RUGBY PREVIEWS: Crucial matches for Ivybridge and Devonport Services

Lewis Paterson Ivybridge v Camborne

IVYBRIDGE player-coach Lewis Paterson reckons the greater pressure will be on Camborne on Saturday when they two sides meet at the Recreation Ground in National Three South West.

The clubs sit third and fourth in the table, level on 49 points.

Both sides suffered blows to their promotion hopes last weekend when they surprisingly lost.

Ivybridge went down 23-16 at home to struggling Launceston, while Camborne, who have had a change in coaching personnel and committee in recent weeks, were hammered 45-6 at mid-table Hornets.

It means both clubs will be looking for responses on Saturday to try and keep on the heels of Dings Crusaders and Old Redcliffians.

“It is a big game, especially following on from last week’s disappointment,” said Paterson.

“There’s going to be a big crowd and the atmosphere is going to be brilliant.

“But I think the pressure is all Camborne, as they are at home.

“We just have to go down there and take it to them. We have nothing to lose.

“We are in the best position the club has ever been in and we have to keep reminding ourselves of that.”

Ivybridge were disappointed last week to lose to Launceston, especially having gone 13-0 up after just 18 minutes.

“We have addressed last Saturday,” said Paterson. “I think we maybe got it into our heads that the game was already won.

“We underestimated a hungry Launceston side and they took their opportunities.

“I would never take anything from their win, but they capitalised on our own indiscipline and lack of enthusiasm.

“We have to make sure we put that right this Saturday.”

He added: “Even the best teams in the country have off-days. It is just how you respond.

“It’s important that we don’t dwell on it. We have to remember the feeling, but now dwell.

“We have looked at the video of where we went wrong and we have to try and put that right.

Matt Finn goes in to score for Ivybridge

“We are going to look at our wrong doings last Saturday and against Camborne at our place. We look at what we could have done better.

“I think we will go into this game really well prepared and with a lot better mind-set.

“We know it is a big game, but we need calm heads and approach it right. We have to adapt to the weather and understand that they have been on the back of a thumping and so they are going to want to put things right as well.”

Ivybridge are set to hand Courtney Richards a start at number eight against Camborne, while Matt Grieveson is set to return at scrum-half in a tactical switch.

The Cross-in-Hand club are also boosted by the return of influential prop Matt Finn (pictured), who missed last week’s defeat to Launceston.


Devonport Services in action against Cullompton in September (picture by Mark Andrews)

Devonport Services in action against Cullompton in September (picture by Mark Andrews)

TOP spot in Western Counties West will be at stake on Saturday when leaders Devonport Services travel to second-placed Cullompton in the division’s match of the day.

Services currently lead the league by four points, having lost only twice this season.

However, both Cullompton and third-placed Exeter University could leap-frog above them if the Plymouth side don’t pick up any points this weekend.

Services, though, are just trying to treat the match just like any other.

“We are looking forward to it,” said coach Mike Lewis.

“It is one of those games that we are trying not to overplay. It is just another game of rugby.

“We are trying not to put pressure on the boys.

“Like I always say, we try to play for fun. The by-product of having a lot of fun at the minute is that we are winning games of rugby.

“I think the guys are enjoying that challenge of trying to stay top of this table. They did that last week and pretty much every game this season.”

Services go into the top-of-the-table clash on the back of a 29-10 home win over Crediton, which was their first outing since December 17.

“Last week against Crediton was a tough game, even if the scoreline didn’t really suggest that,” said Lewis.

“It was a really tough game and took a lot out of the guys.

“But we have got plenty of boys at training who are putting their hands up saying they want to play. We have got competition for places. Every guy is having to play out of his skin just to keep his spot.”

Services beat Cullompton 18-15 at the Rectory in September.

And Lewis expects another tight match again.

“I think it could be the same again – a couple of points here or there,” said the Services’ coach. “It will be about who wants it the most. That will be a big deciding factor.”

He added: “Cullompton have got a nice little set-up. It’s a good club with a great team. They play open, expansive rugby and we know what is going to come at us.

“But it is about what we do. We have to treat it almost as a home fixture. We have to try and dictate what we do in attack and defence.

“The end result of the game will determine if we are top or not.”

Services are hopeful backs Joe Wyatt and Ben McGowan will be fit to play after picking up knocks last week against Crediton. However, Elliot Lupson is unavailable.


BOOST: Ryan Chivers is set to return for Plymouth Argaum

BOOST: Ryan Chivers is set to return for Plymouth Argaum

PLYMOUTH Argaum will travel to local rivals Saltash hoping to end their worst run in years.

Argaum have lost their last five Cornwall/Devon League matches and have only scored one try during that period, which has left them looking over their shoulder as the teams below them close in on them.

The Bickleigh Down side, who have been struggling badly with injuries this term, sit 10th in the table, with 11-placed Lanner just a point behind them and 12-placed Honiton seven points behind.

Honiton, who surprisingly hammered Bodmin last weekend, play second-from-bottom Topsham this weekend.

Argaum know it will be tough at Saltash, who sit third in the table behind Falmouth and Paignton, but they say they took positives out of their performance against fourth-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks last weekend.

Although Argaum lost 18-0 it was only two tries in the last 15 minutes that sealed the win for Oaks.

Argaum also hope to be boosted by the return of forward Ryan Chivers, who has been out since the start of October after suffering a nasty leg injury against Tavistock, as well as a couple of new Royal Marine signings.

“We are expecting a very tough game,” said secretary and spokesman Stuart Quarterman. “Hopefully, the weather might be a leveller.

“But we were really encouraged last week. Although we lost 18-0 to a good Oaks team, the game was very close for most of the match.

“The lads were massively positive during and after that game.

“Ryan Chivers should be back in the mix. We are looking forward to having him back. His return will be a boost.”

When the sides met earlier this season at Bickleigh Down, Saltash won 17-7 thanks to a late try.

Saltash also have a point to prove after losing 17-12 to the Pirates Amateurs last weekend.

Tamar SaracensBottom side Tamar Saracens will be hoping to catch the Pirates Amateurs off-guard on Saturday when they host the Cornish side at Ernesettle.

The Pirates, fresh from their victory over Saltash, will be favourites to win, especially after beating Tamar Saracens 50-0 in September and following the Plymouth side’s 80-0 reverse last week at Penryn.

But Saracens’ home performances have been much better than their away displays and they know they have nothing to lose this Saturday.

Player and spokesman Marc Cioffi says the team learnt a lot of lessons last week at Penryn.

“It was brilliant game of rugby,” he said. “I just wish I was supporter watching. Some of Penryn’s plays were so well structured.

“We did everything we could but any little mistake they capitalised on.

“We had a few players step up that haven’t played much for the first team and they did what they could do, which was encouraging for them.

“But Penryn’s backs were so just good and their back-row supported really well.

“It was a massive learning curve.

“We did come off the pitch disappointed at the result, but the guys were still together. You wouldn’t think after 80-0 it would be like that, but it was.

“We were all self-critical and I think we did get overwhelmed by the game. Their facilities and their set-up down there is really good. Previously having been a Devon Two team to go somewhere like that is overwhelming.

“All the plays that Chey Bryce and the coaching staff had given us we didn’t really get to use. We used them a couple of times and when we did it was really beneficial, but we didn’t do it all game.”

On the weekend’s match against the Pirates, Cioffi said: “They seem to have great home form. When we went down there with a scratch team earlier in the season they also taught us a lesson.

“We have seen that their away results haven’t been as great as their home results, but that seems to be the same with everyone.

“This season the home games are a big advantage. Everyone seems to be doing really well at home, but when they travel away their results are different.

“I’m hoping because we are at home, like with the Paignton game, it gives us a boost.

“We may seem far off it (at the bottom), but if we put two or three wins back-to-back against the other teams around us then it becomes doable.

“We have to have self-belief.”

Saracens are set to be boosted by the return of goal-kicker scrum-half Tom Rigby. He missed last week’s trip to Penryn. In his absence, coach Dan Leeson played against Penryn.

Tamar Saracens are also set to welcome back prop Barry Sheldon and key back Dane Waryck.

“We have got a few key players back, we’ve got the belief and we just have to see what we can do,” added Cioffi.

“We came close against Albion Oaks, Argaum, Withycombe and Paignton. We can do it but we just have to stick to our structure and have belief.”

img_2308 Tavistock rugbyThis weekend it is seventh-placed Tavistock’s turn to take on Penryn.

Tavvy have been in great form and their only defeat since the end of November was last weekend’s narrow 9-5 loss at title-chasing Paignton.

The Sandy Park club are keen to show that they have progressed since losing 39-0 at Penryn in September.

“Penryn gave us a stuffing away but we were very poor then and I hope our improved defence can set the tone for a good display,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill.

“They are one of the few teams to better us at scrum time and with availability better this week we have opted for extra front-rows on the bench.”

Kerswill said his side took plenty of positives out of last week’s display against Paignton.

“Last week has given us further confidence,” he said. “Although our preparation is once again lacking. The weather has meant we haven’t been able to train as well as we could have due to pitches being out. But let’s hope that means we are fresh for Saturday.”

Vice-captain Martin Budden is unavailable and so Seth Waterworth will replace him in the back-row.

Kyle Maslen is back from Australia and starts in the second-row, while Ben Cole will line-up at scrum-half in the only other change to last weekend’s side.

Tavistock’s second team are also at home to the Peninsula Medical School in the Armada League, while their colts entertain Topsham.

img_2305 Plymstock OaksMeanwhile, fourth-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks face a tricky trip to sixth-placed Withycombe on Saturday.

After a slow start, Withycombe, who finished third last season – one place above Oaks, have found some form recently and have won their last three matches to close to within four points of Plymstock.

“They are a bit different to last year but if you look at the run they have been on recently they have slowly gone about their business and crept up the league table,” said Oaks coach Tim Mathias.

“We probably had the best performance during my time with Oaks winning up at their place last year. I think they will want to get one back on us, especially as we also beat them earlier this season as well.

“It will be a tough game, but we have got more lads coming back from injury and have got good numbers at training.”


img_3011 DHSOBDEVONPORT High School Old Boys are hoping to have a competitive side out on Saturday for their trip to old rivals Old Techs.

DHSOB could not raise a side last weekend to play bottom side Plympton Victoria with all-but one of their Fijian players unavailable.

However, they are determined to try and get a team out to face Old Techs for the fourth time this season.

“Hopefully, we can raise a side and be competitive,” said director of rugby Mike Freeman, who had been in hospital last week with a pulmonary embolism.

“Hopefully, we can regroup. We have had some good fixtures with Old Techs this year.”

Apart from the first meeting in the David Butt Trophy, which Old Techs ran riot in, the last two meetings between the teams have been decided by just one score.

Old Techs won 11-10 in the second fixture in the David Butt Trophy and then 31-24 thanks to a last minute try in the league match in November.

Techs are in third place, just two points behind city rivals OPMs, and they want to make sure they overcome DHSOB again.

“We are at home, which is a good thing,” said Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith. “And we know we just have to keep winning.

“The pressure was on us last week at Buckfastleigh but we got the win. The players seem to be responding to the pressure.

“We have played some good stuff in the last few games, but there’s still things we can improve on.

“We just need to make sure we concentrate on this weekend’s game. We have had some tough games against DHS.

“This might be the fourth time we have played them but they never have the same team out, so it’s not like you can plan as you don’t know what you are going to get.”

He added: “We just want to keep playing the way we have been playing.

“We played really well against Buckfastleigh last week, especially in the second half.

“In the first half we gave them three penalties that kept them in the game, but we tightened it up at half-time and our penalty count went down. In the end we were disappointed not to get a bonus point.

“We had plenty of time to get that fourth try, but that’s not taking anything away from the team as they played really well. Our scrummaging was good and we kept driving them back.”

Old Techs have added former Plymouth Barbarians and Argaum back-rower Nick Friend to their squad.

img_2922 OPMsSecond-placed OPMs are determined to keep ahead of Old Techs.

They make the short trip to Marsh Mills this weekend to take on winless Plympton Victoria.

However, with the Marsh Mill pitch likely to be heavy due to the recent rain, OPMs will not want to take anything for granted, despite beating their city rivals 78-0 in November.

The Old Boys are hoping to bounce back from their first league defeat of the season last weekend when they lost 20-10 to leaders Dartmouth.

“We were disappointed (losing to Dartmouth), but we have to move forward,” said OPMs captain Henry Matthews.

“We just have to rebuild and keep enjoying it.”

He added: “We put a lot of pressure on last week but as I said to the boys afterwards we have to remember why we turn up on a Thursday and a Saturday, which is because we enjoy it.

“We have to keep going out and enjoying playing rugby.”

Plym Vic coach Howell Phillips is not short on knowledge on OPMs with his son, Rhys, playing for them.

Fortunately, Phillips senior will not have to worry about his son doing any damage this weekend as he is unavailable to play.

“OPMs are a tidy side,” said the experience Plym Vic coach. “I know quite a bit about them as my mate coaches them, my son plays for them, as does a number of my former pupils.

“I know what they are capable of, but, hopefully, we can stop them opening up.”

Plym Vic have not played since December 17 after their match with DHSOB last weekend was called off.

“Last week was annoying,” said Phillips. “We had some new guys in key positions and we want to see them play.”

Phillips is pleased that Plym Vic are still attracting new players.

Meanwhile, fellow strugglers St Columba & Torpoint face a tough test when they host unbeaten league leaders Dartmouth at Defiance Field.

South West rugby fixtures can be viewed HERE.

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