Rugby

RUGBY ROUND-UP: Ivybridge and Devonport Services keep the pressure on with bonus-point wins

OPMs in action against DHSOB

OPMs in action against DHSOB in their opening Devon Two game of the season

IvybridgeIVYBRIDGE kept the pressure on at the top of National Three South West with a 36-26 bonus point win away at Bracknell.

Although Ivybridge remain fourth in the table they are now just six points behind leaders Camborne, who lost at second-placed Old Redcliffians.

Old Reds are just two points ahead of Ivybridge, while third-placed Dings sit just one in front.

Despite the long journey to Berkshire, the Bridgers made a good start and they led 21-7 at the break, thanks to tries by fit-again forwards coach Jamie Tripcony and scrum-half Ben Watts, who had an impressive match. Billy Pinkus kicked the rest of their points in a dominant opening 40 minutes.

After the interval, fellow coach Lewis Paterson went over for Ivybridge’s third after good play by Jordan Anderton, with Billy Pinkus grabbing their all-important fourth.

“It was a very good win,” said Paterson. “It was a fantastic first half of rugby from us. We scored two really good tries, kicked some good penalties and our defence was immense.

“There were a few switching off moments where we let Bracknell in for some tries, but they are a very, very big side with some fantastic ball carriers and we probably weren’t smart enough on how we defended them.

“But overall it was a really good team performance and it was fantastic that we got five points.”

Devonport Services in action against St Austell at the Rectory (picture by Mark Andrews)

Devonport Services in action against St Austell at the Rectory (picture by Mark Andrews)

WESTERN COUNTIES WEST

DEVONPORT Services have moved up to fourth in the Western Counties West table thanks to a 33-9 home win over St Austell.

St Austell had not lost by more than one score all season, but Services turned on the style second half and ended up out-scoring their visitors by five tries to nil.

The first half was quite tight and it was St Austell who went in front with a penalty by Andy Ashwin.

The visitors were pressing for another score when youngster Toby Knowles gambled and went for an intercept close to his own line. The move worked and he ran nearly the length of the field to score Services’ first try of the afternoon, which Matt Anstis converted.

Services then lost Andy Pond due to a shoulder injury, but his replacement Charlie Horn helped set up Rob Ede to score their second try.

Devonport Services' Ben McGowan in action against St Austell at the Rectory (picture by Mark Andrews)

Devonport Services’ Ben McGowan in action against St Austell at the Rectory (picture by Mark Andrews)

St Austell kicked another penalty just before the break and they closed the gap to just 12-9 almost straight after half-time.

But then Devonport came to life after withstanding some early St Austell pressure.

Alex Lambert, who was forced to play scrum-half after Brandon Andrews dropped out before kick-off, went over in the corner for Services’ third try, which Anstis brilliantly converted from the touchline.

Ben McGowan then crossed for their all-important fourth touch-down after earlier good work by Luke Stannard. Anstis again added the difficult conversion to make it 26-9.

St Austell really pressed Services but the home side, with Horn and Joe Semple impressing, kept them out and then added a fifth try courtesy of Jack Evans, which Anstis again converted from the touchline.

Services’ team manager Kieran Leach said: “It was an excellent performance. We played very well. We were more clinical than we have been in the last few weeks and patience was the key.”

Horn particularly stood out after coming on as an early replacement for Pond, while Semple and Matt Gregory also had big games in Devonport’s pack, which built the foundations for their backs to run in the tries.

Services now have a week off before travelling to sixth-placed Tiverton.

OPMs attack against DHSOB in their opening Devon Two match of the season

OPMs attack against DHSOB in their opening Devon Two match of the season

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks find themselves just four points off second spot in the Cornwall/Devon League after a 23-19 victory away at Bodmin.

Fifth-placed Oaks, who had beaten leaders Falmouth the previous week, looked in total control when they went 20-5 up in Cornwall, with three tries coming within the first 15 minutes.

But in the second half decisions started to go against Oaks and they had to survive a fightback by the home side.

However, they were able to hang on to claim their seventh victory in nine league games which leaves them in a great position going into a week’s break.

Although not to impressed with some of the decisions, Plymstock coach Tim Mathias was just delighted his team were able to add another win.

“It’s a win,” said Mathias. “And I think it was always going to be tricky for us after such a good result last week.

“But when you are 20-5 up at half-time and playing decent rugby I feel we should have got the bonus point and should have won a bit more convincingly.

“However, to be fair to the lads, they stuck at it and our defence was really good. Probably a lack of discipline at times cost us and kept them in the game really.

“But there were still positives to take out of it. We have a week off now and we’ll make the most of it before playing Topsham at home.”

Mat Nayle-Opie (2) and Dom Sumner scored Oaks’ tries in the first half with Richard West kicking a conversion and a penalty before adding another three points with the boot second half.

Mathias said his team were where they wanted to be with nearly a third of the season gone.

Oaks are just two points behind Saltash, whose seven game league and cup winning run was ended by leaders Falmouth.

Falmouth bounced back from their away defeat at Oaks with a 27-15 home victory over the Ashes.

Saltash went 12-0 down before hitting back with a converted try by Ryan Cruickshanks after good work by Lewis Wells from the back of a scrum.

But, just before the break, the home team scored a third try to go in at the break 17-7 up.

Saltash reduced the gap with a Blake penalty but Falmouth went 14 points in front with another try, this time from the halfway line which proved decisive.

The visitors did cut the gap to nine points in the final quarter with a try by Shaun Crawford, but Falmouth were not to be denied and kicked a penalty to make the game totally safe.

Saltash stay third, despite the defeat and are only two points behind second-placed Penryn, who surprisingly lost away at Lanner.

OPMs attack DHSOB during their Devon Two clash

OPMs attack DHSOB during their Devon Two clash

Tavistock claimed their fourth win of the season with a comprehensive 29-5 home victory over Tamar Saracens.

Tavistock’s home form has been good and they continued that with a disciplined display against their Plymouth visitors, who remain second from bottom.

The home team lead 10-0 at the break thanks to tries by Sam Smerdon out wide and Mark Friend from close range.

After the interval, Tavistock increased their lead straight away when Andrew Craddock ran half the length of the pitch to score under the post after good work by Alec Hamden-Smith. Callum Thompson converted to make it 17-0.

Friend then went over again, finding the smallest of gaps down the blind-side from a line-out, to make it 22-0.

It got better for Tavistock when Doug Lloyd broke through the middle and off-loaded to Andrew Schuttkacker to score under the posts. Thompson converted to make it 29-0 with 20 minutes to go.

Tamar Saracens did add a late try but it was nothing but a consolation effort for the Plymouth side, who face a big match with Plymouth Argaum next weekend.

Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill was delighted with the win and his team’s discipline.

“We really kept our discipline,” said Kerswill. “Although we didn’t spin it out wide as much as we could have done, we did score off good possession and good phases.”

Kerswill is particularly pleased with how his side’s set piece game is improving.

“There was lots of positives,” he said. “We now have a week off before we go off to Withycombe. The seven or eight who were missing this week will have to fight for their places now.”

Plymouth Argaum sit one place behind Tavistock in 10th after a vital 26-19 win over Topsham at Bickleigh Down.

It was only Argaum’s third win of the season but they did make hard work of it against Topsham, who started the day just one place below them in the Cornwall/Devon League table.

Argaum had gone 7-0 up thanks to a try by Mason Edwards, which Ali Murray converted.

The home team had some great pressure after that but did not capitalise and Topsham scored a breakaway try to cut the gap to 7-5.

Tom Holliday put Argaum further ahead with a try, which Jake Turfrey converted.

However, just before the break, Topsham cut the gap to two points with another breakaway try.

And the visitors went 19-14 in front straight after the interval.

That try shuck Argaum for 10 minutes, but once they composed themselves again they hit back with Holliday scoring a second to draw his team level on 65 minutes.

Five minutes later Turfrey scored and also converted and, despite only being seven points ahead, Argaum, with Kevin Sidebottom impressing at number eight, comfortably saw out the remaining moments of the game.

“Although it was still tense and nerve-wracking, in those last 10 minutes we played our most sensible rugby of the season,” said Argaum spokesman Stuart Quarterman. “We just did not give them the ball.

“It was a really good game,” added Quarterman. “And it meant an awful lot to us, but we can’t rest on our laurels,”

However, the win did come at a cost for already injury-hit Argaum. Hooker Neal Walters ended up in hospital with a dislocated shoulder which could rule him out for a while.

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DEVON TWO

OPMs opened their Devon Two season in style with a 59-7 win over city rivals DHSOB at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.

The home team, who just two seasons ago were in the Cornwall/Devon League, did the damage in the opening half-an-hour when they scored 33 unanswered points against a DHSOB side who looked all over the place in defence.

The visitors regrouped and were more competitive after that but it was too late for them by then as OPMs had the game in the bag and they added four more tries – three after the interval.

Gavin Rae put OPMs ahead in the second minute with a penalty before flanker Chris Lewis scored a try, which Rae converted.

DHSOB try to keep the ball from OPMs

Tom Sargent then scored the first of three tries finishing off a great move which involved Martin Skelley and Rae.

Rae kicked two more penalties in between a try by Matt Naylor to make it 28-0. Sargent crossed again in a dominant start by the home team.

Lopeti Faha scored a try out of nothing for DHSOB but the final word of the half went to the home team with Sargent claiming his hat-trick.

The game lost its way after the interval with lots of dropped balls and mistakes but OPMs finally increased their advantage on 54 minutes with a second try from Naylor, which Rae converted. That made it 45-7.

Winger Shaun Grundy then scored a fine backs try for OPMs, which Rae again converted.

Rae then had the final word with a try of his own, which he also converted.

The big win has put OPMs on top of the table after the opening week’s action and sent out a clear message to their Devon Two rivals.

OPMs coach Howard Turner said: “It was the perfect start to the season. It was a great effort from everybody.

“But we are not going to get ahead of ourselves. We’ll just take every game as it comes.”

Turner, though, was delighted with the way his team started the game against DHSOB.

“I think the first 30 minutes we were outstanding,” he said. “We were faultless – there was no handling errors or penalties.

“We did fall away with our intensity at the start of the second half but I think there was a patch of defending for five minutes where they (DHOSB) had about 12 or 13 phases but they didn’t make a metre – we just hit them back. I think that for me was the most pleasing bit – that work-rate and steeliness not to give a yard.”

There was disappointment for another of the pre-season Devon Two promotion favourites, Old Techs, who went down to 28-17 at home to another fancied side Dartmouth.

Techs, who had reached the David Butt Trophy final, paid for a slow start that saw them go 15-0 down and then 25-5 behind.

Although they came back, it was too little too late and they now have to pick themselves up for a trip to DHSOB next weekend.

“At the end of the day we just did not perform and we probably deserved to lose,” admitted club chairman David Evans.

“Dartmouth are a very well-drilled side who have signed some players from Brixham and have certainly improved.

“We were at home and we were looking to get off to a winning start.

“It is a set-back but there’s still a long way to go. When something like this happens you can either roll up in ball or come out fighting and I’m sure this team will come out fighting

“There’s a lot more games to come and we still have to play them at their place. Hopefully, this is character building and the team shows what they have got.”

Old Techs had scrum-half problems and Billy Evans had to stand in at nine during the match. But he impressed there and scored two tries for the home team.

Their other points came from a penalty try and a Ryan Tunnicliff conversion.

There was also disappointment for Plympton Victoria and St Columba/Torpoint.

Plym Vic were hit for by number of late unavailabilities and went down 62-12 to Salcombe, while St Columba, relegated from Devon One, were beaten 41-15 at home by Buckfastleigh Ramblers.

Plym Vic coach Howell Phillips said: “It was a disaster as we had 14 boys who were not available.

“The boys who played gave 110 per cent and really played with passion, but when so many are playing out of position you can’t expect them to know where to be all the time.

“But the good thing was they did not give up and we got a couple of late tries. You could not fault their effort. This team will come out fighting every week.”

All Plym Vic’s points came in the second half with Jamie English and Ian Ross touching down for them and Sam Willmington kicking a conversion.

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