IVYBRIDGE bounced back from their defeat at Lydney last week in style by running in seven tries to beat Cleve 46-22 at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday in National Three South West.
Billy Pinkus scored three of those tries as he finished the day with an impressive 26-point haul.
Alex Hall, Jon Morgan, Damon Akerman and Courtney Richards were Ivybridge’s other scorers.
It was the first time this season the South Hams side had scored more than 40 points in a game, which delighted player-coach Lewis Paterson after their disappointing 29-25 loss at Lydney seven days earlier.
“We always say to the lads if we lose the week before not to make it a habit,” said Paterson. “We tell them they have to be able to bounce back and we did that.
“Every time we have lost this season we have been able to bounce back, whereas before we would lose and then lose again.
“It was a character test on Saturday and all the lads showed character, which was really, really important.
“We were a bit more switched on and had a bit more relentless attitude about ourselves. We went out there to punish, which was really key.
“It was a good five-point win. It’s our biggest win in terms of points scored this season by far.
“It was a full one to 18 shift – everyone played their part.”
Ivybridge had shuffled their squad around a bit for the game. Among their returning players was Tom Scoles, who is back to full fitness again following injury.
“It was lovely to have Scolesey back,” said Paterson. “He offers a different kind of attacking threat. He’s big, strong, he’s confident and he just gives you that go-forward. Damon (Ackerman) had a good game shuffling from full-back to wing, but everyone had a really solid performance.
“To more than double Cleve’s score was huge.”
Cleve had done the double over Ivybridge last season, including beating them 52-21 at Cross-in-Hand.
Ivybridge started really well. Billy Pinkus missed a penalty in the first two minutes but the home team kept the pressure on.
They won another penalty and went for the corner. Although they messed up the five-metre line-out they then pushed Cleve off the resulting scrum five metres from their line and flanker Hall dived on the loose ball to score.
Cleve full-back Joe Hall reduced the gap with a penalty before Pinkus missed another at the other end.
The visitors, who had to play in Ivybridge’s away shirts after forgetting their kit, did go in front on 25 minutes when hooker Tommy Gollop went over in corner following a penalty.
But within three minutes Ivybridge regained their lead when Billy Pinkus scored the first of his three tries in the right corner, which he also converted.
Cleve were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes just before half-time and the home side made them pay with a try on the right by Morgan. That made the score at the break 17-10 to Ivybridge.
The Bridgers’ line-out did not function as well as it has done, but their scrum dominated against Cleve.
And, within four minutes of the second half, they had a fourth try when Akerman burst through to score near the posts and Billy Pinkus converted.
Five minutes later a scuffle broke out following a penalty which resulted in Cleve’s James Fahey being shown a red card and Ivybridge’s Jamie Tripcony a yellow.
The home team wasted another five-metre line-out on 55 minutes before Billy Pinkus scored his second try after good work by Scoles.
That made it 29-10 but Cleve hit back with a try by Greg Willing, which Hall converted, however Ivybridge responded instantly.
Fly-half Mitch Pinkus put in a high kick, which looked initially like it was going to go dead, but it held up in the wind and fell inviting in the in-goal area and his older brother Billy beat two Cleve players to ground the ball to complete his hat-trick.
Billy Pinkus converted his try and also kicked a penalty to make it 39-17.
Cleve did play some good rugby with 14 men and Gollop scored a second try in the dying minutes. Yet there was still time for Ivybridge to get another when replacement Richards went over from a maul.
WESTERN COUNTEIS WEST
DEVONPORT Services find themselves six points clear at the top of Western Counties West after beating fourth-placed Truro 24-16 away on Saturday.
Only two points had separated the top four sides in the division going into the weekend, but Services were the only ones to win, with Exeter University going down 24-0 at Burnham-on-Sea and Cullompton losing 16-15 at Wadebridge.
Services had been 11-0 down after 20 minutes in Cornwall but they hit back to claim a massive four points.
“We were happy anyway with the win, but even happier when we saw the other results,” admitted team manager Kieran Leach.
“We have got that little cushion at the top now but we are not going to rest of our laurels. We have got a big game next week against Wadebridge and we’ve got a lot of bruised bodies.”
He added: “For the first 15 minutes we were under a lot of pressure and did not get out of our half and then we woke up.
“And second half we played some really good rugby.
“Our defence was great again and our penalty count was virtually nothing.”
The one player Services did have problems with, though, was Truro full-back Luke Tidball. He gave the home team the lead after less than a minute with a wonderful individual try.
Truro kicked two penalties to move 11-0 but that seemed to wake Devonport up.
Andy Pond scored a try in the corner following a line-out, which Matt Anstis converted.
Anstis also kicked a penalty to reduce the gap to one point going into the break.
Arran Webb gave the visitors the lead with a converted try in the corner after the interval before Truro full-back Tidball scored his second to pull the Cornish side to within a point at 17-16.
Services missed two penalty kicks at goal before they were awarded a controversial penalty try late on when Luke Stannard was stopped by a dangerous tackle, which also resulted in a yellow card.
TAVISTOCK honoured former club secretary Peter Garland in style by beating in-form Bodmin 15-13 at Sandy Park.
Garland died in October but the club had waited until all their sides were at home to hold a proper memorial for him.
There was a minute’s applause and a moment’s silence for him before kick-off and after the game they renamed their clubhouse bar after him.
“The memorial to Pete was excellent,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill. “There were probably close to 40-odd minis leading all three teams (first, seconds and colts) out and we had a minute’s applause and a minute’s silence. There was also a great crowd there.”
The events seemed to inspire the Tavistock players who scored in the opening few minutes courtesy of Andrew Schuttacker.
“We came out of the blocks flying,” said Kerswill. “We had a great start.”
It was just what Tavistock needed after their 80-0 hammering at Falmouth the week before.
However, Tavistock gave away too many penalties at the breakdown in the first half and Bodmin, who went into the game sitting in fifth place, kicked two of them to take a 6-5 lead at the break.
Tavistock also had Adrian Baker sin-binned.
“The discipline problem was mainly at the breakdown,” said Kerswill. “We kept our mouths shut and our off-sides were very good, but it was just at the breakdown where we kept get pinged for killing the ball.
“But our defensive effort was very, very good, which after last week was brilliant.”
And just like in the first half, Tavistock came out flying for the second period and scored what Kerswill described as possibly their try of the season, with Louis Cockcroft touching down under the posts after some great support running.
It was Cockcroft’s first league try for the club, but surprisingly it was not converted.
And Tavistock then added a third when Charlie Charlton, making his return to the first team, came off the bench and forced his way over to make it 15-6.
However, Bodmin set up a nail-biting final 10 minutes with a converted try. Tavistock were under pressure late on but they survived.
“It was a great turnaround from last week,” said Kerswill. “Our aim of getting three wins before Christmas is a third of the way there. We are a very happy team at the moment.”
Plymstock Albion Oaks are not quite so happy after once again failing to see off a team in the bottom four.
Last Saturday they lost 9-6 at Honiton and this week they were forced to settle for a 10-10 home draw against Lanner.
It was the first time this season Oaks had not won at home, with Lanner achieving more than they high-flying Cornish rivals Falmouth and Penryn had done at Horsham Fields.
Oaks coach Tim Mathias admitted once again his team were just not clinical enough.
“We didn’t create lots of opportunities but we created enough to win,” said Mathias. “But we just weren’t clinical enough really. We left that 22 too many times without coming away with points.
“Credit to Lanner. As you have seen in their results the last few weeks, they have improved as a team.
“There are other teams we have played this year that were not as well organised or as well-drilled as they were.
“But the lads know they have let another one go really. It should have been four points.
“It is frustrating, but we got a draw, which is better than losing. However, we are still not back to where we were.”
Up until last weekend, Oaks had looked almost unstoppable, winning five games in a row, including beating Falmouth.
When asked if he could put his finger on what has gone wrong the last couple of weeks, Mathias said: “I don’t know if we are better playing against the higher teams that are generally a bit more organised. Maybe those teams play a more structure kind of rugby rather than off-the-cuff, but I don’t know.
“We’ve had a few injuries that have affected us. We have lost some leaders over the last two or three weeks and that does make a difference when you have quite a young team.
“It is just bit of decision-making and execution.
“We are not a million miles away. On another day we would have kicked three more goals and had two more tries and then you are a looking at a 33-10 win.
“It’s there but we just have to be clinical.”
Lanner went 5-0 before Tom West kicked a penalty for Oaks and then Dan Romang scored a try, which Richard West converted. However, Oaks could not build and Lanner scored a second try to take two points back to Cornwall.
“We did miss a couple of kicks and some good opportunities that would have put us well in front,” said Mathias.
“It is a little frustrating but it is a step up from last week, however, the lads know they still have a lot to do going into two big challenges before Christmas.”
Next up for Oaks is a trip to in-form Paignton, who have only lost once this season.
Promotion-chasing Saltash also found it tough against a team in the bottom four.
They had to dig deep to beat Honiton 26-25 at Moorlands Lane.
Honiton gave Saltash a major fright by going 12-0 up with centre Olly Hyland and lock Tom Churchward scoring tries for them and fly-half Olly Cave kicking a conversion.
The second of those tries seemed to kick Saltash into life and they hit back with a try from second-row Tom Rixon, which Harrison Reburn converted.
And the home team, despite not having much ball, went into at the break 14-12 up with an interception try by flanker Phil Eatwell, which Reburn converted.
After their win over Oaks last weekend, Honiton had belief and they went back in front after the interval with a Cave penalty.
Captain Ryan Rayner went over for a third converted Saltash try to make it 21-15, but Honiton would not lie down and kicked another penalty.
Honiton continued to threaten but Saltash got the breathing space they needed when Rixson made a great break before putting full-back Ryan Cruickshanks clear to score and make it 26-18.
However, the visitors set up a nerve-wracking final five minutes for the Ashes by scoring another try through Hyland, which Cave converted.
Yet Saltash did hang on to stay second, two points behind Falmouth and two in front of third-placed Paignton.
Tamar Saracens find themselves bottom of the table after losing 29-19 to fellow strugglers Topsham at Ernesettle.
Chey Bryce had taken over as head coach during the week and Dan Leeson had returned to the club as his assistant but they’d had limited time to work with the squad, that has recently lost key players like Joe Wyatt and Jack Martin.
It was looking promising for Saracens in the first half, with the match level at 12-12 at the break.
But two quick Topsham tries after the interval took the game away from Saracens, who have to pick themselves up for a trip to Honiton next weekend.
There was also little joy for Plymouth Argaum, who were beaten 59-0 by promotion-chasing Paignton at Bickleigh Down.
It was not the result an under-strength Argaum wanted to celebrate the re-opening of their clubhouse.
Paignton ran in eight tries – four in each half – to keep the pressure on Falmouth and Saltash at the top of the table.
Argaum, who last week lost at Lanner, now have to pick themselves up for tough trips to Penryn and Withycombe before Christmas.
OLD TECHS kept alive their hopes of retaining the Lockie Cup by beating Saltash IIs 49-29 at Weston Mill on Saturday.
Techs, having reach the David Butt Trophy final in October, have made a slow start to the Devon Two season, losing to promotion-rivals Dartmouth and OPMs.
However, the city side hope their performance on Saturday in the Plymouth Combination cup will really kick-start their league season.
“We played really, really well,” said club spokesman David Evans. “It was one of our best performances, attacking-wise. Defensively, we were a bit weak but got the win and are into the semi-finals.
“We just want to keep winning now. We have got two league matches before Christmas against St Columba and Salcombe and we want to get five points from both.”
He added: “Saltash were a reasonable side and they did not give up.”
Techs only led 25-19 at the break but in the second half they turned on the gas.
They got eight tries in total, with Matt Simmonds and Joel Dickin both scoring twice. Their other touch-downs came from Billy Evans, Rudi Baker, James Tregale, Eddy Ramazani and Ben Lynch.
Meanwhile, Plympton Victoria found an experienced Devonport Services III team too good for them, losing 47-12 at Marsh Mills in the Ellis Trophy.
Plympton Victoria get a pass away against Devonport Services IIIs in Ellis Trophy (picture by Mark Andrews)