Ivybridge delighted youngsters are pushing hard for first team spots

Ivybridge rugby

IVYBRIDGE are delighted that so many youngsters are pushing hard to get into their National Three South West side.

Mitch Pinkus was the latest teenager to be handed a chance when he came on for his league debut last weekend against Newton Abbot.

The previous week fellow 18-year-old Ben Collins was given his opportunity, while another youngster Lewis Barnaby was in the first team squad before suffering a finger injury.

Ivybridge coach Lewis Paterson says the club also have more young players pushing hard, including flanker Seb Slade, brother of Henry, who is back from France.

“Our depth is a lot better this year,” admitted Paterson. “And that gives me and Jamie (Tripcony) loads of confidence in selection. We can move things around. People can swap in and out and use our depth wisely and keep players fresh.

“Mitch Pinkus came on at full-back for his debut on Saturday. He went really well. That was brilliant as he’s only 18.

“Ben Collins and Lewis Barnaby have also featured. Hopefully, Lewis will be back soon from a broken finger.

“Our second team have been playing really well. Toby Evans is also coming back from injury. He’s another young very talented player.

“Seb Slade is another pushing for the first team. He was in France but he’s back now. He’s back-rower, who is very, very good. He had an outstanding game for the second team on Saturday.

“These players are literally pushing for first team spots. They are banging out results for the second team every week.”

Ivybridge did not sign many new players this summer, instead they have continued to keep faith in their colts set-up, which has produced most of their current first team.

The only major additions to their squad in the summer were player-coach Tripcony and Ryan Dingle, who was previously a colt at Ivybridge before spells at London Wild Geese, Launceston and Tamar Saracens.

Dingle arrived as a prop, but has been playing in the back-row and impressed there last weekend in Ivybridge’s 28-23 win over Newton Abbot.

“Ryan got man-of-the-match on Saturday,” said Paterson. “He had an outstanding game.

“He put in a really solid shift and he’s coming on leaps and bounds.

“He came over from Tamar Saracens and has really brought in well to the systems and working well for the team. The boys get on really well with him. It is like he has always been around, although I know he was Ivybridge years ago as a colt.”

Ivybridge have had to cope with injuries to key players like Dom Loomes, Tom Scoles and Jordan Anderton, while Charlie Briant is away travelling.

Club captain Anderton returned to the starting line-up two weeks ago following a knee problem, but suffered a head injury against Bromsgrove and then a rib injury last Saturday.

“We lost Jordan Anderton with injury again on Saturday,” said Paterson. “He bruised his ribs early in the first half. It is just frustrating for him as he was itching to get back and be part of the team but he just keeps picking up these knocks. But that’s the type of player he is. He just keeps putting his body on the line.”

After winning five out of their opening six National Three South West matches, Ivybridge have a break for action this weekend as they have a bye through quarter-finals of the newly-expanded Devon Cup, which starts this weekend.

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