Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Ivybridge look to keep run going against in-form Camborne

IVYBRIDGE will be hoping to continue their good form and rise up the South West Premier League table when they host Camborne at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday (2.30pm).

The Bridgers have won three of their last four games, with their only defeat a narrow 24-19 loss away at second-placed Bournemouth.

Another victory would move them above seventh-placed Camborne, who are currently two points ahead of them in the standings.

“We want to try and get another five point win and stop Camborne going away with anything,” said Ivybridge player-coach Lewis Paterson

“If we get another five points then we start, maybe not relaxing, but certainly stretching away from the bottom three and climbing up the table. That’s what we want to be doing.”

Camborne, like Ivybridge, have had an up and down season. However, they are in a particularly good run of form at the moment. They have won their last five matches, including an eye-catching 28-16 win over league champions Dings.

“When they (Camborne) do get it right they are a tough team to beat,” said Paterson.

“But we got a win down at their place and we are aiming for that double.

“They are coming to us and we have got massive momentum going into this game.”

He added: “There is a small bit of rivalry between the clubs. We have played against each other over the years in South West One and now South West Premier.”

For the third week running, Ivybridge keep virtually the same squad. The only change to their match-day party will be on the bench where George de Mendonca will make a long awaited return to first team action.

WESTERN COUNTIES WEST

DEVONPORT Services will be looking to keep the pressure on second-placed St Austell when they travel to Paignton on Saturday in Western Counties West.

Services sit three points behind the Saints with three games to play.

Both clubs have slipped up in recent weeks, but know they cannot really afford anymore defeats if they want to snatch the play-off spot.

“If you look at the past eight games we could have easily have picked up enough points to be in that play-off spot,” said Services coach Mike Lewis.

“We lost to St Austell by eight when we could easily have got another couple of scores and then every other loss we have had has just been by one score – Falmouth, Kingsbridge, Sidmouth. If we’d have just won them we would have been comfortably in that play-off spot.

“Unfortunately, we just keep making it tough for ourselves. I don’t know if the players just like the challenge.

“I have noticed this season and last that when we have been on a run of winning games comfortably we then seem to go to something that we don’t usually do – uncharacteristic stuff. I don’t know if they just think ‘we are good at this, let’s do something different?’ But we just need to stick to the game-plan more.

“I know the boys are still hungry for it.”

Lewis is expecting a tough test from Paignton, who are fighting for their lives. They sit third-from-bottom, but are only five points behind seventh-placed Truro and three behind eighth-placed Chard.

“I think there’s only six points separating seventh from 13th,” said Lewis. “One bonus-point win for anyone near the bottom just shuffles everyone around.

“They (Paignton) are under a lot of pressure to get anything, whether it be a bonus point, a draw, a draw with a bonus point or a win that would get them out of a lot of trouble. They have got a lot of motivation.

“We have to be really ready for this game. Just because they are near the bottom does not mean they are a poor side.

“When we played them at home it took us 60 minutes before we got ahead.”

Services do have a few availability issues this week, but Lewis feels all clubs will be in the same situation this Saturday.

“I don’t think this week is good for anyone with the Easter holidays,” he said. “I reckon Paignton, St Austell and us won’t have full teams to select from.

“We had two home cup semi-finals last week and we had everyone coming out of the woodwork. We want consistency in our team selection. We want to be able to select the same team as the week before but we just can’t get that at the minute.”

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

AFTER their RFU Senior Vase heroics last weekend, Saltash will return to concentrating on trying to secure promotion to Western Counties West.

They currently sit in third spot in the league behind Wellington and Penryn.

Wellington have opened up a little bit of a gap at the top and have now completed all their away games.

However, Saltash are only eight points behind second-placed Penryn with two games in hand. They also still have their Cornish rivals to play. It means finishing second is still in their own hands.

This weekend they will host seventh-placed Lanner at Moorlands Lane.

Saltash will go into that match on a massive high after booking their place at Twickenham last weekend.

Nick Skinnard and his coaching staff will be hoping to lure of places in that RFU Senior Vase final on May 6 with bring the best out of their players in the final six league matches.

Saltash will be hoping Plymstock Albion Oaks could do them a favour on Saturday when they host Penryn at Horsham Fields.

Oaks, along with the likes of Bude and Withycombe, are one of those clubs that the top four clubs are wary of visiting.

Plymstock have pushed Wellington and Honiton incredibly hard in the last few weeks, but have just not been able to cause a shock.

“We just have to find a way to get points against these sides,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor. “We match them all the way but then come away with nothing.”

Oaks are hoping they can change that against a Penryn side, who have not been beaten since losing to Wellington on January 6.

If Plymstock fail to win on Saturday then they could be overtaken by city rivals Plymouth Argaum.

Ninth-placed Argaum entertain the Pirates Amateurs at Bickleigh Down this weekend.

The Pirates are currently two places and 10 points behind Argaum in the table but they do have a game in hand.

“When we went down to their place we got two bonus points and could easily have won. We also beat them down there at the end of last season, so we know we can get a result on Saturday,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman.

“It is certainly a game we would like to get a win from.”

Argaum could welcome back Mason Edwards and Euan Collins, but back-row forward Joe Walker could be doubtful after damaging ribs last weekend in their 38-10 win over Wessex.

Teenager Tom Bradshaw impressed in that match for Argaum and could get the nod again in the second-row.

For the second time this season, Tavistock will welcome Honiton to Sandy Park.

The clubs met in the semi-finals of the Devon Intermediate Shield, with Honiton winning 29-14 in a competitive match.

Honiton, who sit six places and 41 points ahead of Tavistock, will be favourites to claim another victory, but the hosts are hoping they could cause an upset, despite missing some players.

“We have got a few out,” said Tavistock coach Hammy Kerswill. “We do have some tough games coming up, but hopefully we will be all right.”

Tavistock did progress to the semi-finals of the RNEC Cup on Wednesday night by coming from behind to beat Old Techs 32-22 in a highly-competitive match at Keyham.

The game was decided in the closing minutes when Old Techs missed touch going for the corner from a penalty and Tavistock collected the ball and scored under the posts for a converted try by Martin Budden.

Carl Parsons, Bren Rees and Richard Cann also scored tries for Tavistock, with Jack Easton kicking their goals.

“We said afterwards how many times this season has the firsts or seconds gone eight points down and come back to win by 10?” said Kerswill.

“It could easily have gone the wrong way for us when we were eight points down.

“We only knew about the game on the Monday so the team was just put together a little bit, but it was nice to get a win.”

DEVON ONE AND CUP COMPETITIONS

TAMAR Saracens’ season will come to an end on Saturday when they travel to Dartmouth in Devon One.

The match should have been played at the Parkway but as it has been postponed a number of times before Saracens have been told by league officials that it now has to take place at Wessex Way.

Sarries are guaranteed to finish fifth in the standings but Dartmouth could finish third and overtake Totnes if they win.

Dartmouth have beaten Saracens twice already this season – once in the David Butt Trophy and away in the league – so the Plymouth club are hoping it will be third time lucky on Saturday and they can end their campaign on a high.

However, for the second week running they are again struggling for players. Last week they travelled to Totnes with just 13 players.

“We have got so many people missing,” said coach Chey Bryce. “But I think we have got 18 players, which is better than last week.

“This will be our last game. Our season will be over after this.

“We just have to get it over and done with and get the game played.”

There is a big match in the quarter-finals of the Devon Junior Cup where Old Techs will host OPMs at Weston Mill.

It will be Techs’ second game in four days after their narrow 32-22 defeat to higher league Tavistock on Wednesday night at Keyham.

Techs were 12-8 up at half-time and 22-15 up midway through the second period.

They still had a chance to win late on. They were only three points behind and got a penalty. They went for the corner, but failed to find touch and Tavistock ran up the other end and scored a converted try under the posts.

“All we had to do was make touch but we didn’t and they run it back and score,” said Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith. “It is just little margins again.

“It was just small little mistakes and maybe a couple more refereeing decisions could have gone our way.

“But I told the players that the effort they put in was superb, as was their attitude.

“After the season we have had to come out and play a team a league above and although we lost by 10 points I think the game was a lot closer than that.

“It was a good game to watch for any neutral.

“Maybe once we got that try (early in the second half) and another straight after we might have got a little bit ahead of ourselves. Maybe we should have just calmed down a little bit, but, fair play to them (Tavistock), they came back to us.

“But we showed what we can do when we get our act together.

“I was disappointed with the result but not the way we played.”

Bedford-Smith hopes his team can take the positives out of Wednesday’s match into Saturday’s clash with OPMs, who they will join in Devon Two next season. If Techs don’t win then their season will be over.

“There are a few sore and aching bodies and scuffed knees after Wednesday,” said Bedford-Smith.

“Hopefully, it won’t be our last game of the season but it could be. Hopefully, we can carry what we did on Wednesday into Saturday.

“But sometimes you don’t know which Old Techs side is going to come out – the team that came out against Tamar Saracens or the one on Wednesday.”

OPMs have not played a competitive match for more than a month, but will be keen to prove a point against Techs after narrowly missing out on promotion for a second season running.

The clubs did meet twice in the David Butt Trophy at the start of the season with both clubs winning one match each.

The winners of Saturday’s match will play Topsham in the semi-finals.

Meanwhile, OPMs second team will play Saltash’s seconds in the semi-finals of the Pedrick Cup at King George V Playing Fields.

DHSOB are in RNEC Cup action this weekend when they play University of Plymouth III at Stonehouse Creek.

“Hopefully, we will be able to get a stronger side out than recently,” said DHSOB’s Mike Freeman.

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