Rugby

Devonport Services hope Friday night rugby experiment will be a success

DEVONPORT Services are hoping their Friday night rugby experiment will be a success.

The Western Counties West leaders will host league rivals Paignton at the Rectory tomorrow night in the Devon Intermediate Cup (7pm).

Services coach Mike Lewis believes playing under floodlights creates a great atmosphere and it also means he has more players to select from.

Previously for cup weekends, especially those that clash with international games, Services, like most clubs, have struggled for player availability.

“Last year we played Crediton away in the cup and we had to cancel our second team game as we didn’t have enough players for both matches,” said Lewis.

“But this weekend, playing on the Friday, we have plenty of players. We have two full teams

“It (moving the game to the Friday) has worked already in the sense of the amount of players we have available so I think it’s fantastic.”

He added: “I really enjoy night rugby and I think more clubs need to be doing it.

“I just think once a month if a club in the area does it I think everyone would go and watch.

“People can get together, have a drink and some food and, hopefully, watch a great game of rugby.

“We are the second biggest team in the city and we want people to come and watch us. I think everyone knows where we are but just don’t have time to come and watch us.

“Something like this might attract new people. Even if it is only 15 or 20, hopefully, a few of them will come back the next weekend we’re at home.”

Unfortunately, there are few opportunities for Services to play on a Friday night in the league because of the distance their opponents have to travel.

But Services were delighted Paignton agreed to the switch from the Saturday afternoon this weekend and avoid clashing with England against Australia.

It might only be a cup match, but Lewis says Services are taking it seriously.

“For sure we are,” he said. “If we lose a game now, even if it is a cup game, it could affect our momentum. Our momentum is pretty good at the minute and we want to continue that going into the next league game.

“Whatever game it is I think we want to put out a strong side. We may change a few things and test people in different positions, but we want to win every game we play.”

Services will be without Sam Bennett and Adrian Montague, but they should have utility back Max Venables available.

“It’s a very tough selection this week,” said Lewis.

Admission is free into the Rectory.

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