IVYBRIDGE will get their season up-and-running on Saturday when they host Kingsbridge in friendly (2.30pm).
The match will be played at Rutt Field with work still continuing on the new artificial pitch at Cross-in-Hand.
Devon Cup holders Ivybridge may be two divisions higher than Kingsbridge, but coach Lewis Paterson is expecting a tough pre-season test. He is set to use the game to have a look at some of the new crop of youngsters coming through the club’s colts set-up.
“It should be a cracker of game,” said Paterson. “It’s a great opening game of the season with them being our local rivals.
“They are a tough side. They were unfortunate to fall just short (in Western Counties West) last season, but we know how good Kingsbridge are and we know about the talent they produce. Two of their former players now play for us – Robin Luscombe and Ben King – so we are aware of them. They have a similar ethos as us in promoting young local players.
“It will be nice to be able to test ourselves against a side like them at the start of the season.”
Ivybridge have not brought many new faces in during the summer. Toby Borrow has returned to the club after a number of years away, while Alex Taylor has arrived from Withycombe. But mainly the Bridgers are looking to last season’s colts to strengthen their squad for their fourth season at level five.
“We have an abundance of talent coming through,” said Paterson. “This is probably one of the most exciting bunches I have seen in a long time to come up from Ivybridge’s colts.
“You usually just get one or two come up but this year there’s six or seven who really stand out and are putting their hands up to play in the first team.”
Last year the likes of Wes Vermingle and Marcus Prout became regular starters, while Jay Toogood was another under-20 who made his mark in the closing stages of the campaign.
“There’s a really good progression of young players in our squad and it is going to be great on Saturday to see that,” added Paterson. “It will be a mixture of a side we put out and our young talent will get a run out.”
Ivybridge will follow that up with a game against Plymstock Albion Oaks at Horsham Fields on Wednesday night (7pm).
Oaks have this week signed Billy Evans from Old Techs and Will Booth from Liskeard-Looe.
Evans had a number of higher league clubs interested in his services, but eventually opted for Oaks.
Techs are disappointed to lose him after years of loyal service, but at the age of 27 he is keen to have a go at a higher level.
Meanwhile, Plymouth Argaum have lost their captain John Ireland. The powerful centre is leaving the UK to go and teach English in China. However, the Roborough-based club have re-signed Kal Bloomfield from Oaks.