SEVEN Ivybridge players and two from Plymstock Albion Oaks have been named in Devon’s 22-man squad for their opening County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Brixham on Saturday (2.30pm).
Ivybridge’s Charlie Briant, Ben Watts, Lewis Paterson and George Wilson will all start, while club colleagues Wes Vermigle, Ben King and Matt Grieveson will be on the bench, along with Oaks forwards Aiden Taylor and Tim Coats.
Matt Crosscombe, who has played for Plymouth Albion for the past two seasons, will start on the wing. He has signed to return to Brixham for the 2018/19 season and has opted to play for Devon, even though Albion have two rearranged league games to play.
Former Albion players Tom Putt and Wayne Sprangle will also line-up in Devon’s starting line-up.
The Green and Whites had a tough return to the top flight of county rugby last year, losing all three of their group games.
But Devon head coach Dan Parkes is hoping they can do better this term.
He was encouraged by their recent display against Cornwall in the Tamar Cup.
“Hopefully, we can build on what we did against Cornwall,” said Parkes, who is joined in the Devon coaching team by Matt Jess and Paterson. “If we can keep playing that way – I really liked the way we played down there – then I would be happy.
“Gloucestershire are a massive rugby county and have a lot of players to call upon.
“But this is our only home game so we have to try and chuck everything at it and try and get a win.
“Our goal is to get a win. We need a win. If we go two seasons back-to-back without a win it will be terrible and we’ll end up going back down. We might still end up doing that, but if we can pick up one win and then maybe another, then who knows what could happen.
“We just have to build on what we have now, with all the new players coming in and try and keep them for the following season.”
DEVON: 15 Charlie Briant (Ivybridge), 14 Jack Bond (Barnstaple), 13 Rhys Palmer (Okehampton), 12 Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge), 11 Matt Crosscombe (Plymouth Albion), 10 Tom Putt (Brixham), 9 Ben Watts (Ivybridge), 1 George Snell (Bideford), 2 Ashlee Crouch (Barnstaple), 3 Tom White (Newton Abbot), 4 Nathan Hannay (capt, Honiton), 5 George Wilson (Ivybridge), 6 Wayne Sprangle (Tiverton), 7 Dean Abrams (Okehampton), 8 Sam Thomas (Brixham). REPS: 16 Andy Hamilton (Taunton), 17 Aiden Taylor (Plymstock Albion Oaks), 18 Wes Vermigle (Ivybridge), 19 Tim Coats (Plymstock Albion Oaks), 20 Ben King (Ivybridge), 21 Jacob Nash (Brixham), 22 Matt Grieveson (Ivybridge).
Players have been listed by the clubs they were registered with at the end of the 2017/18 season.