach Stuart Busfield) well. He was really supportive when I first went to (Plymouth) Albion and he helped me a lot when I was younger,” said Mathias.
“They (Saracens) were well drilled, they have a really good scrum and their line-out when it functioned was pretty tidy. I think they will do all right this year.
“I just think they are struggling with commitment due to the difference between Devon One and Cornwall/Devon where there’s a game pretty much every week until Christmas.”
IN-FORM Saltash claimed their biggest win of the season with a 35-15 victory over Withycombe at Moorlands Lane.
The Ashes have now won their last four matches to move up to third in the Cornwall/Devon League table behind much-fancied Cornwall sides Falmouth and Penryn.
After giving Plymstock Albion Oaks a 21-0 start last weekend, Saltash made sure they hit the ground running straight away on Saturday.
They took the lead after just five minutes when Ollie Mulberry crossed from close range.
Saltash’s Nick Blake and Withycombe’s Glenn Channing exchanged penalties before last week’s hat-trick hero Will Morton added another try to his collection.
Withycombe’s Peter Duncan crossed for a converted try before half-time to make the score at the break 15-10 to the home side.
That was increased after the interval when hooker Ryan Rayner touch down and Ryan Cruickshanks converted.
Midway through the second half Rayner turned provider for prop Adam Coutts to add the all-important fourth try.
Withycombe did reduce the gap through flanker Neil Williams but Coutts added a second to put the game beyond doubt.
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OPMs finished their participation in the inaugural David Butt Trophy by beating Salcombe 26-3 away.
The Old Boys managed to score four tries against the Crabs at Twomeads, with Jack Daragh collecting two and Matt Naylor and Chris Lewis also touching down.
However, the five points were not enough for them to finish second in Group C with Dartmouth upsetting pool winner Totnes, who will be Old Techs’ opponents in next week’s semi-finals.
Plympton Victoria were unable to fulfil their final Group D game against DHSOB at Stonehouse Creek.