Rugby

RUGBY REPORTS: Important league wins for Ivybridge, Services and Saltash

OPMs and Buckfastleigh battle for a line-out during their Devon Two clash

IVYBRIDGE have moved out of the bottom three in the South West Premier League after an impressive 28-17 victory away at Camborne.

The South Hams side went down to Cornwall hungry for a win after a disappointing home loss against Weston-super-Mare.

And with flanker Ben King impressing on his first start, along with fly-half Luke Martell, the Bridgers came back with a valuable four points.

They led 18-7 at the break, with Martell kicking two penalties and a conversion and King and fellow back-row forward Robin Luscombe scoring tries.

Martell then added another penalty after the break before the visitors were awarded a penalty try.

Player-coach Lewis Paterson was delighted with the win, which he hopes will help turn his side’s season.

“It was a really good result,” said Paterson. “But we definitely left a lot out there as well. We could have got that five-point win.

“However, we will definitely look to build on this. It was a really composed effort from the lads

“We scored some really good tries and there was some fantastic rugby played.

“Hopefully, a good win down at Camborne is a turning point. We just have to take that into next week’s game against Cleve.”

Devonport Services in action against Paignton (picture by Mark Andrews)

WESTERN COUNTIES WEST

DEVONPORT Services returned to winning ways with a 41-14 home victory over Paignton on Saturday.

It was the perfect way for Services to respond to their disappointing 26-24 defeat at Sidmouth seven days early, which had seen them lose top spot in the table.

“It’s a win and gets us back on track ahead of St Ives next week,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.

“They (Paignton) made us work hard and they never gave up, but I think we executed better this week than last.”

Services had beaten Paignton 67-13 two weeks earlier in the Devon Intermediate Cup, but they did not make the best of starts on Saturday. They gave away a couple of early penalties, one which former Saltash fly-half Will Virgo kicked for Paignton.

Devonport Services in action against Paignton (picture by Mark Andrews)

But the hosts responded almost immediately with full-back Rhys Williams, one of a number of players back after missing last week, going over for the game’s opening try following a good run by Joe Daley.

Paignton, though, regained the lead on 10 minutes with another Virgo penalty.

The visitors scrummed really well early on and defended strongly, but gradually Services got on top.

The home team got a second try on 25 minutes through Andy Pond after Max Venables and Toby Knowles had done well. Anstis converted to make it 15-6.

Another Virgo penalty reduced the gap, but Devonport went in at the break 22-9 ahead after Williams scored a second try, which Anstis converted.

Ten minutes into the second half, centre Callum Perkins crossed for the all-important bonus point after Rob Ede had gathered a high Anstis kick following a scrum. Anstis again converted to make it 29-9.

Knowles then got in on the act when he crossed the whitewash after a good break by Venables before Perkins added a second, which replacement Richard West converted.

Paignton did bag a consolation try from a maul late on but it made no difference to the result, with Services staying in second spot, two points behind next week’s opponents St Ives.

Devonport Services in action against Paignton (picture by Mark Andrews)

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

PROMOTION-chasing Saltash showed plenty of character to pick up a 24-15 victory at fifth-placed Lanner.

The Ashes, sitting in second spot, crucially managed to get four tries, which has moved them two points ahead of third-placed Wellington, who narrowly missed out on a bonus point in their 27-21 win at Bude.

Saltash made a good start at Lanner, scoring two tries in the opening 25 minutes through wingers James Moriaty and Sam Snell to go 12-0 ahead.

Lanner responded with a try of their own before flanker Lewis Wells added a third for Saltash when he went over from close range following a penalty.

But the home club came back strongly and closed the gap to 17-15 with a converted try and a penalty.

Saltash, though, dug deep and made the game safe when number eight Steve Hillman scored their all-important fourth try.

The Ashes again were the only Plymouth Combination side to win in the Cornwall/Devon League.

Plymouth Argaum, however, did pick up two bonus points in a 31-24 defeat at Pirates Amateurs.

But their coach Mark Sullivan was disappointed they had not returned from west Cornwall with their first win since early October.

Having gone in at the break level at 10-10, Argaum went two scores up in the second half at Mennaye Field before letting the game slip.

“In the first half we played within ourselves,” said Sullivan. “But I said to them at half-time, ‘don’t kick the ball away, keep it in hand, get it wide and run it’ and within 15 minutes we had scored two very good tries.  The speed at which the ball was moved around and the breakthroughs were immense.

“But because I don’t think we are used to going ahead the boys got a bit nervous and we sort of went back to a forward game and went more narrow and played into their hands.

“We were the better side but we just played their game for the last 10 minutes and they scored one more try than us.

“It was like the Penryn performance last week but with tries and the team were gutted they lost.

“They do deserve more than they are getting at the moment, but it will come.”

Argaum, who had to make a number of late changes to their team, did score four tries, with Euan Collins, Matt Bankhead, Gavin Orr and Tom Worboys all crossing the whitewash.

Tavistock and Plymstock Albion Oaks were unable to score any points at the weekend.

Tavistock went down 34-0 away at fourth-placed Honiton, while Oaks lost 31-0 at leaders Penryn.

Both clubs have now lost their last three matches and are being caught by the teams below them.

Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill, though, felt there were positives from their performance.

“Surprisingly, it was an enjoyable game, despite the scoreline,” said Kerswill.

“Their kicker was phenomenal and perhaps made it flattering to Honiton as a whole.

“We had much of the possession, but couldn’t convert it into points.

“Friendly (Mark Friend) got a dead leg after three minutes which meant Shooie (Andrew Schuttkacker) had to go to 13. If that had not happened I think we may have opened them up much more.

“Set piece was a stalemate with us edging the scrums, while Andrew Craddock was very good on his first start at 10.”

DEVON ONE AND TWO

OLD Techs and Tamar Saracens will head into next weekend’s derby match at Weston Mill still looking for their first Devon One win of the season.

Both gave promotion-chasing opposition a tough battle on Saturday but ended up losing.

Bottom club Saracens were 22-17 up at the break away at leaders Topsham but ended up going down 37-22 at Bonfire Field, with James Tapp getting a hat-trick for the hosts.

Old Techs dominated possession at David Butt Trophy winners South Molton but lost 29-0, with the hosts scoring three converted tries in the second half, including one in the dying seconds.

South Molton admitted they were starved of possession on their own pitch, but showed why they are favourites to go up with some clinical finishing.

They led 8-0 at the break, with Richard Clarke scoring their only try in the first 40 minutes.

George Whiting and Sam Howard added further converted tries after the break before Clarke got a second with nearly the last play of the game.

Prior to their match with South Molton, Old Techs revealed that their 24-year-old forward Josh Martin has been diagnosed with leukaemia.

“It was a real shock to everyone at the club,” said coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.

“It just puts everything into perspective. We have been to see him and he is in good spirits. He’s had some chemotherapy, but the first thing he said to the doctors was ‘when will I be able to play again?’”

In Devon Two, OPMs suffered heartbreak with a 6-5 home defeat to unbeaten Buckfastleigh.

OPMs could have won the game with the last play of the match. In the 12th minute of added-on time they were awarded a penalty 30 metres out just to the left of the posts, but Matt Thompson’s kick at goal just went wide.

Buckfastleigh started the better and took the lead in the fourth minute with a penalty by Harry Laity.

But after weathering early pressure from the visitors, gradually OPMs got on top, with their forwards doing well. They had plenty of possession and territory but could not turn it into points.

They either took the wrong option or made a handling mistake at a crucial time.

They missed a penalty on 30 minutes and Thompson had a try ruled out for a knock-on in the right corner. The ball never really went out to the left wing until first half injury-time when Martin Skelly finally got it and he showed his class to beat three Buckfastleigh players to score a fine individual try.

OPMs could not add the conversion and midway through the second half, Buckfastleigh went back in front with another Laity penalty.

Defences were definitely on top and unusually OPMs just could not get any rhythm to their play, especially in their backs.

Buckfastleigh missed with a late penalty attempt before OPMs were reduced to 14 men when Sammie Matts was red carded for an off-the-ball incident. The game looked over but deep in injury-time Buckfastleigh were penalised in their own half and the Old Boys had the chance to win the match, but could not take it.

“It is tough to take,” admitted OPMs captain Henry Matthews. “But it was an excellent game of rugby – a real high standard regardless of it being Devon Two.

“They (Buckfastleigh) are a very good side and we just didn’t have enough to get over the line. Maybe fitness did it at the end – we were making decisions with tired heads.

“We were proud that no-one has crossed our line yet at home this season.”

On the late penalty miss, Matthews said: “It was all or nothing – we had to go for it.

“Matt Thompson is a very good kicker, but again if you put everything in then your legs are going to be much heavier and the pressure there was hard.  I said to him just go for it, but ultimately if we want to win these games we have to score more tries.”

Plympton Victoria claimed a third win in five matches with a 17-15 home victory over Salcombe.

It is the first time for 10 years that Plym Vic have won more than two games in a season.

Despite having to start the match with 14 players due to a late arrival, Plym Vic were always in front

They led 12-3 at the break, with tries by Sam Stockdale and Tom Gill and a conversion from Sam Wilmington.

Salcombe put Plym Vic under a lot more pressure second half but the hosts managed a third try through Alan Dickins on 66 minutes and managed to keep their noses in front.

“Getting these wins is become a bit of a habit,” laugh Plym Vic team manager Chris Hunt.

“This game was nip-and-tuck all the way. It was quite close. It was a really good competition.”

“Our scrum was pretty strong, but they did come back at us in the second half. However, instead of us folding, which we have done against Salcombe in the past, we weathered it and defended our way out and scored at the other end.”

St Columba & Torpoint picked up their first points of the season with a 19-10 victory over fellow strugglers DHSOB at Stonehouse Creek.

The Saints had not to score a single point in the opening four weeks of the season but did just enough to hold off a DHSOB, who were disappointed not to at least pick up a bonus point.

The makeshift Old Boys side paid for a slow start, conceding two tries in the opening 20 minutes to go 14-0 down.

But once they settled they got into the match and pulled a try back before the break courtesy of Fijian Atu Kovula, who was making his first appearance of the season.

Saints managed a third try to go 19-5 ahead before Lewis Jeffery scored in the corner for the Old Boys, who were disappointed not to pick up at least a bonus point.

DHSOB’s Mike Freeman said: “We had 16 players which was a major plus, but to lose 19-10 was hard to take.

“It was a good, even game – a typical basement battle – that was well refereed, but again we were hamstrung at the beginning with players coming late. As we were a bit disorganised and not that well prepared they scored two tries fairly early on, but we came back and got more confident as the game went on.”

The Old Boys did have a try disallowed second half and also missed a conversion that could have given them a bonus point.

“They (Saints) were chuffed they had got their first win, but certainly merited a bonus point,” added Freeman.

“Players are coming back slowly but surely and the spirit is still relatively high in the camp.”

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