IVYBRIDGE continued their good record against Devon rivals Newton Abbot with a 25-18 victory at Rackershayes on Saturday in National Three South West.
The bonus point win has seen the Bridgers move level on points with second-placed Dings Crusaders, who were heavily beaten at Bournemouth.
With Camborne also losing, Ivybridge find themselves in a great position with eight games of the season to go.
They totally dominated the first half on Saturday. They were 17-0 up at the break thanks to tries by Ryan Dingle, Charlie Briant and Billy Pinkus and that lead could easily have been greater.
Ivybridge’s backs, with Briant and player-coach Lewis Paterson looking very dangerous, were a constant threat, while their pack showed their strength by pushing the All Whites back 10 metres from a line-out to score their first try.
But fifth-placed Newton Abbot, who went into the match with an unbeaten home record, really upped their game after half-time and twice got to within five points of Ivybridge.
It was looking like the home team might pull off a remarkable comeback, but a Tom Scoles try in the 77th minute, which was made by full-back Briant, put the game beyond doubt.
Newton Abbot did secure a bonus point with the last play of the match.
However, it is four wins out of four for Ivybridge over Newton Abbot since their promotion to level five.
“We approached this game so well tactically,” said Ivybridge player-coach Lewis Paterson. “We knew we had to come out firing and move the ball around, regardless of the weather, and that paid off.
“It gave us a massive lead at half-time. Sometimes complacency can be our enemy and they got the rub of the green a bit. We just needed to be composed when we got the ball and we did that.
“What was the difference this week was we executed a lot of our plays and got the points. Sometimes in previous weeks that last pass has dropped or we have got there (into the 22) and not come away with points. But this week we got crucial points at crucial times. It was really good.”
Paterson was pleased his team responded when Newton Abbot closed to within five points.
“They (Newton Abbot) stuck well to their game-plan,” said Paterson. “When they got the ball they did what they do well – they kept it tight and got themselves in good positions and came away with points.
“They hadn’t lost at home – and there was a reason for that. They are a good side and they showed that, but there was good hunger within Ivybridge and we wanted to come here and make a bit of history.”
Ivybridge dominated from kick-off. They were unlucky not to score in the opening couple of minutes before taking the lead in the eighth minute with a great driving maul from 10 metres out which saw Dingle get the ball down.
Paterson came close five minutes later after Alex Hall had reacted quickly to pick up a loose ball and attack.
Scoles was harshly yellow carded on 14 minutes for what the referee deemed a deliberate knock-on when trying to intercept in Newton Abbot’s half.
But, while he was off the field, Ivybridge scored a second try when Briant crossed on the right after a good play from a scrum on the left.
Pinkus missed both conversions but on 32 minutes, with the rain starting to come down heavily, he scored a try, which he also converted, after Briant fed him. That made it 17-0.
Paterson again came close after the break before Jack Bond gave Newton Abbot hope with a try down the left wing from a kick and chase.
Lock Matt Templeman added a second try for the home side not long later from a driving maul, which Rob Avery-Wright converted to put the host’s just five points behind.
Pinkus eased some pressure with a penalty before Newton Abbot came agonisingly close to scoring a try. They got a five-metre scrum before winning a penalty, which Avery-Wright kicked to leave his side 20-15 down.
Scoles, though, sealed the game four minutes later when he went over in the left corner after a good backs move.
Newton Abbot, though, refused to give up. It looked like they had scored a try with the last play of the game. However, the referee decided they hadn’t got over the whitewash, but he did give them a penalty which Avery-Wright kicked to secure a losing bonus point for his side.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services lost top spot in Western Counties West after suffering their biggest defeat of the season against promotion-rivals Exeter University.
The students triumphed 43-15 at the Rectory to move to the summit and send Services down to third, with Cullompton moving above them after hammering Torquay 59-10.
It was in the second half where a strong Exeter University pulled away. They had only been 16-8 up at the break.
“They had a totally different side to the one we played up at their place,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“They were big and they were clinical and they deserved their win.
“Their defensive shape was good and we struggled to break them down. When they raised the tempo at the start of the second half we struggled to keep up.
“Our penalty count was shocking.
“But we have to re-group now. We don’t need to go back to the drawing board – our set-piece was good – we just need to stop giving away penalties.
“It was only our fourth defeat and we are still in with a shout.”
The teams traded early penalties before Exeter University went 11-3 up with a try and a penalty.
However, Services hit back with a touch-down by flanker Arran Webb.
It looked like the half-time score would be 11-8 to the students, but just before the whistle Exeter scored a controversial second try to go in at the break 16-8 up.
The second half belong to the visitors. They got two quick tries to go 26-8 in front before Services gave themselves hope with another try by Webb, which Matty Anstis converted.
However, their hopes of getting back into the match were short lived with the students adding three more tries, two of which came in the last 10 minutes.
AFTER going six games without a win, Plymouth Argaum have now claimed two in a row.
They followed up their 19-12 home victory over Tamar Saracens last weekend with a 20-6 triumph over Tavistock at Sandy Park.
Tavistock had been in great form before the Christmas break, but they have not won in 2017.
Their coach Hammy Kerswill admitted his team did not threaten enough on Saturday.
They were held up over the line at one point, but that was as close as they got to scoring a try, with Chris Stables accounting for their points with two penalties.
The match was evenly balanced at half-time with Argaum just 8-6 in front.
Hooker Callum Mills gave the visitors the lead with a try from a line-out on 15 minutes before Stables responded with a penalty for Tavistock.
Ali Murray and Stables traded penalties before the interval.
Argaum, who had also beaten Tavistock at their place earlier in the season, increased their lead when Jake Turfrey scored after charging down a kick. That made it 13-6.
And it got better for the Bickleigh Down side on 60 minutes when scrum-half Ben Glanfield scored his second try in two weeks to put Argaum 14 points in front.
Argaum have been boosted in the last couple of weeks by great player availability.
Murray and Kevin Sidebottom were among their returning players this weekend.
“It was a very good display. We played well,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman, who was particularly pleased with the way the team kept Tavistock deep in their own half after the break.
Plymstock Albion Oaks bounced back from back-to-back defeats with an 18-0 away victory at bottom side Tamar Saracens.
All Oaks’ points came in the first half.
Brad Hart gave them the lead with a try in the corner after second-year colt Ollie Whitfield, who was making his debut, put him in.
Richard West then kicked a penalty before Brett Tunnicliffe scored a try to make it 12-0.
West then kicked two penalties to put his side 18-0.
“We wanted to come out and try and play with a bit of tempo, especially with them having a big forward pack, and that paid off early doors,” said Oaks coach Tim Mathias.
“And, to be fair to our forwards, we matched them in the scrum and our line-out went well.
“We are still a little bit rusty, if I’m honest. But it was nice to come out and have a good start.”
Mathias felt the game lost its way at half-time with both teams struggling to get to grips with what the referee wanted.
“The second half became a bit of a lottery at the breakdown. Both teams really struggled,” said the Oaks coach.
“There must have been 25 penalties second half, which were probably evenly split.
“The game was physical, but it was played in a good spirit.
“Yet it’s a win for us. We’ve had a bit of a stuttering start to the year. We started well with a nice win but then lost two on the bounce, so it was nice to get another win under our belts.”
Saltash stay in second place in the league after a hard-earned 23-16 win at in-form Withycombe.
The game was tight all the way through and it was only a Steve Hillman try two minutes from time that guaranteed the victory for Ashes.
Withycombe took the lead with an early penalty, but Saltash hit back with a try by winger James Moriaty.
The teams then exchanged penalties with the home team going 9-8 up on 34 minutes.
But almost straight away, Saltash responded with a touch-down by try-machine Will Morton to go in at the break 15-9 in front.
A Kieran Down penalty gave the visitors a nine-point lead after the interval but Withycombe set up a nail-biting final few minutes with a catch-and-drive try to pull to within two points.
Saltash, though, dug deep and number eight Hillman put the game beyond doubt with their third try of the day.
PROMOTION-chasing OPMs and Old Techs both demonstrated a ruthless edge to claim big away derby wins at St Columba and Plympton Victoria, respectively.
Second-placed OPMs ran in 13 tries to beat St Columba/Torpoint 81-0 at Defiance Field, while third-placed Old Techs touched down 11 times in a 70-0 victory over Plym Vic at Marsh Mills.
Both teams know they cannot afford to slip up with just three points separating them in the table.
OPMs were 48-0 up at half-time and did not let up after the interval.
Their try scorers were Shaun Grundy (2), Tom Sargent (2), Chris Harmer (2) Huw Moorcraft (2), Gavin Rae (2), veteran number eight Warren Dunkley, Matt Thompson and Sam Matts junior.
Rae kicked the rest of the points for OPMs, who were saying goodbye to Matt Price ahead of his relocation to Bristol.
“We were really pleased with that,” said captain Henry Matthews afterwards. “We just wanted to get back to winning ways (after last week’s 17-17 draw with Old Techs).
“We’ve just got to keep winning our games now and winning big. We are looking for bonus points every week.”
He added: “We played well for nearly the whole game, which we were proud of, and it was good to get a nil again with our stubborn defence.
“They (St Columba) did have a big surge in the last 20 minutes when we gave away a couple of penalties and they put them in the corner, but they couldn’t really get near the line.”
Old Techs might have been missing a number of players due to injury and unavailability but they were too strong for Plym Vic.
Joel Dicken scored a hat-trick of tries for them in their 70-0 victory.
Rudi Baker added two, with Eddy Ramazani, Josh Martin, Joe Bailey, Ben Lynch, Phil Ingleson and former Plym Vic player Corbin Turner scoring their other tries. Paul Ansell kicked the rest of their points.
“To be fair, Plym Vic kept going to the end. They never give up,” said Techs’ chairman David Evans, whose son Billy moved up from the backs to play blindside flanker on Saturday.
“It took us about 10 minutes to score our first but then we kept on scoring.
“We know we just have to keep picking up five points.”
There was agony for DHSOB away at Salcombe on Saturday.
They lead for nearly all of the match but a late penalty secured Salcombe a 13-12 win.
The Old Boys dominated the opening 30 minutes but only got one try for their efforts, which came courtesy of Mika Waqa, which Atu Kovula converted.
And they only led 7-5 at the break with Salcombe scoring in the corner with the last play of the half.
DHSOB, though, hit back after the interval with Freddie Joseph scoring to make it 12-5.
But in the last 20 minutes, Salcombe’s forwards started to get on top and they scored a drive try before going in front for the first time with just two minutes to go.
DHSOB still have one more chance to rescue the four points, but knocked the ball on close to the line.
“It was gutting,” said director of rugby Mike Freeman. “The boys worked so hard and played well. They deserved the win but just ran out of steam.”