TAMAR Saracens narrowly missed out on reaching the David Butt Trophy final.
The Ernesettle-based club lost 17-14 to Devon One rivals Dartmouth in Saturday’s semi-final at the Parkway.
Saracens paid for a poor first half, which saw them trail 17-0 at the break.
They did dominate the second period, but could not quite snatch victory.
They did have the chance to take the game into extra-time when they were awarded a penalty inside the 22 in the last minute. However, rather than attempt a kick at goal, they went for the corner and lost the line-out.
“It was definitely a game of two halves.”
He added: “A few bad decisions from the referee didn’t help us and also a few decisions that we made in the second half didn’t help, ie going for the corner instead of going for a scrum or the posts.”
However, Bryce felt his team lost the game in the first half.
“We just didn’t turn up,” he said. “It is frustrating because when we played the Western Region navy side we went 17-0 behind as we did in this game and in both matches we came back only to lose by three. We obviously have the fitness and can play a full 80 minutes, but we don’t seem to be starting games as we need to.
“It is just little things and we have to take those on board. We have a massive two weeks now before we play New Cross away.”
Saracens had a good couple of minutes from kick-off but couldn’t make it tell and after that Dartmouth dominated the rest of the opening 40 minutes.
The South Hams side took the lead with a penalty from Jack Clark on 10 minutes and only brilliant defence by Saracens stopped the visitors scoring a try from a line-out five minutes later.
Eventually, Dartmouth’s pressure did tell with their captain John Dingle scoring from close range on 20 minutes.
They then added a second try on 38 minutes from a scrum. Dingle did well before he unselfishly put fellow forward Alex Parrott in to score. Clark converted to make it 17-0.
But the game turned on its head at half-time and it was Saracens who dominated.
They got themselves back in the cup tie on 58 minutes when Frazer Tatchell scored a great try down the left wing, which teenager Lewis Swatton brilliantly converted.
And four minutes later they added a second try when Mike Cox got the ball down following a line-out. Swatton again converted.
On 77 minutes, Saracens got a penalty on halfway. They clearly thought it was too far out to go for goal and went for the line-out but lost the ball.
Then in the last minute they got another penalty, this time inside the 22 on the right-hand side. They tried to play advantage but could not make it tell and went back for the penalty. Surprisingly, though, they opted for another line-out when three points would have taken the game into extra-time.
And much to the home supporters’ frustration, Saracens lost the line-out and Dartmouth were eventually able to clear and set up a final against South Molton.
OLD Techs’ two-year hold on the Lockie Cup is over after they were beaten 27-12 by a strong Devonport Services second team at Weston Mill.
Despite missing a host of players due to injury and unavailability, Techs battle hard and had their fair share of Saturday’s game, with their pack particularly impressing.
But Services extra class, especially in the backs, saw them out-score their hosts five tries to two.
“We were more clinical,” admitted Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“We didn’t attack that well, but when we got into positions we were clinical.
“They had the edge in the scrum and pushed us back quite a few times. It was a good, physical game.
“They didn’t look out of place and really took it to us. We’re just glad to get through.”
Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith said: “I was disappointed we lost, but not with the effort, especially given the disruption we had due to availability problems and injuries. We battled hard and didn’t give up.
“We did have a lot of pressure but didn’t execute it into points, whereas when they had any sniffs they scored. That’s the difference between the levels. When teams have quality players in their side they usually take their chances.”
He added: “Given the team we had out and the amount of people playing out of position I thought we did really well.
“They all tried and gave it their all. We just lacked that bit of quality really in the last third.
“They had players who have played at a higher league and it showed a bit.”
Services were quickly off the mark with Luke Lomas scoring from a line-out in the opening two minutes.
Tim Weale then went over in the corner for Devonport, while Fijian prop Mika Waka added their third try in the first half.
Techs’ only points in the opening 40 minutes came from a try by Phil Ingleson as they trailed 15-5 at the interval.
The experienced Matty Anstis scored Services’ fourth try, with Ben Wadham their fifth. Anstis converted their final try – his only successful kick of the day.
Techs did add another try from Ingleson in the second half.
DEVON INTERMEDIATE SHIELD
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks progressed through to the semi-finals of the Devon Intermediate Shield after beating city rivals Plymouth Argaum 29-14 at Bickleigh Down.
Oaks had to overcome the dismissal of Brett Tunnicliffe, who was red carded on 45 minutes for an off-the-incident.
“We said we had to play 35 minutes with 14 men and it was time to show some character,” said player-coach Callum Cload.
“It was almost like a motivator and we picked it up and scored three tries after that.”
It was the second time in six weeks Oaks had beaten Argaum at Bickleigh Down, having triumphed 26-3 on the opening day of the Cornwall/Devon League season.
Both clubs, though, enjoyed not having the pressure of league points at stake on Saturday.
“We went out, wiped out the game-plan and just said ‘let’s just play some rugby’,” said Cloud.
“We took it to them. It was chaos but it worked.”
Argaum used the match to have a look at a lot of different players, including a number of youngsters.
“Overall we did all right but they were the more organised side,” admitted Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman after the match.
“They (Oaks) defended really well, full credit to them. The last 10 minutes we pushed and pushed but they just smashed in the tackles.”
Oaks led 10-0 at the break with a converted try by man-of-the-match Tim Coats from a turned over line-out and a penalty.
Argaum hit back straight after the break with a try by John Fulton after a good break by Ryan Chivers.
However, following that score Brett Tunnicliffe was given his marching orders.
But Oaks responded with a try from a driving maul by Kirk Tunnicliffe before Cload and Matt Neyle-Opie also touched down.
Argaum’s second try came from Richard Luscombe.