IVYBRIDGE insist they will not be underestimating Western Counties West side Tiverton when they visit Coronation Field in the quarter-finals of the Devon Senior Cup on Saturday.
The Bridgers are flying high in National Three South West, but they also want to do well in the cup.
Despite playing a lower league side, Ivybridge have resisted the temptation to completely change the team that beat Newton Abbot in the league last week.
However, they will give a few youngsters the chance to shine. Devon Under-20 forward Max Coles will be handed his competitive first-team debut, while Marcus Prout (pictured top), Ben Collins and Seb Slade are handed starts.
Matt Grieveson and Damon Akerman also come back into the team.
“We are going to be pretty strong as we are not underestimating Tiverton,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson. “When the weather is like this it can be a leveller and we also don’t want to lose any momentum leading into our league game with Old Reds.
“If we change the side completely then it’s like having a weekend off and we don’t want that. We want to keep the ball rolling and keep our form going.
“We have rested a couple of player, but kept the bulk of the side. It’s about trying to get the right balance. You want young players to come through, but you want first team experience around them.
“We are wary of Tiverton. We understand they are a couple of leagues below us and aren’t having a good run of form, but they are going to be really up for it. They are going to raise their game massively.”
Paterson says Coles deserves his first team chance.
“Max has come up from the colts and he’s been training really well,” said Paterson. “He’s a very good player and has been really patient. This is a great weekend to give him an opportunity. We are looking forward to seeing him in action.”
Last Saturday, Saltash edged out Withycombe 23-16 away in the league.
This weekend they play host to them in the RFU Senior Vase.
Due to the bad weather, Saltash have moved the match from their Moorlands Lane home across the Tamar to the Royal Navy’s artificial pitch at Keyham with a 2pm kick-off.
Withycombe have got a good record in the cup competition. They reached the final at Twickenham last season and the semi-finals the year before.
In league rugby, Cornwall/Devon’s bottom side Tamar Saracens are due to host leaders Falmouth at the Parkway.
The game was postponed earlier in the season due to an unfit pitch, but Saracens are hopeful it will take place this weekend.
“We are hoping the pitch is going to be all right,” said forward and club spokesman Marc Cioffi.
“This week is again all or nothing. We have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing.
“We are not expecting an easy ride on Saturday, not at all, but we will be going out there trying to win.
“Maybe this is a game where we can try out some of our new plays we are trying to implement.”
He added: “With it being a Six Nations weekend we have got a couple of people out, but at the moment we have got a big enough squad and we can fill with up-and-coming players.”
Tamar Saracens were disappointed last week with their 18-0 home defeat to Plymstock Albion Oaks.
“Last week we were absolutely gutted,” said Cioffi. “We just did not turn up for the first half-an-hour and that’s when Oaks scored all their points. There was no scoring after that.
“We will go into this week knowing we need to be fired up early.”
Tamar Saracens have recently lost back Dane Waryck to Devonport Services. He has followed in the footsteps of the likes of Arran Webb, Jack Martin and Joe Wyatt in swapping Ernesettle for the Rectory.
But Cioffi says that all the rest of Saracens key players have committed themselves to the club.
“We have spoken to a lot of our players to see how committed they are and we’ve had lots of positive comments,” he said.
“All our key players have said they are going to stick with the club and keep building regardless of what happens at the end of the season. That’s a boost in itself for the club.”
St Columba & Torpoint are due to play unbeaten Devon Two leaders Dartmouth at Defiance Field.
That game, though, will be dependent on the weather having been postponed earlier in the season due to a waterlogged pitch.
If Dartmouth win they will be odds-on favourites to claim the title as they would go eight points clear of second-placed OPMs with just four games to go.
South West rugby fixtures can be found HERE.