Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Tamar Saracens look to reach David Butt Trophy final

Ryan Deacon, Scott Sheldon and Lewis Swatton are all part of Tamar Saracens squad for Saturday’s David Butt Trophy semi-final

TAMAR Saracens will be hoping to book their place in the David Butt Memorial Trophy final on Saturday when they host Devon One rivals Dartmouth at Parkway (3pm).

The winner of the semi-final clash will play either current holders New Cross or South Molton in the final at Barnstaple on October 22.

“We are looking forward to Saturday,” said Tamar Saracens coach Chey Bryce. “I think it is going to be a good test and challenge for us.

“I know they (Dartmouth) lost last week but we don’t know if they rested players.

“We know they have got some good players, so it will be a massive test and we will certainly see where we are.

“I would like to think we have got an advantage playing at home, but we know Dartmouth are good away.

“They have only lost two games in the last year and they were both at home, so that says what sort of side they are away from home.”

Saracens have not been tested in their group games in the competition. They had two massive wins, scoring more than 100 points in their opening two matches, and then had four walkovers.

Devon Junior Cup holders Dartmouth, on the other hand, had tough matches against Old Techs and OPMs in their pool.

Bryce, though, has been happy with the non-competitive fixtures Saracens have played.

“We have had a couple of good tests against the Royal Navy Western Region, a good run out against the Medics and a good club XV game against Plymouth University,” said Bryce.

“We have managed to play some strong fixtures.”

The David Butt Trophy not only offers clubs the chance to pick up some silverware and the opportunity to play at a National League ground, but there is also a place in the RFU Junior Vase up for grabs.

Bryce said: “The David Butt Cup was not a main focus of mine – that’s always been the league – but if we could win on Saturday and get to the final then it would be good for the boys.

“It would mean we would start the season on a high.”

He added:  “We have selected a squad of 22 – lads who know what we are trying to do, know our patterns and systems and have been to training. Hopefully, we are going to be firing on all cylinders.

“We got a good training session in on Tuesday indoors and then a team run on Thursday.”

Saracens are hoping for a good crowd on Saturday. The only two players that are unavailable for them are experienced backs Steve Hodge and Gavin Mann.

LOCKIE CUP

OLD Techs will begin their defence of the Lockie Cup on Saturday when they host Devonport Service IIs in the preliminary round at Weston Mill.

Techs have won the Plymouth Combination cup for the past two seasons, but they know they will face a tough test this weekend against Services, who are without a first team match.

The Weston Mill club have also not been helped by a host of injuries and unavailabilities.

Jack Courtney and Jon Young joined their ever-growing injury list last Saturday suffering serious head injuries in their win over Dartmouth.

“We have got availability problems this week, but we just have to get on with it,” said Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.

“We have got a lot of injuries and we’ve got a wedding that’s taking a lot of players away, but we couldn’t change the date.

“This is the only Lockie Cup game taking place this week. All the other teams are playing on November 18.

“I did ask if we could also play on that day with everyone else but was told ‘no’.”

He added: “We are missing about 15 players and from the team we put out last week, I think we have nine who are unavailable.

“But the players coming in have a chance to show what they can do. It is up to them to put their hands up for a first team place.

“I would like to think we are very interchangeable with our players. They are all training hard so they all know their jobs.

“I think it is going to be a good game. I think our players will be up for it.

“We’ve got Exeter Saracens away in two weeks and there are places and positions up for grabs. The players have to go out and give a good account of themselves.”

Services could have a couple of established players in their side on Saturday.

Matty Anstis is likely to make his comeback against Techs, while Ben McGowan could also feature after missing the last few first team games.

But Bedford-Smith said:  “We can’t worry about who they might or might not put out. We just have to focus on ourselves.

“It will be a tough game, but it will be a tough game for them as well.

“For us it is all about the performance.

“We got a good win and played extremely well last week and we want to carry that on. We might have different players out this weekend, but players can come in and do just as good a job.

“We are holders of the cup, so we can’t be overawed or think people are going to run over us. We are not that kind of a team.

“We want to go out and try and retain the Lockie Cup. We are going to do everything to try and get through to the next round.”

Although there is only one Lockie Cup match this weekend, there are three Ellis Trophy fixtures. Plymstock Albion Oaks IIs will host OPMs IIs, Saltash IIs entertain University of Plymouth IV and Devonport Services IIIs are at home to Tavistock IIs.

DEVON INTERMEDIATE SHIELD

CITY rivals Plymouth Argaum and Plymstock Albion Oaks will meet for the second time in six weeks at Bickleigh Down on Saturday.

Having opened their Cornwall/Devon League season against each other at Roborough, they now face each other in the quarter-finals of the new Devon Intermediate Shield.

When the sides met in early September, Oaks triumphed 26-3, but since then Argaum have found some form, winning three of their last four matches.

They sit eighth in the table, with Oaks, who have only won one of their last four games, ninth.

However, both clubs are set to use Saturday’s cup match to have a look at different players.

“We are hoping to get another one over them,” admitted Oaks coach Callum Cload. “I think a few of the ex-Argaum boys are looking forward to it.

“But we might look at a few more colts and maybe a few players who are coming back from injury or who have not had much game-time or chance to shine.”

Oaks have promoted a number of colts in recent weeks and they have impressed, particularly winger Reegan Spencer,  flanker Alex Thomas and centre Alex Chapman.

“We have dropped senior players to play these colts and they are putting in the performances, which is good competition,” said Cload.

Argaum are also likely to have a look at a few different faces on Saturday.

“We are very fortunate to have a lot of new players and it is possibly a chance to have a look at some alongside a few established players,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman.

“We have got nothing to lose on Saturday.”

Tavistock received a bye in the opening round of the Devon Intermediate Shield.

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