IVYBRIDGE have moved into the top half of the South West Premier League table after claiming their fourth win in five games.
The Bridgers scored four tries to beat Newbury Blues 25-8 at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
The five points they picked up has moved them up from ninth to seventh in the standings after Brixham and Weston-super-Mare, who had started the day ahead of them, both lost.
All Ivybridge’s tries against Newbury came in the first half where they were totally dominant.
They were awarded a penalty try after Damon Akerman was tripped as he was about to score.
Billy Pinkus, Ben Watts and Marcus Prout added further touch-downs before the interval. Luke Martell added one first half conversion, while Mitch Pinkus kicked a second half penalty.
Ivybridge were again dominant at the set-piece and for the second week running were not helped by having to go uncontested scrums.
“It was a really, really dominant performance,” said Ivybridge player-coach Lewis Paterson.
“We did miss a lot of points from the boot. I think if we had got all our kicks the score would have been 34-8 and I think that would have been a true reflection of the game.
“We were not world-beaters but we were very much in sync. It was a really good team performance.
“Newbury are a good side. They are gritty and it is a shame to see a side like that quite near the bottom.”
Ivybridge will be hoping to make it three wins a row in 2018 when they travel to bottom club Hornets next Saturday.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services have made a stunning start to 2018.
They followed up last week’s 47-17 win at Truro, but beating Burnham-on-Sea 45-8 on the artificial surface at Keyham.
With promotion-rivals St Austell losing for a second week running, Services now find themselves six points clear in second spot.
They do still sit six points behind leaders St Ives, but the Cornish side still have to visit Plymouth.
Services are unbeaten at home this season and even switching venues because their Rectory pitch was out-of-bounds did not hamper them on Saturday.
They managed five tries in the first half against struggling Burnham to lead 33-3, despite losing number eight Matt Gregory in the opening minutes of the game.
Ben Wadham got their first try before Aaron Webb went over for their second after series of scrums. Richard West converted Webb’s touch-down to put Services 12-0 up.
Burnham reduced the gap slightly with a penalty on 20 minutes before Webb collected his second of the afternoon with a pushover effort.
That was followed by a try under the posts by Andy Pond after Adrian Montague unselfishly put him in after intercepting a pass on the halfway line. West converted to make it 26-3.
However, Services were not done for the first half. Late on they had a forwards move out wide before the ball came back inside for Rhys Williams to finish off.
Early in the second period the visitors scored an interception try to reduce the deficit, but that was soon cancelled out by a good team try scored by Callum Perkins after Williams put him in to make it 38-3.
Williams then got his second try of the day after Wadham turned provider.
Devonport Services coach Mike Lewis said: “We did all right, but I think we could have done even better. However, we did attack well and scoring 45 points isn’t too bad.
“We are now just off the 500-mark for points scored this season – we have 499 points for already – which is really good.”
He added: “I don’t think Burnham are that bad. I don’t think they should be bottom of the league.”
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks are off the mark in 2018 after beating rivals Tavistock 20-5 at Horsham Fields on Saturday.
Their two-try-to-one victory has moved them back above Tavistock in the Cornwall/Devon League standings.
Oaks now sit in eighth, one point above ninth-placed Tavistock and three ahead of 10th-placed Argaum in a good mini Plymouth Combination battle in the division.
Tavistock took the lead at Horsham with a try by Tom Friend, who came into the starting line-up after Danny Oner had to drop out late on through injury.
Tom West kicked a penalty for Oaks, but that was all the points they could manage in the first half as Tavistock led 5-3 at the interval.
The hosts went in front for the first time on 55 minutes when speedy back Matt Neyle-Opie scored a try down the wing, which was converted by West. He also added a penalty five minutes later to put his side 13-5 ahead.
Oaks then had to weather some intense Tavistock pressure, but they did it well.
Late on the visitors found themselves down to 13 men due to a host of injuries and the sin-binning of Martin Budden. And in the dying seconds Corey Jamieson scored a late converted try for Plymstock.
Oaks coach Callum Cload was delighted with the win, especially after Tavistock convincingly beat them 29-0 at Sandy Park in September.
“When we last played Tavistock it was probably our worst performance of the season,” said Cload. “We were absolutely played off the park by them.
“But this time it went really well – everything clicked. We put the right game-plan together and got the win.
“The only thing was we started slowly again.
“But it was a brilliant defensive effort, which is what I’m happy about. Everybody was working on the same page and showed real commitment.”
Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill said: “It was disappointing, but it was a well-fought game.
“It was bittersweet in that we were much better at the breakdown this week, but struggled to string together meaningful attacks.
“A few key injuries to Jack Glover, Richard Cann, Ethan Lamerton and Joe Hair didn’t help and we ended with 13 after Budden got binned in the last 10 minutes.”
They followed up their away victory at Tavistock last week with a bonus-point 27-12 home victory over struggling Torrington.
It was Argaum’s biggest win of the season and has moved them 12 points clear of the relegation zone.
In horrible conditions they scored four tries in total courtesy of Tom Worboys, Owen Belli, Karl Sullivan and Adam Fitzpatrick.
However, it was a penalty by Jake Turfrey after he had made a good break that got them off the mark on sixth minutes.
Torrington responded with a try by Ben Harper, but instantly Argaum regained the lead when number eight Worboys showed his power to go over the whitewash.
Five minutes before half-time, Argaum scored the best try of the game after some good interchange play down the left and some good handling by Tom Bradshaw put Belli in to score and make it 13-5.
Nearly straight after the interval the hosts added a third try. They initially wasted a five-metre scrum by knocking on, but then pushed Torrington off their own put in and Sullivan went over and Turfrey converted.
By the 60 minute mark their lead had become 27-5 when Fitzpatrick went over in the right corner after intense pressure and Turfrey again converted.
Although the rain had stopped by this point the pitch had become very muddy and it did not help the match. It became hard to identify the two teams and handling was difficult.
Argaum did have to defend well and it looked like they were going to deny Torrington a second try, but a minute from time Harper crossed for a second score from close range.
However, the late score did not take the gloss after a second successive victory.
“It was very good,” said director of rugby Mark Sullivan. “We had a lot of late changes, but I was really pleased with the way they went through the phase play and remained patient.
“We tried to play more in the right territory. We kept it simple in our own half. We’d tap-and-go when we needed to just to get over the gain-line and then look to kick into space.
“We learned from last week and tried to play a lot better game in very difficult conditions.
“The lads feel much more comfortable as a unit and it shows.”
Saltash’s match with Withycombe was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. Their promotion rivals Wellington and Penryn also did not play due the weather that virtually wiped out the sporting programme in Cornwall.
DEVON ONE AND TWO
OLD Techs were left kicking themselves after narrowly missing out on their first Devon One win of the season.
The division’s bottom club lost 8-5 at home to New Cross, despite dominating possession and territory for large spells.
But in horrible conditions they just could not convert their chances into points. They either knocked the ball, gave away a penalty, took the wrong option or New Cross defended well.
Although they did pick up a losing bonus point they will know they really need a win in their bid to avoid the drop.
New Cross’ victory is likely to be enough for them to avoid getting dragged into the bottom three.
The visitors did lead 8-0 at the break. Techs turned down an early penalty chance in the second half and lay siege on New Cross’ line. However, it was not until the 65th minute that they finally got a try through Phil Ingleson. However, despite their best efforts they could not add to it.
“Second half we had loads and loads of pressure but did not convert it into points,” said Techs chairman David Evans.
“It’s the same old story this season. We dominate possession and the game but don’t score the points.
“We ended up with a losing bonus point, but we certainly should have won the game.
“It was one of those days where every time we got near the try line there was either a knock-on, someone went off-side – stuff like that. It was really frustrating.
“Conditions were poor but it was the same for both sides.
“We just have to keep trying.”
Fellow strugglers Tamar Saracens were left without a match after their home game with Dartmouth was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
In Devon Two, fourth-placed OPMs have opened up an 11-point gap between themselves and fifth-placed Plympton Victoria with a 35-3 away win over their city neighbours at Marsh Mills.
OPMs, who had beaten Plym Vic 68-3 at their place in November, led 14-3 at the break with tries by Rhys Phillips and Mark Hardie, both converted by Matt Thompson. Plym Vic’s only points of first half came from an early Sam Wilmington penalty.
Second half Shaun Grundy, Harry Kandampully and Thompson added further touchdowns for OPMs, with Thompson converting them all.
Plym Vic did have some pressure and were held up on the line a couple of times in the second period, but OPMs managed to deny them a try.
“It was good to get a bonus point win,” said OPMs club captain Henry Matthews. “Conditions were not great and we had not played for weeks and weeks, so it was pleasing to get five points and get back on track.”
He added: “We were pleased not to concede a try. I think there are only two teams that have put tries on us this season, so we are really pleased with that.”
Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt said: “We gave away far too many penalties in the first half, which put us on the back foot until we managed to sort that out.
“Our defence also got a bit loose and they were good at exploiting it.
“We did cross their line three times but were held up three times.
“However, it was a 100 per cent improvement on the last time we played them.
“It is all little steps forward for us. OPMs are a good, strong outfit, so we are pleased with our progress. But it has highlighted a few more things to work on ahead of the next game.”
Another team making improvements are winless DHSOB. Although they lost 57-10 at unbeaten title-chasing Buckfastleigh, they gave their hosts a bit of a scare in the first half.
They led 10-7 for spell in the opening period and were only 17-10 down at the break, with James Marley scoring a try for them and Lewis Jeffery adding a conversion and penalty.
Injuries and tiredness caught up with them in the second half and Buckfastleigh were clinical, but there were many positives for the Old Boys.
“We were really please,” said Mike Freeman. “The score certainly did not reflect the effort we put in or the way we played.
“We didn’t half take the game to them in the first half and played exceptionally well for 45-50 minutes, but were hamstrung a bit by a lack of replacements.
“We had 17 players, but we had injury early in the first half and at the end of that half our hooker then suffered a head injury and the referee said he had to go off and so second half we struggled with the scrums and our line-out went to pot.
“Our full-back also dislocated his shoulder, so we had to go to 14 and then we picked up a yellow card. They (Buckfastleigh) then had a purple patch and scored four tries in 10 minutes all which their fly-half converted. So the score went from 17 to 45, which was really tough as we were still in the game but just lost shape.
“They were quite complimentary about us and said we made them work for it. I think they were expecting a lot easier game.
“I was also chuffed our colts were playing on Saturday and they won. The fact we put out two sides was really, really pleasing.
“We still haven’t got base, but we are trying hard to survive and that’s heart-warming.”
St Columba & Torpoint pulled out of their trip to Ilfracombe.