IVYBRIDGE’S three-match winning run came to an end in Berkshire on Saturday as they were beaten 26-20 by league newcomers Maidenhead.
Despite a host of injuries and unavailabilities, Ivybridge looked like they were going to secure victory number four when they led 20-7 at the break thanks to tries by Lewis Paterson and Tom Scoles and 10 points from the boot of Mitch Pinkus.
However, they lost their way in the second period and had to make do with only a losing bonus point.
In an incredibly tight league, where everyone appears to be able to beat everyone, Maidenhead are now fourth with three wins, while Ivybridge, who also have three wins, are down to 10th, level on points with ninth-placed Camborne.
“We had a poor start and conceded a try early on, but we then got into the game really well. As soon as we started moving the ball and producing multi-phases we looked really sharp,” said coach Jamie Tripcony, who was one of the players forced to sit out the match due to injury.
“Half-time we led 20-7 and looked pretty comfortable.
“We did talk at the break about discipline and not giving them field position as they had a strong driving maul game.
“But in the second half we did give them too much field position and they capitalised with their driving maul.”
Ivybridge were unable to call on eight regular first team players for the trip.
Tripcony said: “There were a lot of changes and some the night before and on the morning, but we don’t have any excuses.
“We were still very confident with the squad we had. The boys put in a huge shift away from home and Maidenhead is a tough place to go. They have not lost there for two years.
“We had them on the ropes and we are just frustrated that we let the game slip.
“However, fair play to the boys they did put in a big shift and we will take the losing bonus point.”
He added: “In this league any team on their day can turnover anyone. We’ll make sure we regroup and work hard the next two Tuesday and Thursdays with the intention to make sure we can turnover Brixham at our place in our next game (on October 21).”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services remain top of Western Counties West after beating Crediton 21-15 away on Saturday.
Services could have made the win a lot easier than it was had they been more clinical at Exhibition Way.
“We made hard work of it,” said team manager Kieran Leach. “We should have really scored five more tries, but it was either wrong decisions or bad hands.
“But their defence was very good – they were very physical.
“We knew it would be tough and it was, but luckily we have come away with the win.
“We didn’t get the bonus point – we needed to be more clinical – but it was a hard game.”
Services, dominating the scrums, made a great start and took an early 6-0 lead with a drop-goal and a penalty from Richard West.
Crediton cut that gap in half with a penalty of their own before Rob Ede scored the game’s first try after good work by Rhys Williams to give Services an 11-3 lead at half-time.
The visitors continued to attack second half but Crediton continued to frustrate them with good defence.
However, Devonport did finally get a second try when Joe Daley ran in behind the posts after good work down the blindside by Jack Martin and Adrian Montague following a line-out. West converted the try to make it 18-3.
Crediton hit back with a try of their own before West kicked another penalty to make it 21-8.
Late on the home team were awarded a penalty try after Services kicked the ball out of a five-metre scrum.
SALTASH moved up to second in the table with a 52-0 away win at struggling Torrington.
The Ashes were always in command, but they really did the damage in the second half, with five of their seven tries coming after the break.
Flanker Lewis Wells got the visitors underway with a try after six minutes, with Harrison Reburn converted.
That became 14-0 on 20 minutes when centre Will Morton ran in from the 10-metre line and Reburn again added the extras.
Reburn, who had a fine day with the boot, put over a penalty to put Saltash 17-0 up at the interval.
Number eight Steve Hillman claimed their third try on 55 minutes which Reburn converted.
Winger Tom Martin claimed the bonus point try when he crossed under the posts and Kieran Down converted.
Further tries then followed from Jason Carroll, flanker Phil Eatwell and Ryan Cruickshanks, which were all converted by Downs.
Plymouth Argaum claimed a 23-21 away victory at newly-promoted Wessex by the skin of their teeth on Saturday.
Argaum were trailing 21-16 with six minutes to go, but dug deep and took the lead with a try in the corner by replacement Tom Worboys, which Ali Murray brilliantly converted.
But, having worked so hard to come from behind, Argaum then nearly lost the game in the final few seconds.
With time up on the clock they gave away a penalty almost in front of the posts, 22-metres out. It looked like Wessex were going to claim their first win in the Cornwall/Devon League, but amazingly they hit the post and Argaum took the four points.
That was Argaum’s third win in six games and moves them up to eighth in the table.
“It was a tight win,” said coach Mark Sullivan. “The lads didn’t play the game-plan until the last 10 or so minutes.
“In the first half we completely under-sold ourselves, but in the last 15 or 20 minutes we suddenly upped our game and started getting over the gain-line and started to play the rugby that we can – going wide and scoring tries.”
Wessex were 14-3 up at half-time and 21-10 up with 20 minutes to go.
“Last season I don’t think we would have delivered that win, as we would not have had the mental strength or toughness to keep on going,” said Sullivan.
“What I was really proud about was that there was not any back-biting or anything, everyone played for each other and there was no ill-discipline. They played right to the end.”
He added: “The team do understand that the moment they play the strategy and game they need to play they have got the ability.
“We just need to click and everything will come. I’m hoping the last 20 minutes made them realise what they can do.”
Wessex used their heavy pack well in the first half and two Tom Hayward converted tries put them 14-3 ahead, with Argaum’s only points coming from a Murray penalty.
Andrew Alderman and John Fulton exchanged tries before Murray kicked two penalties to put Argaum just five points behind.
Then Worboys, who had come on at flanker with 20 minutes to go, found himself on the wing and he scored with just over five minutes to go and Murray brilliantly converted from the touchline to win the game.
However, there was not quite so much joy for Argaum’s second team who were beaten 48-12 by the Peninsula Medical School in the Armada League.
Plymstock Albion Oaks felt there were plenty of positives from their performance, despite losing 39-19 way at in-form Wellington.
The Somerset side had scored 144 points in their previous two games and only conceded seven, but Oaks did manage to score three tries against the former Western Counties West outfit, who are coached during the week by Graham Dawe.
“We played good rugby in phases,” said Oaks coach Callum Cload. “We had a good 10-minute spell at the beginning when we scored a try and a 10-minute spell in the second half when we also scored, but to be honest they are probably the best team we have played against.
“They are the most complete squad we have faced – they have athletic forwards and quick backs – and we just lacked a bit on fitness.
“It was a very, very fast-paced game and they just ran us off the park a bit. A few of their tries just came through our lack of fitness – we just couldn’t get across. People knew where they should be but just could not get there.
“But we actually played some good rugby, but the fast-paced really suited them.
“They played very well. We tried to match it, but we just weren’t quite up to their standard on the day.”
He added: “We know what was wrong and we did play some good rugby in patches, it is just about playing that rugby consistently for 80 minutes.”
Oaks actually took the lead with a try by fit-again Cload, but then Wellington came to life and dominated the rest of the half to lead 22-5 at the break.
The visitors did manage two tries in the second period. Colt Alex Chapman made a great break and dummied a Wellington player before putting in fellow teenager Joe Rider to score.
Then Matt Neyle-Opie, playing at scrum-half instead of on the wing, went over after good pressure on the line.
But Oaks could not get a fourth to at least pick up a bonus point.
Tavistock also had a tough trip to one of the league’s promotion-hopefuls. They lost 48-10 at Withycombe, who like Wellington are unbeaten at home.
Tavistock, playing down the slope, did well in the first half and were only 17-10 down.
The visitors, with Jack Glover impressing at scrum-half, were actually 10-7 up midway through the first half with a try by Mark Friend and a conversion and penalty by Ben Hadfield.
But after the interval, Withycombe dominated and scored five unanswered tries.
“We were in the game until half-time, but then we missed too many first-up tackles,” said coach Hammy Kerswill.
“We had poor availability this week so we’ll be glad not to have a first team game this weekend.”
DAVID BUTT MEMORIAL TROPHY
OLD Techs ended their David Butt Trophy campaign on a high with an 11-8 away win at previously unbeaten Dartmouth.
Dartmouth’s only other defeat in the last 12 months had come in March at the hands of Techs at Wessex Way and the Plymouth team managed upset them again.
Although Dartmouth had already guaranteed top spot they were hoping for a confidence boosting performance ahead of next week’s semi-final against Tamar Saracens.
Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith had admitted before Saturday that he had been disappointed with his team’s performance in the cup competition.
However, he was delighted with the way they ended their Pool C campaign.
“A win away from home against a team that hadn’t lost since March and who were Devon Junior Cup holders and Devon Two champions was satisfying,” he said.
“Our defence was superb and that won us the game. In the first half they probably had 90 per cent possession. It was raining and they had the wind and we were under pressure.
“We had to defend and defend but it was only 5-3 at half-time. We knew then that we were in with a chance.
“It did change around second half and we had a lot of possession. A few times we didn’t quite execute when we had good chances, but I can’t fault them on the way they played. It was a big effort from everyone and exactly what I asked for.
“I told them before the game that they needed to start playing. I said it was about the performance this week. They took onboard what I said, which is what you want.
“With the league coming up we needed that performance.
“It was a pleasing, not just because we won but the way we played.”
Ryan Tunnicliffe kicked a first half penalty for Techs, as they trailed 5-3. They then went 8-3 down before forward Danny Bond burst through a number of tackles and managed to run in from 30 metres for a try to level the game.
Tunnicliffe then kicked a penalty to edge Techs 11-8 up with a few a minutes to go and the Weston Mill club were able to see the game out.
OPMs had a walkover against Salcombe in the same group, but their second team did have a 62-0 home win over a combined Techs IIs/Saltash IIIs side.
There was also another walkover for Tamar Saracens in Pool D, this time against St Columba & Torpoint. Saracens’ second team, however, did play in the Armada League, beating Plymouth University IIIs 21-19 away.
In the other Pool D game, Plympton Victoria overcame DHSOB 50-5.
DHSOB were again short of players so Plym Vic agreed to lend them a couple and play a reduced sized game at Stonehouse Creek.
Sam Stockdale scored two tries for Plym Vic, with Jordan Mitchell, Sam Wilmington, Jake Noyce, Jayson Cleverly and Ryan Markwick also crossing. Wilmington kicked the rest of their points.