IVYBRIDGE missed out on reaching the Devon Senior Cup final with a 38-25 defeat away at their National Three South West rivals Brixham on Saturday.
The Bridgers had completed the league double over the Fisherman, including a 34-30 win at the same venue seven days earlier.
But the previous week’s narrow loss appeared to have fired up Brixham, who ran in five tries to reach the Devon Cup final for the third year running.
“Brixham came out firing – we played a different side this week,” admitted Ivybridge’s player-coach Lewis Paterson after the semi-final defeat. “They absolutely beat us at the pick-and-go game – they have very good forwards.
“We just did not do enough with the ball when we had possession. We didn’t play rugby – we watch them play. We turned up and it was almost as if we just held the tackle shields.
“We made some opportunities, but they were up for it and did well – they needed to after last week. Well played to them.”
He added: “It was a bit frustrating. We’ve missed out on the Devon Cup final, but the next job is to focus on the league.
“We are in a good position in the league. We’ve got to bounce back and look to try and get promoted or a play-off spot. That would be another big step for the club.”
He continued: “Ivybridge have never been in the Devon Cup final or held it. You can’t say we didn’t want it, because we did, but they just played really well; full credit to them.”
Ivybridge, playing with the wind and down the slope, did get the perfect start. They won a five-metre scrum from kick-off and were eventually awarded a penalty try from the set piece, which Mitch Pinkus converted.
The South Hams side then went 10-0 up in the 12th minute with a Pinkus penalty.
Brixham, though, did not let their heads drop and almost instantly reduced the deficit to three points with a try from close range by lock Adam Thomas, which Ben Lovell converted.
Lovell then missed a penalty to pull his side level and a minute later 18-year-old Pinkus kicked one from the halfway line to put Ivybridge 13-7 up.
Despite playing against the elements, Brixham, with Plymouth student Malcolm Onsando impressing in the second-row, started to control the game.
The home side were close to scoring in the 28th minute before four minutes later winning another penalty, which Lovell kicked to reduce the gap to three points.
Mitch Pinkus then missed a kick for the first time in two weeks and then the visitors had Ryan Dingle sin-binned just before the break.
Brixham took advantage of that yellow card to score through Dom O’Connor. He went over from close range after good earlier play in midfield by former Plymouth Albion backs Ed Barnes and Marc Koteczky. Ben Lovell converted to give the Fishermen a 17-13 half-time lead.
And straight after the interval the home team increased their advantage with a try by flanker Joe Lovell, which his cousin, Ben, converted.
Just when Ivybridge got back to 15 men, they then picked up another yellow card with influential Jamie Tripcony sent to the bin for 10 minutes as Brixham pressed.
While he was off, Brixham scored two quick tries. The first came from Koteczky, who went over from close range. Then hooker Kyle Cane scored from a catch-and-drive move to make it 38-13.
Credit to Ivybridge, they did finish strongly. Tom Scoles crossed in the right corner seven minutes from time.
Brixham then had two players sin-binned in the space of a minute – Tom Goodman and Dom O’Connor – and Ivybridge took advantage with full-back Charlie Briant crossing unopposed on the left after going wide following three five-metre scrums and Matt Grieveson converted.
Ivybridge now face an important home game against Lydney in the league next Saturday.
“It’s going to be a big game and we just have to rebuild and focus on Lydney,” said Paterson.
“You have to learn from defeats. You can’t dwell in the moment, you have to react and be positive. We have to work hard in training and iron out things.”