IVYBRIDGE ended a four-game losing run with a hard-earned 25-16 away victory at Bracknell in the South West Premier League.
Not only did the victory delight the Bridgers, but also the fact that they only conceded one try in Berkshire.
Ivybridge were without a host of players for the match and that led to player-coach Lewis Paterson having to play at number eight.
But the Cross-in-Hand side took an early 3-0 lead with a penalty by Mitch Pinkus.
The host club hit back with a converted try by Gabe Hills before the sides then exchanged penalties to leave the score at 10-6.
Bracknell were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes for a deliberate knock-on, but they actually increased their lead with yet another penalty.
Just before the break, Ivybridge were reduced to 14 when Pinkus was yellow carded.
However, Ivybridge showing plenty of spirit, hit back after the interval with a converted try by scrum-half Ben Watts following a quick-tap penalty. With Pinkus off the field, Charlie Briant added the conversion.
On his return to the field, Pinkus kicked three penalties to put the visitors 22-13 ahead.
Bracknell put over another three points, but Ivybridge responded with three points of their own to seal the win.
They remain in the bottom three but are now only five points off seventh spot.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services returned to the top of Western Counties West after an impressive 27-12 home victory over previous leaders St Austell at the Rectory on Saturday.
For the second home game running, Services did the damage in the first half. They led 27-7 at the break.
“The first half we were brilliant,” said team manager Kieran Leach.
“All the players were up for it as it was a top-of-the-table clash.
“That first half was the best we have played this season. Everything came off; it was great. Forwards and backs were linking and doing everything we do in training.
“We knew they would come back at us second half, and they did, but we just soaked it up.”
The day did not start off well for Services with Richard West having to drop out in the warm-up.
However, that gave Matt Anstis his chance to come back in after injury and he played like he had never been out.
Anstis had a major hand in Services’ first try. He received the ball in midfield and took on a couple of defenders before off-loading to Toby Knowles, who scored under the posts. Anstis converted.
St Austell, with their large pack, responded with a try of their own from a catch-and-drive move.
But Anstis kicked two penalties to put Devonport 13-7 in front.
That soon became 20-7 when Matt Gregory made a break from the next restart before putting Ben Wadham in to score in the corner and Anstis brilliantly converted from the touchline.
A third try followed when Rhys Williams made a break following a line-out and put Rob Ede through. He was stopped inches short but was able to off-load to Knowles to score in the corner. Anstis again converted from the touchline to make it 27-7.
The game did change at half-time and Services had to spend much of the second 40 minutes defending. They were not helped by having to play 20 minutes of it with 14 men after having Aaron Webb and Ede yellow carded.
But St Austell did not take advantage. They kept playing the same type of rugby that Devonport were defending well.
The visitors, though, did get a consolation try with the last play of the match.
STEVE HILLMAN scored a hat-trick of tries as Saltash moved up to second in the table after beating Hayle 26-10 away.
The Ashes leap-frogged Wellington, who missed out on a bonus point in their 23-0 win at Withycombe.
Saltash, though, had to work hard to get a four-try win at 11th-placed Hayle.
Although they went 21-3 up early in the second half, ever-improving Hayle closed the gap to 11 points and it took until the 70th minute for the visitors to get the all-important fourth try.
Ollie Mulberry gave Saltash the lead with a try from close range following a ruck. That was converted by Harrison Reburn.
Midway through the first half the Ashes went 14-0 ahead when number eight Hillman powered over and Reburn again converted.
Hayle kicked a penalty four minutes before half-time to make it 14-3.
Hillman claimed his second after the interval and Reburn again converted, but Hayle responded with a converted try under the posts on 64 minutes.
Ten minutes from time, however, Hillman crossed for his hat-trick and Saltash’s bonus point try.
The Ashes were the only Plymouth Combination side to win in the Cornwall/Devon League on Saturday.
Tavistock remain winless on their travels this season after losing 24-0 away in a physical encounter at sixth-placed Bude.
Bude crossed for a fourth try in the last minute to give the score a flattering look.
“They (Bude) capitalised form kick-off on two handling errors and then scored again on 25 minutes to make it 12-0,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill.
“They (Bude) were very ‘old school’ and killed the breakdown, which I felt was refereed poorly.
“Our scrum held out fine and at home I’d fancy our chances.
“As a whole we put in a good performance and their bonus point try was on the stroke of 80 minutes and shouldn’t have stood.”
The match did get quite heated and Tavistock had captain Andrew Schuttkacker and Jack Jones yellow carded.
Plymouth Argaum suffered a fourth straight defeat when they beaten 31-10 at fifth-placed Lanner.
The Bickleigh Down side did win the second half but paid for a slow start in Cornwall, with the hosts going 26-0 up.
In horrible conditions, Argaum did show plenty of spirit and scored tries through Calum Mills and debutant winger Zanda Youngman.
“To be honest, the lads played well,” said Argaum coach Mark Albiston. “It probably sounds like the same story every week.
“We picked up a few injuries in the game and we were limited options wise at the end, but Lanner played well, as we did.
“There were positives from the boys. We are sure results will start coming. We do have quite a few players still out injured to come back.”
There was also disappointment for Plymstock Albion Oaks, who lost 30-5 away at fourth-placed Honiton.
Oaks dominated possession in the first half but could not turn it into points and Honiton kicked two penalties to take a 6-0 lead at the break.
The visitors cut the gap to four points with a try immediately after the interval, but then the match slipped away from them.
Ollie Hyland and Johnny Selway crossed for tries for Honiton before they were awarded a penalty try at a scrum.
TAMAR Saracens picked up their first point in Devon One but were disappointed not to have returned home from Dartmouth with four.
The Ernesettle-based club lost 12-6 away after conceding a late converted try.
It was their second narrow defeat in a month at the hands of Dartmouth, who edged them out 17-14 in the David Butt Trophy semi-finals.
The first half on Saturday drew a blank with neither side able to get on the scoreboard.
After the interval Dartmouth centre Richard Lobb scored an unconverted try before two Lewis Swatton penalties put Tamar Saracens 6-5 ahead.
The visitors, though, started to give away too many penalties and they had Lee Dolphin and James McFarlane sin-binned in quick succession for persistent infringing.
Sarries did defend well with 13 men, but eventually Dartmouth’s pressure told when flanker Jack Clark scored late on to win the match for his team and secure them their first league win of the season.
“It was 0-0 at half-time and we were playing up the slope and against the wind,” said Saracens coach Chey Bryce.
“We probably should have won the game, but indiscipline cost us. We picked up two yellow cards with 20 minutes to go when we were winning and they score a try to win the game.”
He added: “We have a big game next week (against New Cross) and we do have boys returning.”
Old Techs are also still looking for their first league win of the season after going down 22-13 away at New Cross.
Techs have been competitive in their opening three matches but have just not been able to get the wins.
There was nothing between the sides in the first half, with New Cross just 10-6 in front at the break.
Billy Evans kicked a penalty and a drop-goal for Techs, with Dom Twice and Ryan Wotton finishing off breakaway tries for New Cross.
There was also not much between the teams in the second half, with Dane Layton and Danny Walker scoring tries for the hosts and Joel Dickin crossing for Techs, who lost the the influential Phil Ingleson to injury early in the game.
The visitors had been missing a host of players on Saturday. However, one player that did come into the side and impressed was student Mike Cook, who was making his debut for Techs.
Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith knows his team have to start turning narrow defeats into wins.
“It is becoming a bit of a familiar story at the moment,” he said. “Within the first five minutes we had a kick through and chase and just needed to dive on the ball to score but somehow managed to knock it on. That sort of set the tone for the rest of the day really.
“If we had got that try in the first five minutes it might have changed things. We are just not executing our chances at the moment.
“There was nothing between the teams. It was just the same old story for us, and I am getting a bit bored of it now. It was another disappointing day.
“We are not been out-played or out-classed. We just need to defend better.
“We just have to stick at it, keep training and I am sure it will come eventually.”
The duo scored eight of the Old Boys’ 12 tries on Saturday, with Skelly bagging five and Grundy three.
Grundy actually had a hat-trick within 18 minutes as the hosts made a blistering start.
OPMs scored seven of their tries within the first 30 minutes. Their other five came in the final 18 minutes.
The other 32 minutes of the game belonged to Plym Vic but they could only manage one penalty for their efforts. They were missing the influence of top scorer Sam Stockdale in attack.
The scoreline was tough on Plym Vic, but OPMs were in clinical form. Their scrum impressed and that gave them the platform to build from in the first half.
“Fair play to them (Plym Vic) they kept making their tackles and we had to work hard,” said OPMs captain Henry Matthews.
“We are really pleased with that because we played into the wind first half and played with structure, which is also what we did last week (against St Columba & Torpoint). This week, though, we did maintain it a bit better in the second half.
OPMs’ first try came within the first two minutes. They pushed Plym Vic off a scrum and then went wide quickly where Grundy was waiting on the right to power down the wing and score.
Plym Vic instantly went up the other end and got a penalty but they missed it and their hosts made them pay with Grundy crossing for his second and Sam Matts converting.
Skelly then got his first of the afternoon on 12 minutes when Plym Vic let a clearing kick bounce and it fell into the hands of OPMs’ prolific winger who ran in to score.
Grundy’s power then got him his hat-trick before Matthews, who started at fly-half, crossed for number five three minutes later after good play by Sean Lewis.
Almost straight from the restart, Skelly crossed for number six before adding another seven minutes later.
But suddenly Plym Vic found a way back into the game. Mike Hagan kicked a penalty for them as they finished the half strongly.
They then dominated the opening 20 minutes of the second period but just could not get the try they deserved.
And against the run of play Skelly claimed his fourth on 62 minutes. That try opened the floodgates again and three minutes later Matts scored on the right.
In the final six minutes, Skelly, Simon Bray and Billy Garratt also crossed for further tries.
DHSOB’s home game with Buckfastleigh was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, while St Columba & Torpoint did not travel to Ilfracombe.