IVYBRIDGE suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season as they went down 25-18 to promotion-rivals Camborne.
The Bridgers, who had been beaten by Launceston last weekend, stay fourth in the table, but Newton Abbot are now level on points with them after they beat leaders Dings Crusaders.
Camborne, who become the first team to do the double over Ivybridge this season, took an early lead through number eight James Goldsworthy.
Ivybridge, though, hit back with a good team try finished off by flanker Alex Hall. That made it 7-7.
Fly-half David Mankee kicked a penalty for Camborne before they scored a second try courtesy of full-back Rhys Brownfield to go in at the break 15-7 up.
Ivybridge started the second half well and close the gap to 15-12 with a try by Tom Scoles.
Camborne, who had lost their last two matches, dug deep and they used their forwards to score a third try with Goldsworthy again getting the ball down.
Mankee increased the home team’s lead before Billy Pinkus kicked two penalties to make sure Ivybridge at least picked up a bonus point from their trip over the Tamar.
Although disappointed player-coach Lewis Paterson felt there were plenty of positives and that his team did play better than they had done the week before against Launceston and against Camborne earlier in the season.
“Obviously it was not the result we wanted,” said Paterson. “But we were much better than last week and it was a better performance than when we played Camborne the last time. And we did get a bonus point.
“It was just a few handling errors and a bit of indiscipline that cost us and Camborne capitalised.
“They (Camborne) are a good outfit. They are a massive side – they have got some big boys.
“But it was a game that could have gone either way, if we had been a bit more switched on.
“We scored straight after half-time to close to within three points, but then from kick-off we gave a penalty away and they scored in the corner. We didn’t need that. We should have been a bit smarter.”
Paterson added: “We haven’t lost two games in a row for a long time, but it is not like we are fading. We have just played two good, hungry sides.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services lost top spot in Western Counties West after suffering their first defeat since October.
Services lost 27-19 at promotion-rivals Cullompton, who have overtaken them at the top courtesy of a better points difference.
Devonport came close to getting the losing bonus point that would have kept them at the summit after responding to going 27-0 down.
“Cullompton’s game-plan was to upset us and it worked,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“They were really physical at the breakdown and nullified all our space.
“We were not as clinical as we can be, but they had done their homework on us.”
Services started off well, despite a crunching tackle that left fly-half Matty Anstis struggling for the rest of the game. They had five early penalties. Four of them they went for the corner but could not make it tell and the one they kicked, the ball bounced off the posts and within 20 seconds Cullompton had gone up the other end and scored.
The home side kicked a penalty before the break to go in 10-0 up.
They then added two tries and another penalty after the interval.
“We were staring down the barrel with 25 minutes to go,” said Leach.
But Services showed their character to make a game of it.
Replacement prop Charlie Horn went over under the posts, but, surprisingly Anstis, missed the conversion.
Fellow prop Jack Martin then went over and Anstis converted that one.
Then in the dying seconds winger Luke Stannard went over in the corner, which Anstis brilliantly converted.
“The way we played in the last 20 minutes was good,” said Leach. “But as they said afterwards ‘why didn’t we do it from the start?
“There were some constructive words said afterwards, but everyone’s very determined. We have put one run together and they now have to put another together.”
Anstis and Andy Pond are both likely to be struggling to be fit to face Wellington next weekend after picking up knocks against Cullompton.
TAVISTOCK’S winning run was brought to an end by Penryn at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Tavvy had not lost since the end of November, but they went down 27-5 to a Penryn side that have moved back into the top four.
In a stop-start game, Penryn out-scored their hosts by four tries to one. The visitors scored two tries in each half.
Tavistock, missing the influential Mark Friend due to an infected arm, lacked a cutting edge on the day. They had chances but the only one they took was in the 69th minute when Sam Smerdon scored in the corner after good play by Doug Lloyd.
“We were flat, very flat,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill.
“It was almost as if the game was lost before we started.”
He added: “We thought the set-piece was going to be hard. Our set-piece has been relatively good, but we knew it was going to be tough this week. And, from the off, we had a couple of penalties against us at scrum time and it was hard to dig it back.
“We didn’t get much ball going forward, but when we did we struggled to keep it, which I think was down to work-rate.”
Penryn had put 80 points on Tamar Saracens at their place last weekend and only Saltash have beaten them since November.
However, Tavistock had gone into the match optimistic they could secure their ninth win of the season.
“Away from home they (Penryn) haven’t had amazing results, so we fancied ourselves after last week and after the games before that,” said Kerswill. “We feel there is no-one in this league that we can’t run close or beat, if we turn-up, but we were just flat this week.
“It is disappointing, but there’s always going to be blips during a season.
“We just have to try and build up again. We’ve got the Pirates next week away, which will be tough. We beat them convincingly at home. I know they are a different side home to away, but if we can get the team together then, like I said, I think we can beat anyone in this league.”
Penryn took the lead in the first minute when Mitch Vague kicked a penalty.
Both clubs then wasted good chances with line-outs close to the line following penalties. Tavistock did get within inches of the whitewash but could not force their way over.
And Penryn made them pay. After Vague had missed a penalty kick, Tavistock didn’t clear well and Penryn ran the ball back well down the right and James Salisbury scored the game’s first try to make it 8-0.
Tavistock came really close in the 25th minute from a tap penalty but, once again, could not force their way over and six minutes into first half injury-time they gifted Penryn a second try. Tavistock attempted to attack down their right but their passing was poor and Vague intercepted and ran from his own half to touch down. He converted to put his side 15-0 in front at the break.
Penryn did not take long to add to their tally after the interval, with impressive centre Andrew Seviour going over next to the posts following a good line-out move. Vague converted to make it 22-0.
That became 27-0 on 62 minutes when James Salisbury went over in the right corner after the visitors went wide quickly after Tavistock, who were a man down at the time, dropped the ball in their own 22.
Tavistock did finish strongly and good play by centre Lloyd resulted in Smerdon crossing in the left corner for a consolation try.
Bottom side Tamar Saracens could have earned a draw against the inconsistent Pirates Amateurs at Ernesettle on Saturday.
The match was all square at 7-7 with two minutes to go when the Pirates kicked a penalty to go 10-7 in front.
But in the dying seconds Tamar Saracens got a penalty in front of the posts, but rather than settle for a draw, they went for the corner to hopefully snatch a valuable win, only to mess up the line-out.
“We got a penalty in front of the posts, but decided to go for the line-out,” said player and spokesman Marc Cioffi. “I keep banging on about self-belief, but we showed we had belief to go for the try rather than just the penalty.
“In hindsight, we probably should have taken the points, but we had forward momentum and that much positivity that the guys thought we could nick it.
“We are a little bit gutted that we didn’t come away with at a draw or a win, but the fact that the belief was there was outstanding.”
Cioffi, though, said the team were really pleased with their performance and the way they responded to last week’s 80-0 thrashing at Penryn.
“All 15 players and the subs that came on were fantastic,” said Cioffi.
“Home advantage is a big thing in this league. The game was ours for the taking and it does show we can do it with the players we’ve got.”
Tom Rigby was back for Saracens after missing last week’s trip to Cornwall and he had a big game, as did Adam Corbett, Fraser Tatchell and captain Scotty Sheldon, who really put his body on the line.
Saracens took the lead with a try by Clint Miller, which Rigby converted.
But Pirates replied with a try of their own to leave the game finely balanced going into the dying minutes.
“Two minutes to go we got pinged for being off-side,” said Cioffi. “We were camped on our five-metre line and we were fighting to get out and, unfortunately, one the guys rushed up to prevent a drop-goal but that caused a penalty.”
But Saracens, who handed a debut to veteran forward Steve Reeves, still had one last opportunity to grab more than just a losing bonus point, but didn’t take it.
Plymstock Albion Oaks have dropped down to sixth in the table after a 39-14 defeat away at Withycombe, who are now up to fifth.
Playing against the elements and the slope, Oaks had found themselves 27-0 down at the break.
They hit back to close to within 27-14 thanks to tries by Nick Slaney and the prolific Mat Neyle-Opie, but did not push on and Withycombe added two more tries.
“We played against the elements first half,” said coach Tim Mathias. “They (Withycombe) had the slope and the wind and, like you would expect from a home team, they played them very well.
“We probably let them get a couple of extra tries that they didn’t really deserve, just through a bit of inexperience in the team.
“We were then up against second half, but we started really well. We probably missed two try-scoring opportunities in the first 10 minutes before we got it back to 27-14. But they were a bit more physical than we were and they went up the other end and stuck another try on us. That kind of killed the game.
“I think on a different day we would have taken more of our chances. I think we deserved a bonus point really.
“But we were a little bit out-muscled up front. We were out-fought and just lacked that bit of leadership. Our forward pack is very young, but it is good for these players to be playing at this level and learning how you win games. It should stand us in good stead for the next two or three years.
“We have got this good crop of lads who grew up together and enjoy playing with each other.”
Saltash have moved up to second in the Cornwall/Devon League by hammering Plymouth Argaum 69-0.
The Ashes ran in 11 tries at Moorlands Lane, with a full-back Ryan Cruickshanks claiming a first half hat-trick.
Saltash had the bonus point in the bag after just 20 minutes and they never looked back.
The defeat leaves Argaum in serious trouble.
The loss was their sixth in a row and they have only managed one try during that spell.
They have slipped to fourth from bottom, with Honiton only six points behind them and Topsham eight.
Argaum just had no answer to Saltash’s pace, even in tricky conditions.
As well as Cruickshanks claiming three tries in the first half, lock Tom Rixson and prop Adam Coutt also crossed the whitewash in the first half, with fly-half Kieran Down kicking three conversions.
And the home team did not take their foot of the gas second half.
Hooker Ryan Rayner scored a sixth try, which was closely followed by a fine try from scrum-half Ollie Mulberry.
Lock Joe Ronayne was next to go over to make it 48-0. A strong scrum saw number eight Steve Hillman cross for try number nine, before replacement winger James Moriaty collected two.
OPMs returned to winning ways after last week’s defeat to title-rivals Dartmouth by beating Plympton Victoria 52-6 at Marsh Mills.
The Old Boys had stormed into a 40-0 first half lead, but Plym Vic made it much tougher for them second half and they could only add two more tries, while the home team put over two penalties.
OPMs scored eight tries in total, all scored by different players.
The men going over were Matt Naylor, Matt Thompson, Billy Garratt, Phil Roberts, Pete Regan, Chris Harmer, Sammy Matts, Sean Grundy, with Gavin Rae kicking the rest of the points.
“Our first half was a lot stronger than the second,” said OPMs club captain Henry Matthews, who was not playing on Saturday.
“It became a bit of a scrappy game and the weather was not helpful. Their defence was a lot better second half and they also had quite a bit of possession.
“But we were just happy to get back to winning ways this week.”
OPMs stay in second place. Next weekend they face a massive game against third-placed Old Techs.
Techs were left without a match this weekend after DHSOB were not able to raise a side for the second week running.
It means DHSOB have now slipped to the bottom of the table below Plympton Victoria.
St Columba & Torpoint were also without a fixture at the weekend. Their home match with leaders Dartmouth was postponed due to an unplayable pitch.