TAVISTOCK will go into the Cornwall/Devon League season on the back of a 29-7 win over a Paignton XV at Sandy Park on Saturday.
It was only the west Devon club’s second warm-up game before they kick-off their campaign at home to Bude next Saturday – their first was a mid-week loss with a makeshift team away at North Tawton.
Tavistock felt there were plenty of positives to take out of Saturday’s victory over their south Devon visitors, who were leading 7-5 at the break.
The home club totally dominated the scrums against a Paignton second-team pack and the hosts also got better as the game went on.
In the first 40 minutes they did make too many errors in open play, including gifting Paignton a comical try, but as the match went on their younger players grew in confidence.
Coach Hammy Kerswill hopes two pre-season games will be enough for his team to hit the ground running in the Cornwall/Devon League.
Saturday’s game had initially been due to be a three-way fixture with OPMs also playing, but the Plymouth team had to pull-out.
“We’ve only had two games mainly due to weddings,” said Kerswill.
“It was a bit disappointing OPMs didn’t come as we know from last season’s cup final what we would have been up against and it would have been a good judge. A three-team fixture also worked well last year with Devonport and Brixham.
“But it was still a good run-out for us with so many new faces. Our average age is just over 21, so we have got a lot of youth, but a lot of talent as well.
“(Director of rugby) James (Reyburn) has brought in a completely different game-plan to what we have been playing and so it is a lot of adaption, but towards the end of the game there when we were attacking it started coming together.”
The first half never really got going due to lots of stoppages and dropped balls.
Paignton really struggled with the scrums, but did have some useful backs. However, they did not have to do anything to take the lead on 18 minutes.
Tavistock were awarded a penalty on their own 22, but rather than kick for touch they tapped it and tried to go wide. Yet a number of the team had switched off and the pass went astray and Tavistock found themselves on their own line. They still tried to pass it in the danger zone but ended up hitting the inside of the post with a pass and the ball bounced off the upright and into the hands of a Paignton’s Harry Law, who simply dived over the line. Lee Sandercock added the simple conversion for the visitors.
Tavistock, though, did cut the gap straight away. Paignton let the restart kick bounce out of field for a line-out in their 22, but they were penalised for a none straight throw and Tavistock scored from the resultant scrum, with young flanker Jasper Cameron claiming an unconverted try.
Paignton struggled for numbers and had to borrow some Tavistock players and the visitors, who had played Newton Abbot’s seconds on Thursday, just ran out of steam in the second half.
Tom Friend put Tavistock into the lead on 48 minutes with a try from close range before centre Ethan Lamerton added another seven minutes later to make it 17-7.
In the closing minutes captain Andrew Schuttkacker and Will Gardener added further tries, with Ed Nettleship putting over one conversion.
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