Rugby

Ivybridge happy to take on extra pre-season fixture against Services

IVYBRIDGE coach Lewis Paterson was more than happy to add an extra match to their pre-season programme.

The Bridgers will now take on Western Counties West side Devonport Services on Thursday evening at Cross-in-Hand (7.30pm) as well as Cullompton on Saturday (2.30pm).

Services, who played Brixham and Tavistock in a three-way fixture last Saturday, were looking for a game this weekend.

Ivybridge could not play on Saturday as they had already arranged to take on Cullompton, but felt their squad was big enough to cope with two games in three days.

“I have a lot of respect for Mike Lewis and the Devonport lads and I’d like to think they also have for Ivybridge,” said Paterson. “We are happy to help them out and also we’ll gain a lot from it as well.

“We will be playing players who are unavailable on Saturday. It works for us as we are able to give boys game-time.

“Hopefully, both teams will benefit a lot from it.”

Paterson says the Thursday and Saturday squads will be similar strengths.

“It will be two quite even squads,” he said. “It’s a joy for me and Trips (fellow coach Jamie Tripcony) to have so many players to be able to do that.

“It’s good that we have lots of games so that people can get game-time, but people are not going to have to play every single minute.

“We have a big squad to rotate from and we’d like to carry that into the season.”

He added: “It’s difficult to say one team is a first team or a second. It’s just opportunities for players.”

Ivybridge have strengthened their squad from last season with the arrival of young forwards Robin Luscombe,  Ben Logan, Aidan Taylor and scrum-half Sean Disney.

Many of the club’s colts from last season have also been promoted into the senior squad, like scrum-half Jay Toogood, while a number of injured or unavailable players from last term have returned to action.

Disney is their latest arrival and he has joined from fellow South West Premier (aka National Three South West) side Hornets.

“He’s done really well,” said Paterson. “He’s a really good player with a high skill set. It’s a joy to have players like that come in. He’s an established National Three player and he will bring healthy competition at scrum-half.

“We’ve got Jay Toogood and Ben Watts and Matt Grieveson can also slot in at scrum-half. All of them are doing really well and the best thing is they are all unique – they are all very different scrum-halves and we are blessed to have them at our club.”

After Services and Cullompton, Ivybridge will then take on National League sides Taunton and Plymouth Albion before opening their season at last year’s runners-up Dings Crusaders.

Meanwhile, there will also be Thursday rugby at Horsham Fields, where Cornwall/Devon League side Plymstock Albion Oaks will host Devon One outfit Tamar Saracens (7.30pm).

Oaks had mixed fortunes last weekend. Their first team lost 33-12 to higher league Kingsbridge, but their second team beat Plympton Victoria 40-13.

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