IVYBRIDGE suffered a third straight defeat when they were beaten 41-24 by high-flying Newton Abbot at Rackerhayes on Saturday.
The Bridgers played better than they had the week before against Brixham, but Newton Abbot pulled away in the closing stages to claim their seventh win in eight South West Premier matches.
The All Whites’ only defeat so far this term has been at the hands of leaders Dings Crusaders.
The home team did take an early 12-0 lead, with tries by Rob and Ollie Avery-Wright.
But Ivybridge pulled level with tries by Sam Kingscott and Mitch Pinkus, who also converted his own.
The hosts went 26-12 ahead with touch downs by Rob Avery-Wright and Kyle Browne before Ivybridge responded again with a long-range score by Tom Scoles. That made the half-time score 26-17.
Newton Abbot went 33-17 in front with a Luke Kenny converted try, but Ivybridge then put the pressure on. The home team were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes when Max Snowden was sin-binned and the Bridgers got a fourth try courtesy of Ben Watts to give them hope.
But a Rob Avery-Wright penalty provided Newton with some breathing space before Cameron Fogden scored a late try to make the win look more comfortable for the hosts than it was.
“We did play a lot better than last week,” said player-coach Jamie Tripcony. “We scored four tries, which is a positive for us. We then went after that second bonus point, but fair play to those boys they played really well.
“They play a good style of rugby, which is pretty open and is hard to defend at times.
“Full credit to them; they are not where they are in the table for not playing well.
“We will knuckle down and train hard this week and prepare as well as we can for Bournemouth at home.”
Ivybridge stay in 11th spot in a tight league, where everyone has lost at least three of their eight opening games apart from the top two.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
LEADERS Devonport Services produced a stunning opening 25 minutes of rugby before taking their foot of the pedal against league newcomers Falmouth at the Rectory.
Services comfortably won the game 33-10 to move two points clear at the top of the table, but four of their five tries came early in the game.
“We played great for the first half-an-hour, but then it became a scrappy affair,” said team manager Kieran Leach.
“We had the bonus point (for scoring four tries) after just 23 minutes. We played some really good stuff, but then just sat back a little bit and gave away an horrendous amount of penalties.”
Fortunately for Services, Falmouth could not take advantage of the amount of penalties they gave away and a couple of yellow cards the home team picked up late in the match.
Devonport, who dominated the scrums, could not have asked for a better start, with right winger Ben Wadham scoring in the corner after just one minute and 40 seconds following a good carry through the middle by Matt Gregory.
Wadham had stepped in at short notice last week to play scrum-half and impressed enough to secure himself a place in the side again.
Richard West brilliantly converted his try out wide to put Services 7-0 up.
Falmouth picked up a harsh yellow card on five minutes but Services could not really make it tell. However, they did eventually get a second try on 12 minutes when Wadham scored again after Falmouth completely messed up a line-out in their own 22 after they had pushed Eddie McGingley into touch to stop him scoring. The visitors threw the ball straight to Joe Daley and Services spread it wide quickly to where Wadham was waiting to make it 12-0.
Falmouth did reduce the gap to 12-3 with a Justin Irons penalty but that was soon followed by a third try from Services. Brandon Andrews did well to feed Toby Knowles, who burst through two weak tackles to score under the posts. West added the easy conversion.
Two minutes later, Devonport had the bonus point in the bag. They turned Falmouth over at a scrum and Adrian Montague made a good break before the ball came to Ty Colwill to score under the posts for an easy conversion.
That made it 26-3, which was how it stayed until early in the second half.
Services gave away a host of penalties at the start of the second period, but Falmouth did not take advantage.
The visitors struggled to clear their lines and eventually Matt Gregory picked up a loose ball and ran in under the posts. West again converted to make it 33-3.
But after that Services totally lost their way. Justin Irons scored a try and conversion for the Cornish side. However, that was as good as it got for the visitors, despite Services having Colwill and Andy Ponds sin-binned.
SALTASH bounced back from their defeat against Wellington last week in style by hammering bottom side Wessex 82-14 at Flowerpot Field.
That was by far Saltash’s biggest win of the season and keeps them in third spot, level on points with second-placed Wellington.
The top four in the division – Penryn, Wellington, Saltash and Honiton – are separated by just five points and do have a bit of a gap on the rest.
Despite their massive win in Exeter, Saltash did not make the best of starts and went behind. After the home team had a series of five-metre scrums they were awarded a penalty try on 10 minutes to take a 7-0 lead.
But the Ashes were soon up and running and five minutes later hooker Adam Coutts scored their opening try, which Harrison Reburn converted to level the match.
And, before Wessex knew what had happened, Saltash were 19-7 in front with two tries within minutes from full-back Ryan Cruickshanks.
As Saltash’s confidence grew, Wessex’s diminished and the game soon became one-way traffic.
The visitors ended up going in at half-time 33-7 ahead with converted tries by Olly Mulberry and Sam Snell.
Saltash continued the second half where they left off in the first. Number eight Steve Hillman added their sixth try before flanker Lewis Wells also went over. Hillman added a second to make it 54-7 before Wessex managed one of their own through Dean Meldon.
But that was a rare attack for Wessex and Saltash scored further tries through Snell, Crofts, Cruickshanks and Jason Carroll. Reburn converted 10 or Saltash’s 11 tries.
Saltash were the only Plymouth Combination side to win in the Cornwall/Devon League on Saturday.
Plymstock Albion Oaks, Plymouth Argaum and Tavistock all suffered disappointing away losses.
Tavistock were the latest team to be over-run by in-form Wellington, who have now beaten all four Plymouth Combination sides in consecutive league games.
They were too strong for Tavistock, winning 59-0.
Tavvy did hold their own for 20 minutes in Somerset, but after Wellington scored two quick tries the game became one-sided.
Wellington ended up going in at half-time 26-0 up with four tries in the opening 40 minutes, including a hat-trick by Nev Pitman. After the interval the home team added five more tries.
“We were very poor after the first 20 minutes,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill.
“We held them until then, but a couple of tries and our heads went.
“We really struggle to maintain focus and belief after conceding.
“We have to move on to next week now, but ultimately we need a bit more commitment and want from the lads when we play a team that is above us in the league.”
Plymouth Argaum were disappointed not to come away with any points from 11th-placed Hayle on Saturday.
Argaum, again without some key players, lost 29-5 in Cornwall. They only really threatened in the last 20 minutes when Brian Williams, making his first start for the club, scored.
“We didn’t get off the bus really,” said Argaum coach Mark Sullivan. “We gave them some penalties and they kicked nine points and then leaked a couple of tries.
“That was because we did not hit the gain-line when we had possession and when they had it we didn’t knock them back.
“We were too kind, too friendly and too cuddly with them.
“But suddenly in the last 20 minutes, the team have thought ‘hang on’ and we’ve starting to play our game.
“I’ve brought John Ireland on, who we had been trying to rest, but he came on and started breaking the line and we started playing our game – driving and spinning the ball wide – and we scored a try.
“The team have got the skills, the drills, the cohesion, the understanding, but they just played like they wanted to cuddle everybody. They just need to be a bit spikier.”
He added: “The disappointing thing is this week and last (against Bude) were winnable games.
“We could have had another eight points on what we have got – I do honestly believe that.”
There was also frustration for Plymstock Albion Oaks, who lost 21-17 away at Bude.
The home team’s pack and strong set piece game laid the platform for their victory.
Oaks went 3-0 up with a penalty by Tom Richards and the game stayed that way until just before half-time when Bude got their first try.
Early in the second half Oaks found themselves 21-3 down before mounting a comeback.
Plymstock’s pressure saw Bude pick up two yellow cards and Oaks nearly managed to turn the game around with tries by Corey Jamieson and Ollie Whitfield.
OLD Techs were unable to begin life in Devon One with a victory. They narrowly lost 28-20 away at Exeter Saracens after paying for a slow start.
Techs, newly-promoted into the league, found themselves 21-0 down early on but responded. Both teams scored four tries apiece, but Exeter were able to convert theirs to win.
“We did the Old Techs special and gave them a 21-0 lead,” said chairman David Evans. “It was three tries to one first half to them and then three tries to one second half to us.
“It was just a real poor start that cost us.
“We are a bit gutted as it’s a game we could have won, but we didn’t.
“But it was an away game and they have to come down to us and there were a lot of positives in the second half.”
Techs had Jack Courtney scoring their first half try. Phil Ingleson added two in the second period with Neil Herbert also collecting one to at least give Techs a bonus point.
Meanwhile, Tamar Saracens will be facing disciplinary action after their match at New Cross was abandoned in the first half following a mass brawl at Five Lanes.
Saracens were trailing by one score when one of their forwards was shown a red card for striking.
At the next restart there was another incident that led to tempers flaring and players, officials and spectators all got involved.
PLYMPTON Victoria got their league season off to a fine start with a 47-3 victory over a spirited DHSOB side at Stonehouse Creek on Saturday.
DHSOB may have lost, but they were just pleased to have been able to get a team together after all their problems in recent months.
They managed to get 17 players out, with seven stepping up from their colts team.
The mix-and-match side, who had never played with each other, battled hard and held Plym Vic for most of the first half, but two quick tries by the impressive Sam Stockdale just before the break changed the game.
Stockdale was the key man for Plym Vic and a thorn in DHSOB’s side all afternoon.
Sam Willmington gave Plym Vic an early 3-0 lead with a penalty. Stockdale had a try ruled out for foot in touch on 19 minutes but two minutes later the visitors did get their opening try when Nathan Couzens touched down from close range. Willmington added the conversion.
DHSOB did come close to scoring a try when Jake Kimber broke through, only to be stopped by a great last-gasp tackle. The home team, though, did get a penalty, which Joe Lynch successfully kicked on 26 minutes.
But with half-time approaching Stockdale showed his class. He scored a fine try in the left corner after good Plym Vic play from a line-out on the opposite side. Then he scored a great individual effort. After Plym Vic had turned the ball over on halfway, it came out to Stockdale, who kicked over the DHSOB defence and won the race to gather and score. That made it 20-3 at half-time.
Couzens scored a second try in the opening couple of minutes of the second half, although DHSOB were convinced he had knocked the ball on as he grounded it.
Five minutes later Stockdale broke through again. He looked certain to score but unselfishly off-loaded to centre partner Jordan Mitchell to touch-down.
Jason Cleverley charged down a DHSOB attempted clearance kick to add try number six for Plym Vic, before Dan Warne touched down from close range.
The final word went to Mitchell, who finished off a fine team try from a scrum on 74 minutes.
“Some players were out of position, but we had a bit of shape and played some good stuff on occasions.”
There was disappointment for promotion hopefuls OPMs, who lost 22-12 away at North Tawton.
North Tawton were relegated from Devon One and are keen to return to the higher league.
There was not a lot between the teams, but OPMs paid for too many missed tackles.
The first half was tight, with North Tawton just edging it 12-7. Mark Hardie scored OPMs’ only try in the opening 40 minutes, with Sam Matts adding the conversion.
Hardie also scored after the interval but it was not enough to return from their long trip with any points.
There was also disappointment for St Columba & Torpoint, who were beaten 69-0 away at Buckfastleigh.
The Ramblers are expected to be pushing for promotion along with OPMs and North Tawton and they showed their class by scoring 12 tries.