Holders Old Techs reach Lockie Cup final again after beating OPMs at Weston Mill

HOLDERS Old Techs remain on course to retain the Lockie Cup after beating city rivals OPMs 25-3 in the semi-finals at Weston Mill on Saturday.

Techs, who edged out OPMs for promotion to Devon One, produced a dominant first half display to score three tries and take a 17-3 lead at the break.

They then added a further try and a penalty after the interval to seal their place in the final against DHSOB at the Rectory on April 26.

That will be their third cup final of the season. They reached the David Butt Trophy back in October and they will also play in the Devon Junior Vase against Exeter Saracens this coming Saturday.

Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith was pleased to see his side reach the Lockie Cup final again and beat OPMs for the first time this season.

“We want to try and defend the Lockie Cup,” said Bedford-Smith.

“And it was nice because we had not beaten OPMs during the league season. We lost 10-6 and drew with them, so that was another incentive.”

He added: “Our first half performance put us in control.

“We gave away about six penalties in the first five minutes but once we stopped that we started to work our way down the pitch we usually came away with some points.

“First half was particularly good, but I think they (OPMs) upped their game second half. However, we defended well.

“We gave away one try, but that was right at the end when we were just a bit exhausted and they really wanted a score.

“We wanted to beat them and I thought it was a good game. Our defence was superb and we also scored a couple of good tries through the backs and a couple of good tries with the forwards.”

OPMs, who finished third in Devon Two behind Dartmouth and Old Techs, were disappointed to miss out on a cup final.

They had also reached the semi-finals of the Devon Junior Cup but they had to forfeit their game against Totnes in that competition due to a pre-arranged tour to Hastings.

“Our start was very slow and we never recovered,” admitted captain Henry Matthews after Saturday’s defeat.

“Second half we were pleased with our heart and determination. We wanted to play a fast tempo game and we did.”

He added: “It’s the end of season and there are some tired bodies out there, but fair play to them (Old Techs), they deserved it.

“We just have to build for next season now.

“If we take that second half performance into next season then we’ll be happy.”

Techs gave away far too many penalties in the first 10 minutes, but OPMs were not able to mount any real attacks. They never got into Techs’ 22 until the 39th minute of the game and by then they were 17-0 down.

The home team took the lead in the 13th minute. After three penalties on the line, Billy Evans, playing at scrum-half, took a quick tap and managed to squeeze over the line for the opening try, which Paul Ansell converted.

Five minutes later Techs made it 12-0 when winger Joel Dicken burst down the left touchline and scored in the corner after Evans had fed him from a scrum 35 metres out.

At this point Techs were dominating all areas of the game, particularly the scrum.

On 24 minutes, Matt Simmonds added a third try in the left corner after Techs went down the blind-side after initially driving in-field from a five-metre line-out.

But in the dying minutes of the half, OPMs finally got into Techs’ 22 and with the last play of the period, Gavin Rae kicked a penalty to reduce the gap to 17-3.

OPMs had some good pressure after the restart but could not make it tell and on 50 minutes, Techs claimed a fourth try when loose-head prop Rudi Baker touch-down from the back of a maul to make it 22-3.

Techs had chances to score a fifth try, but after two five-metre line-outs they eventually opted for goal at the next penalty and Ansell put it over to make it 25-3.

After that it was nearly all OPMs, who were determined to at least finish the match on a high.

With Howell Phillips among the large number of people watching the game, the visitors showed good spirit and in the dying seconds they were rewarded for their efforts with a consolation try from close range by Paul Roberts.

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for the Plymouth Combination side at the Graham Emond Memorial Trophy tournament at Bodmin.

The Combination side, unable to call on players from Techs, OPMs and Saltash due to cup games, narrowly lost 17-12 to the Cornwall Clubs, but were then well beaten by eventual champions Torbay Sharks.

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