IVYBRIDGE have slipped into the bottom three of the South West Premier League after losing 51-39 to high-flying Bournemouth at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
It was a fourth consecutive loss for the Bridgers, whose current bad injury luck continued with forward Pete Abraham breaking his thumb in this weekend’s game.
Abraham is now set to miss the rest of the season as he requires an operation. The previous week winger Tom Scoles was also ruled out for the remainder of the campaign after injuring his shoulder against Newton Abbot.
Ivybridge, still without the influential Alex Hall, paid for a poor start on Saturday. They found themselves 29-3 down after 30 minutes.
They did come back and scored six tries, but third-place Bournemouth ended the afternoon with seven to take a full five points back to Dorset.
Sam Kingscott (2), Ben Watts, Charlie Briant, Lewis Paterson and Billy Pinkus scored Ivybridge’s tries, but it was their defence that once again cost them.
“It was very disappointing,” said player-coach Paterson. “We went 26-0 down – we couldn’t have asked for a worse start.
“It was such a shame really as we fought back and did well, but it was just poor defence.
“It’s not that our lads can’t tackle, I just think sometimes it’s the shape – we get disjointed with some guys making indecisive decisions.
“You can’t fault the lads’ efforts or question their heart. Everyone is putting in 100 per cent. But sometimes it is not just about heart, you also need to be smart.
“We scored 39 points but shifted 50. I said before the game that our defence will either win us or lose us the game.
“We are also having some bad luck. Pete Abraham broke his thumb in the game and we’ve just learnt he’ll be out for the season.
“It is just one of those seasons where we are having some tough luck, but the good thing is none of the lads are letting it get to them.
“We just have to keep working as a unit and make sure these losses aren’t negative learning processes – they have to be positive learning processes. Our young players coming through have to understand why we lost, where we went wrong and how to correct it.”
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services were relatively happy to pick up a 20-20 draw away at Wadebridge Camels on Saturday.
Although they have been edged off top spot by St Austell, who have a better points difference, Services know that come the end of the season it could prove to be two points gained, rather than two dropped.
Wadebridge are unbeaten at home this season and Services historically have a poor record at the Cornish club.
“To come away without a defeat is great,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “It must be at least 10 years ago since we last won down there and we had a lot of disruption during the game.
“But we could have won it – both teams could have.
“However, come April that could be a good two points, as I don’t think too many teams are going to get anything from down there.
“Wadebridge are strong at home. They were good up front and their defence was good.”
Services made a good start and put pressure on from the kick-off and after two minutes Richard West gave them the lead with a drop-goal.
However, six minutes later Wadebridge scored the game’s first try to go 5-3 ahead.
The visitors, playing down the slope first half, hit back and West scored a fine try in the corner after picking the ball up on the halfway line. The Services fly-half also added the conversion from the touchline.
But Wadebridge scored a second try in the 34th minute to go 12-10 in front and Services also had Sam Bennett sin-binned on the stroke of half-time.
However, despite being a man down, Services scored early in the second period with left wing Toby Knowles touching down to make it 15-12.
Wadebridge drew level with a penalty before Services lost both West and Knowles with injuries.
They were already without the likes of Rhys Williams and Max Venables, so Eddie McGinley went to fly-half and number eight Matt Gregory switched to centre.
Services really pressed but could not get over the whitewash and they found themselves behind after gifting Wadebridge a try.
The visitors were awarded a penalty inside the Camels’ 22, but instead of going for goal or a line-out they tried to take a tap penalty and the ball was intercepted and Wadebridge ran the length of the field to score in the corner.
But Devonport did not let their heads go down and kept pounding Wadebridge’s line and five minutes from time replacement Kyle Holden scored in the corner with his first real touch.
With West off the field, Services could not convert. In the dying seconds, Wadebridge got a penalty but went for the corner and could not make it tell.
TAVISTOCK continued their 100 per cent home record this season with a 38-8 win over struggling Wessex at Sandy Park on Saturday.
The west Devon club have picked up a maximum 20 points from their four home games to date, scoring 134 points in the process and only conceding 13.
However, they did find themselves 8-3 behind early in the first half on Saturday.
But they managed to go in at the break 9-8 up with three Ben Hadfield penalties.
Tavistock then took command of the game in the second period.
They really came out firing after half-time. Colt Jack Easton went over in the corner and then scrum-half Jack Glover got three tries in a row all from 20-plus metres out. His third came after charging down a kick.
The home side then capped an impressive half with second-row Ash Miller going over with the last play of the game.
Coach Hammy Kerswill admitted his team was ‘quite poor first half’ but he was pleased they found their form second half. He was also pleased with his team’s set piece, which again was dominant.
Plymstock Albion Oaks are another team enjoying home comforts.
They returned to winning ways after losing at Bude last week by overcoming Hayle 30-17 at Horsham Fields.
That was their third successive home victory and came after a dominant first half display.
Oaks were 20-0 up at the break, thanks to two tries from Tom Richards after good play by Corey Jamieson and a touch-down in the corner by Joe Rider.
Hayle came back after half-time with tries by captain Rob Goodman and outside centre Doug Arnull, with TJ Farrell kicking two conversions and a penalty.
Oaks, though, regrouped and after a number of phases Matt Neyle-Opie scored their all-important fourth try out wide before Andy Porter collected number five.
“It was a much-needed win for us,” said Oaks coach Callum Cload. “It’s given us confidence to play the rugby we have been practicing.
“First half it all clicked and we went 20-0 up. After the break we switched off for 15 minutes allowing Hayle to score two quick tries.
“But this spurred us to step up and be more clinical, something we have be guilty of not being in previous games.”
He added: “Overall, I was much happier to have five points, but we still are too frantic at times and our discipline has slipped off from the start of the season. It’s always nice to win and have areas to improve on.”
Saltash stay third, level on points with second-placed Wellington, after a 35-20 home win over Bude.
Bude went in front twice early on before Saltash went 9-8 up with three penalties from Harrison Reburn.
Ollie Mulberry then scored a try from outside his 22 after taking a quick tap penalty. Reburn converted to make it 16-8.
From the next restart Ryan Cruickshanks added a second try to make it 21-8 before Bude claimed a second try.
Liall Honey then scored his first senior try for Saltash to increase their advantage to 28-13, but Bude, with their strong pack, refused to lie down and closed to within eight points with a penalty try.
The Ashes, though, got a decisive fourth try through prolific Will Morton.
Argaum, who scrummed really well, did match their higher placed visitors for large parts of the game but paid for conceding two poor tries within four minutes early in the second half.
Honiton, led by former Leeds and Jersey forward Nathan Hannay, played down the slope in the first period and started strongly.
They were 8-0 up after 11 minutes with Ben Webber kicking a penalty and Hannay helping to make a try for his back-row colleague Josh Rice.
But after weathering pressure in the opening 15 minutes, Argaum then got into the game.
On 26 minutes, Ali Murray kicked a penalty from the halfway line to cut the gap to 8-3.
He could have put Argaum in front but he missed two more kicks at goal in the 33rd and 38 minutes.
The home team would have been quite happy to have gone in at the break just 8-3 down having played up hill first half.
Their scrum was on top but they struggled in the line-out where Hannay’s experience told.
It was from a poor Argaum line-out that Honiton got their second try. The home team knocked on trying to gather their own line-out on their own 22. Honiton got a scrum and from it Elliot Davies-Perrett went over in the left corner.
Four minutes later Argaum threw the ball out in their own half while trying to attack from deep. The home team then switched off totally and did not realise that Honiton had took a quick line-out which allowed Hannay to go over in the left corner unopposed.
The home side, though, hit back with a great try by centre John Ireland, who powered through the middle of Honiton’s defence before running in under the posts. That made it 20-10.
It did not look like Honiton were going to get a bonus point but they pressed and pressed and three minutes from time Hannay forced his way over from close range.
In the dying seconds, the visitors had Rice sin-binned as Argaum pressed but the hosts could not take advantage.
THERE was home disappointment for both Old Techs and Tamar Saracens on Saturday in Devon One.
Techs lost 36-19 to Totnes, while Tamar Saracens went down 42-11 to South Molton.
After weeks of poor starts, Techs enjoyed a good first half against Totnes.
With fit-again Paul Ansell pulling the strings, they led 19-12 with Matty Simmonds scoring a hat-trick and Ansell adding two conversions.
Totnes’ tries in the opening period came from scrum-half Aaron Bartlett and Alex Akery.
Techs’, though, paid for indiscipline in the second period. They picked up three yellow cards and Totnes took advantage with Bartlett getting two more tries to complete his hat-trick, Akery adding a second and James Ruddock also scoring.
Tamar Saracens also lost their way in the second half against David Butt Trophy winners South Molton.
The opening 35 minutes were tight and the match was level at 6-6. Lewis Swatton kicked two penalties for Sarries, with Callum Stone adding two for South Molton.
But the game changed with two quick tries by the visitors just before the break. Dan Johnson was first to go over before Reece Eury crossed.
In the second half, South Molton, still coming to terms with the death of their winger Elliott Griffin after their David Butt Trophy win, out-scored their hosts 24 points to five. James Campbell crossed twice for the visitors, with Callum Stone kicking the rest of their points.
Saracens were not helped by losing forwards Marc Cioffi and Chris Cox with injuries and James McFarlane to a yellow card. Their only try came from Fraser Tatchell.
“It was not a pretty second half,” admitted coach Chey Bryce. “But hopefully we can bounce back next week.”
OPMs got their first Devon Two win of the season with a 57-0 victory away at St Columba & Torpoint.
The Old Boys ran in eight tries at Defiance Field, with centre Matty Thompson claiming a hat-trick.
The influential Martin Skelly scored two, including one length-of-the-field effort, while Billy Garrett, Andy Sincock and Adam Havelock collected their other tries. Havelock’s was his first for the club. Sammy Matts kicked seven conversions and a penalty.
“We were really pleased with how we played first half,” said captain Henry Matthews. “We were playing up the hill and into the wind so we knew we had to play our structures.
“We were back on track with that as we played exactly how we wanted to. I think we scored more tries in the first half than we did in the second.
“Our forwards played really well first half and the backs were able to finish off their hard work.
“Second half we struggled a bit for continuity. We gave away too many penalties. I just think we tired after the great effort we’d put in during the first half.
“It was just good to get back to winning ways.”
Plympton Victoria earned praise from North Tawton after pushing them hard at Marsh Mills on Saturday.
North Tawton won 45-29 but needed three tries in the final 10 minutes to secure their second successive win.
The visitors admitted that Plym Vic had ‘massively improved’ since the last time they had played them.
Centre Sam Stockdale again stood out of the Marsh Mills club, who had beaten DHSOB 47-3 the week before.
“There was only four points in it with a few minutes to go,” said Plym Vic spokesman Chris Hunt.
“We got a bonus point for scoring four tries and were dam close to getting two bonus points, but it was pretty good effort, especially when you see some of the other results,” said spokesman Chris Hunt.
Meanwhile, DHSOB did travel to Salcombe. However, as they did not have a full team the game was given as a walkover to the home club. The host club, though, did lend DHSOB a couple of players and the teams played a full match, which Salcombe won 74-12.
Lewis Jeffery scored a great try from the halfway line for DHSOB, with Dan Bulley getting their other try and also kicking a conversion.
“I was really pleased that we honoured the fixture on their VPs day,” said DHSOB’s Mike Freeman.
“I am really pleased with the boys for travelling. It was a tremendous effort really against a reasonable Salcombe team.”