RUGBY ROUND-UP: Ivybridge aim to say goodbye to pitch with Devon Senior Cup glory

IVYBRIDGE will be hoping to say goodbye to their grass pitch in style on Monday when they play Exmouth at Cross-in-Hand in the final of the Devon Senior Cup (2.30pm).

The day after the showpiece county event, contractors will start work digging up the surface to make way for Devon and Cornwall’s first RFU AGP pitch.

The new floodlit artificial surface will be open for the start of the 2018/19 season and will be similar to the one at Hornets RFC. It will be available for anyone to book via the RFU.

Ivybridge, who have never won the Devon Senior Cup, are hoping Monday will be a special occasion for the club.

“It should be a really good day,” said Ivybridge player-coach Lewis Paterson.

“It’s the last game that will be played before the pitch is dug up so there will be quite a lot of memories going on. We are really looking forward to it.

“The boys will be fired up. We finished the league season really strongly, beating Dings, and we have had a good run at home.

“We haven’t managed to win a Devon derby this year, so this is another chance for us to do that.”

Ivybridge would love a piece of silverware and to add their name to the list of previous winners of the cup.

“I think we have won the cup below this one (Devon Intermediate Cup) but this is a chance to add another bit of history for the club,” said Paterson.

Despite having a cup final on Monday, Ivybridge still allowed seven of their best players to feature for Devon on Saturday in their opening County Championship match against Gloucestershire at Brixham.

Devon lost 38-26 after Gloucestershire scored 10 points in injury-time.

Paterson, Charlie Briant, Ben Watts and George Wilson started the county match, while Ben King, Matt Grieveson and Wes Vermigle were replacements, as were Plymstock Albion Oaks’ Tim Coats and Aiden Taylor.

Briant scored one of Devon’s four tries, with their others coming from Barnstaple’s Jack Bond and Ashlee Crouch and Okehampton’s Rhys Palmer. Brixham’s former Albion back Tom Putt kicked three conversions.

“It was good to see our boys come through unscathed,” said Paterson, who will have an operation on his thumb after the county final. “I’m sure they’ll be some sore bodies, but we are really excited about Monday.”

Meanwhile, Cornwall, who have reached the County Championship final for the last five years, had to settle for a 15-15 home draw with Surrey at Redruth.

Surrey, whose side was made up of all National One and Two players, including Cameron Zeiss and Dylan Flashman who previously trained with Plymouth Albion, went 15-0 up early in the first half.

But Cornwall, captained by former Albion skipper Jake Murphy, came back and scored tries through ex-Plymouth back Jon Dawe and Tom Notman.

The Duchy, who due to unavailabilities were only able to include four National League players in their starting line-up, will host Devon at Camborne next weekend.

Finally, Tavistock ended their long wait for an away win by crushing Wessex 65-33 in their final match of the season on Saturday.

It was a great way for the west Devon club to end their campaign and the perfect way to say goodbye to long-serving coach Will Reed.

“It was a very fluent and high enjoyable game,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill.

Mark Friend and George Hillson both scored hat-tricks, while Andrew Schuttkacker, Ben Hadfield and Ethan Lamerton also touched down.

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