Ivybridge head back to Brixham aiming to seal Devon Senior Cup final place

A PLACE in the Devon Senior Cup final will be at stake for Ivybridge on Saturday when they make their second trip to Astley Park to play Brixham within the space of seven days (2.30pm).

Ivybridge returned 34-30 winners last weekend in National Three South West to keep alive their hopes of claiming a promotion play-off spot.

However, despite their league ambitions, Ivybridge also want to do well in the Devon Cup.

If they can overcome Brixham then they would face either Okehampton, Sidmouth or Bideford in the final.

Both Ivybridge and Brixham are set to field full strength line-ups for Saturday’s cup game and Bridgers player-coach Lewis Paterson admits it is all to play for at Astley Park.

“This weekend is like a cup final,” said Paterson.

“This is two National Three sides playing for the opportunity to play someone from South West One in the final. No disrespect to them, but this feels like the cup final to us.

“We’ll be going out there full steam. To have the opportunity to play in the Devon Cup final at Ivybridge is massive.”

Last week’s league meeting turned out to be a thrilling game, with both side scoring four tries apiece. Ivybridge did go 24-8 up at one point but Brixham came back to snatch two bonus points at the end.

“I think the weather’s going to be different this week,” said Paterson.  “And we did let in some soft tries second half and we have to address that. Yes, it was a good game and, yes, we were in control and scored a lot of points, but we conceded a lot as well.

“We need to be even more on our game, if the weather conditions are not in our favour.”

Ivybridge have completed a league double over both Brixham and Newton Abbot this season and sit in the top four of National Three South West. But Paterson still feels his team do not always get the credit they deserve.

“It frustrates me that a lot of teams don’t like losing to Ivybridge,” he said. “It feels like people don’t take us seriously and that they should be beating us.

“We may not be paying players, but everything about this club is professional.

“It would be good if we could make it 3-0 against Brixham. We have also beaten Newton Abbot twice and are at the top end of the table, so, hopefully, people will start taking us seriously.”

He added: “There are always a lot of excuses when people lose to us, but that’s good for us as it drives the boys.

“I really hope there is a big crowd there on Saturday as it would be good for Devon rugby. Hopefully, we can put on a good show again.”

Ivybridge are set to start with the team that played the majority of last week’s league game.

The only unenforced change will be on the wing where Billy Pinkus returns in place of Damon Akerman, who is playing for Devon Under-20s on the Sunday. Justin Rogers will start at number eight having come on as an early replacement last weekend for the injured Pete Abraham.

In the Devon Cup, teams can name seven replacements and fit-again Nathan Reeves and former captain Mike Cox are set to be included on the bench for Ivybridge, along with the likes of Matt Grieveson, Hayden Coles and youngsters Ben Collins and Marcus Prout.

Ivybridge were handed a walkover against Tiverton in the last round of the cup, while Brixham beat league rivals Newton Abbot 55-20.

It is a big weekend for the Bridgers, as on Sunday the club will play Trojans in the National Colts’ Plate, while nine players from the club will be in the Devon Under-20 squad that takes on Somerset at Okehampton.

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