RUGBY ROUND-UP: Ivybridge and Services both let big leads slip against Devon rivals

IVYBRIDGE remain winless in the South West Premier League after throwing away a 26-9 half-time lead against Devon rivals Exmouth.

The Bridgers scored four unanswered tries in the opening 40 minutes, but then shot themselves in the foot after the interval to lose 40-29.

Credit to Exmouth for coming back in the way they did at Cross-in-Hand, but Ivybridge’s indiscipline opened the door for Jon Hill’s side.

The home team picked up three yellow cards in the second 40 minutes and gave away a penalty try.

“You can try and sugar-coat it all you want, but we threw away the second half,” said player-coach Lewis Paterson.

“It was all us. Take nothing away from Exmouth, they came out with a simple game-plan and did things well, but we just completely imploded.

“We gave away penalties, we rushed everything and just did not execute our second half game-plan.

“Our errors absolutely killed us and it was a real shame.”

It had been so positive for the home side in first half, with Ivybridge scoring four good tries.

“At least we got a point,” said Paterson. “But we need to be hard on ourselves.

“That was a good side that we put out and that showed in the first half, but we absolutely fizzled in the second half.

“We didn’t make good decisions, we gave so many penalties away and they just killed us.

“We’ll take it very hard, because that’s two losses in a row, but there is definitely no need to panic.

“We definitely improved from last week, but there’s still things that need looking at to make sure it is better.”

Ivybridge opened the scoring with a fine try under the posts by Damon Akerman after a well-worked move from a five-metre line-out. Mitch Pinkus added the simple conversion.

Exmouth cut that gap with two Tom Whelan penalties before Mitch Pinkus scored Ivybridge’s second try after Akerman had come close seconds earlier. That made it 12-6.

Another Whelan penalty cut that lead to three points before a crucial moment in the game.

Ivybridge full-back Tom Scoles was taken out in the air by Exmouth wing Henry Goldson as he went to gather a high kick.

Fortunately for Goldson, Scoles got to his feet quickly and, after taking time to think about his decision, the referee opted to only show the Exmouth man a yellow card.

From the penalty, Ivybridge did score. They went for the corner and from the line-out went inside and there was Paterson to score on the right. Mitch Pinkus converted well.

Pinkus did miss a penalty five minutes later but on the stroke of half-time, Ivybridge bagged the bonus point when Billy Pinkus put Jordan Anderton away and he ran in from 40-metres to score in the right corner. Mitch Pinkus again converted well.

But within the space of a minute of the second half, Ivybridge were reduced to 14 men when Akerman was yellow carded.

Eight minutes later Anderton also followed him into the sin-bin and Exmouth made them pay with a try by Goldson after intense pressure on the line.

Mitch Pinkus did kick a penalty on 55 minutes to put his side 29-16 up but that was as good as it got for the home team second half.

Exmouth, with former National One player Whelan now at fly-half dictating operations and their forwards getting on top, scored three tries in a match-winning 10 minutes.

First Charlie Gibbings crossed from close range before Nick Halse scored from a dive and Whelan converted to put Exmouth in front for the first time.

Then on the 70th minute Exmouth were awarded a penalty try and Ivybridge had Billy Pinkus sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on. That made it 37-29 to the visitors.

Ivybridge did have one chance to score second half when Paterson broke but he did not quite have the speed to get to the line and he was unable to off-load to Akerman.

And, with the last play of the game, Whelan kicked a penalty to seal a great comeback win for his team.


DEVONPORT Services also let a good lead slip as they narrowly lost 36-34 at Torquay Athletic.

Services, fresh from their 46-10 home win over Tiverton, made a great start at the Recreation Ground and were 17-0 up after just 11 minutes.

Captain Matt Gregory got them off to a flyer when he finished off a good break involving Rhys Williams and Callum Perkins. Richard West converted.

Williams added a second try not long later after good handling by the backs and then West scored a third on 11 minutes.

“But then we just let them back in,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “We just weren’t making our tackles in midfield

“We also lost it through giving away too many penalties.”

John Woodhead got Torquay off the mark with a try.  James Wood converted that and also added a penalty to close the gap to 17-10.

Services, who had been forced to make six changes to their team that had beaten Tiverton, then should have scored but dropped the ball on the line.

And Torquay took advantage to score two late first half tries through Wood and Chris Robson-Close to go in at the break 22-17 up.

Services came back and went 29-22 in front with debut score for Plymouth University forward Ben Morris, after Torquay had been reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes, and a second from Gregory.

But back came the Tics, coach by former Albion and Bristol fly-half Ed Barnes. They levelled the match at 29-29 with a try by Aaron Graham.

However, once again Services looked like they were going to take the game when Gregory completed his hat-trick with a try in the corner to make it 34-29.

Services, though, were reduced to 14 men late on and from the resultant penalty Woodhead scored from a line-out and Wood converted.

“It was very frustrating,” added Leach. “To score six tries you would expect to win, but unfortunately our defence let us down.

“We didn’t stick to our patterns like we had against Tiverton.

“We may be hard on ourselves but we set our standards high.”


MARK FRIEND scored four tries as Tavistock got their home campaign off to a winning start with an impressive 38-0 victory over Pirates Amateurs.

It was a good day for Tavistock, whose seconds and colts also won at Sandy Park on Saturday.

The home team had the wind advantage first half and took a 20-0 lead at the break.

The dangerous Friend, playing at fly-half, got two, with young debutant forward Ash Miller also crossing and Ben Hadfield adding a conversion and a penalty.

Second half, Hadfield added another penalty before Tavistock scored three more tries, with Friend going over for two more and scrum-half Jack Glover finishing off a 12-phase effort.

Coach Hammy Kerswill was delighted with the win and the performance.

“We were very clinical,” said Kerswill.

“We also didn’t lose a set piece again this week, which was good.

“The plan of being more structured this year is working.”

Kerswill was particularly pleased with the club’s five young debutants Miller, Callum Dewson, Ethan Lamerton, Ben Milligan and Theo Cousins.

Cousins is going away to university next week and Dewson at the end of his month, but the club hope they will be available during the holidays.

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks coach Callum Cload had mixed feeling about his side’s 14-14 draw away at Withycombe.

In a game affected by a strong wind, Oaks found themselves 14-0 down at half-time, but then dominated the second half and could have snatched victory right at the end with a long-range penalty.

Afterwards Cload said: “I think in terms of the league and with Withycombe’s potential and the standards they usually set – they always finish in the top four – for us to come out with a draw at their place is phenomenal really.

“Looking back it was a good draw in that sense, but a bad one in that we did dominant possession for most of the second half. We squandered a few chances, but the boys are learning every week.

“There was a wind that dominated play. We defended pretty much for the whole of the first half and let in two tries to go 14-0 down.

“But the boys showed loads of character. They really switched on after half-time and attacked with some real menace and purpose.”

Oaks put flying winger Matt Neyle Opie at scrum-half in the second half and he caused problems.

He had a hand in their first try, which was scored by man-of-the-match George Hamblin.

Andy Porter got the second try before Oaks could have snatched it with a late penalty.

“We were a little bit gutted, but it was a difficult kick,” said Cload.

SALTASH are the early leaders of the Cornwall/Devon League after claiming a second successive bonus point win, this time at home against Plymouth Argaum.

The Ashes, having put 50 points on the Pirates Amateurs away in their opening game, overcome a stubborn Argaum side 40-17.

However, Argaum gave the promotion-hopefuls a bit of a scare at Moorlands Lane.

The Bickleigh Down side led 17-5 at half-time and there was only two points between the sides with 15 minutes to play.

But Saltash scored three late tries to seal what will look on paper a comfortable win.

“For 65 minutes we were the better team,” said Argaum coach Mark Albiston. “It was 19-17 to Saltash at 65 minutes, but that was the first time they had been ahead.

“We played some really good rugby and I think they were definitely rattled.

“Before the match the quote was ‘let’s just go over and enjoy it’ as we all expect Saltash will be pushing for promotion at the end of the season.

“I think people were expecting them to put 60-odd points on us like they did last season.

“But we moved on so much from last week. The boys were phenomenal. The cohesion is going from strength to strength and we are getting more and more at training. It really is all starting to come together at Argaum again.”

Argaum’s first half tries came from Ryan Chivers, Kevin Sidebottom and Jake Turfey, with Steve Hillman touching down for the Ashes.

After the interval  Lewis Wells and Will Morton scored to make it 19-17 before Conor Cooper, Ryan Cruickshanks and Ryan Rayner scored late touch-downs.


FOR the second week running OPMs came close to beating higher league opposition in Pool C of the David Butt Trophy.

Last week they lost 18-10 away at Old Techs and on Saturday they were narrowly beaten 22-15 at home by last season’s Devon Two champions Dartmouth.

OPMs, who dominated the scrums, were actually leading going into the final 10 minutes but a late try and penalty secured Dartmouth their second successive victory.

Both teams scored two tries in the first half, with Andy Sincock and Martin Skelley scoring fine individual efforts for OPMs and Jake Wedgewood and John Dingle crossing for Dartmouth, who converted both to lead 14-12 at the interval.

Gavin Rae put OPMs ahead after the break with a penalty before a late try by Declan Hammond put Dartmouth 19-15 up. With the last play of the game, Luke Chase kicked a penalty for the visitors.

Afterwards OPMs captain Henry Matthews said: “There were a huge amount of positives. Our line-out was sorted from last week and our scrum was really good, we were really happy with that.

“We have said we are viewing this cup competition as a warm-up for the league so from that point of view we are very happy.

“Everyone put in a massive performance and we played some really good rugby, particularly first half playing into the wind.

“But as we said to the boys at the end, we have to start turning these near misses into wins, if we want to really push on.

“It is about getting that mind-set. You look at England and they have it now – they can play badly and still win – and Dartmouth had that winning mentality on Saturday.”

Old Techs should have played Salcombe away also in Pool C on Saturday but the home team conceded the match.

In Pool D, Tamar Saracens claimed a century of points for the second week running.

In their opening game, Sarries had beaten an depleted DHSOB 141-7, in a fixture that only lasted 60 minutes.

This week they overcame Plympton Victoria 121-8 in a full 80 minute contest.

Sarries, though, had a lot of praise for Plym Vic.

“To be fair, they did put up a fight and did have an actual team,” said Saracens coach Chey Bryce.

“It was a competitive game, but we unlocked their defence quite well. However, they did compete right to the end. They never gave up.

“As I said beforehand it was not about the scoreline, it was about the performance and the boys stepped up and we played our patterns. Yeah, we have things to work on but that’s the same as everyone.”

Bryce was particularly pleased with the performance of teenage flanker Scott Cooper, who scored two tries.

Among their other scorers were Fraser Tatchell (4), Ryan Deacon (3) and Dan Best (2).

DHSOB did fulfil and win their fixture away at St Columba & Torpoint on Saturday but they owed that to help from OPMs.

OPMs lent DHSOB their second team squad to play the game at Defiance Field and they enjoyed a 21-12 win.

Saints were 12-7 up at the break but the visitors came back in the second period to claim the win.

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