Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Ivybridge look to keep run going, while Oaks and Argaum meet in big derby match

IVYBRIDGE will be hoping they can continue their 100 per cent start to the South West Premier season when they host league newcomers Drybrook at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday (2.30pm).

The Bridgers are one of only three teams in the division to have a maximum 10 points from the opening two games.

Having beaten Camborne in their first match, Ivybridge picked up five points at Cleve last week.

However, they will not really know what to expect from Drybrook.

The Gloucestershire side have come up from South West One this season.  They were promoted as champions but were heavily beaten 44-17 on the opening day by last year’s South West One runners-up Exeter University.

However, they did bounce back last week by overcoming another Devon team, Exmouth, 18-17 at home.

Ivybridge will be playing their second game on the new artificial pitch at Cross-in-Hand.

Although they have won and scored four tries in their opening two games, they still feel there is more to come.

“There are still a few work-ons,” said Ivybridge coach Jamie Tripcony. “We need to make sure we are getting those hits in and having a real energy in defence as we have let in a couple of soft tries.”

Ivybridge, though, have been clinical in attack in their opening two games and their set-piece has gone well. They will been keen to get another win at home before Devon derby matches against Exeter University and Exmouth.

SOUTH WEST ONE & WESTERN COUNTIES WEST

DEVONPORT Services will be looking for their first points on their travels in South West One when they head to Teignmouth on Saturday.

Services got their first win in their new division last week by beating St Ives 26-22 at the Rectory.

That followed a bit of a nightmare opening game away at Okehampton where they lost 49-5.

Coach Mike Lewis now wants his side to re-produce last Saturday’s performance on the road.

“Last season we were a bit indifferent on the road,” said Lewis. “We were certainly a different team to when we played at home. The Okehampton game would suggest that we haven’t broken that mould yet, but I am hoping this week that we do.

“We have got plenty of players to select from and after last week’s win we are really looking forward to it.

“The effort the boys put in just to keep St Ives out and win the game was second to none. Their enthusiasm, grit and determination was some of the best I’ve seen.”

He added: “I don’t really know what to expect from Teignmouth, but I would imagine they are quite similar to ourselves.

“They lost their first game but just edged out Cullompton last week.

“I think they have a great ethos up there and they look after their players. That’s why they do so well.”

Lewis admitted it was important for his side to win last Saturday in their first home match after coming up from Western Counties West.

“If we had of lost last week we would have been putting more pressure on ourselves,” he said. “We’d have probably been over analysing stuff, but just getting that win alleviates that pressure. It means we can relax a bit more going into this game. We don’t want to relax too much, but just enough not to be tense and be trying too hard.”

Mark Friend, Rhys Williams and Luke Kenny are not available for selection this weekend, but Services do have good numbers to choose from. Their second team will play Teignmouth at home in the Devon Merit Table.

Meanwhile, life does not get much easier for Saltash in Western Counties West.

The Ashes have been handed a tough start to the season back at level seven. They faced one of the promotion favourites, Sidmouth, in their opening game and then entertained last season’s third-placed finishers St Austell.

This weekend they travel to Tiverton, who have won and drawn their first two games under new director of rugby Jon Hill.

All away games are tough in Western Counties West, as Saltash found out in their opening match at Sidmouth. However, they will travel to Coronation Field encouraged by their display against St Austell. They narrowly lost 22-19 at Moorlands Lane, but could easily have won the match in the closing stages.

Tiverton, who have former Albion and Exeter players Tom Skelding and Ed Lewsey in their ranks, drew 20-20 at Paignton last week and overcame Kingsbridge 24-13 in their opening match.

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

THE top match in the Cornwall/Devon League this weekend is at Horsham Fields where Plymstock Albion Oaks host fellow early pacesetters Plymouth Argaum in a mouth-watering derby.

Both clubs have won their opening two games to sit in the top four.

Argaum have a maximum 10 points from home victories over Withycombe and Pirates Amateurs, while Oaks have nine from a home win over much-fancied Penryn and an away success at the Pirates.

“They (Argaum) have their tails up and they are two from two like us,” said Oaks’ Aiden Taylor.

“It is going to be a tough game, it always is against Argaum, but we have got home advantage.

“I think it will be a good local derby and it’s our VPs day at the club as well. Our seconds are also at home, so it should be a good day.

“Hopefully, we have a good squad and we can make it three wins on the trot.”

Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman said: “It is a big game. We have been playing well but I think Oaks will be a bigger test than the teams we have played so far, without being disrespectful to them.

“Oaks’ opening two results have raised a few eyebrows and as they have home advantage they should be favourites.

“They have got their VPs day and so they have earmarked the occasion.”

Plymstock were favourites when the teams met at Horsham Fields at the end of last season but Argaum won 37-31. Quarterman knows Oaks will be keen to make up for that loss.

“We know they did not like the result last year,” he said. “That was also their VPs day.

“There might also be more expectation on us this year. Last season we went up there with no-one expecting anything, so we had nothing to lose. This time we are second in the table, although there’s only been two games.”

Argaum are set to be without their veteran former National League scrum-half Chris Perkins, who has scored in both their opening games. However, they do hope to have last season’s newcomer of the year award winner Euan Collins back to take over from him.

Collins, though, will need to pass a fitness test to feature, while Lewis Roddy is still suspended.

Tavistock will be hoping to cause a major shock and secure their first win of the season when they entertain Penryn at Moorlands Lane on Saturday.

Tavvy frustrating lost their opening game to Bude 16-14 after conceding a penalty in the seventh minute of injury-time.

They then suffered availability problems last week and were well beaten 39-0 at Liskeard-Looe.

“We know Penryn are decent all around the park so we are expecting a tough battle, particularly up front,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “That being said, we must capitalise in our home pitch and make the most of Sandy Park.

“Having lost to Oaks on the road, they will be eager to get their away campaign up and running as we are to get that first win under our belt.”

Tavistock will be able to welcome back Josh Langton, Sam Northmore and Jasper Cameron, while Jack Easton is set to make his first start of the season at full-back. Tavistock are waiting on late fitness test for Phil Wilson and Jack Glover.

After two games they find themselves in the bottom three and they know they will be facing a fired up Penryn side, who were upset to lose to Oaks in their last away game.

Meanwhile, Liskeard-Looe will be out to extend their unbeaten run to three games on their return to the Cornwall/Devon League when they visit fellow newcomers Topsham.

The two newly-promoted clubs have had contrasting fortunes in the opening two games. Liskeard claimed a draw away at South Molton in their first match before beating Tavistock 39-0 last weekend. Topsham, though, are the only team yet to pick up a point. They were beaten 38-18 away at Bude last weekend and lost 59-3 at home to Honiton.

DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE

OLD TECHS are keen to build on their bonus-point win over New Cross last weekend when they travel to North Tawton on Saturday.

Techs expect the trip to Taw Meadow to be one of their trickiest of the season. Last year’s Devon Two champions North Tawton have always had a good home record and they made a stunning start to the season with a 39-15 away win at OPMs last weekend.

“We are going to have tough games and we are going to be tested, but that’s why we want to be in this league,” said Old Techs chairman Dave Evans.

“This game away (North Tawton) and Exeter Athletic away are going to be tough matches, but they are going to be tough for everyone.

“The good thing is we should be going up there with a close to full side before a few of our 29 (Commando) boys go away in a couple of weeks.”

Techs took a lot of confidence out of their five-try victory over New Cross last Saturday. They are hoping they can match North Tawton’s pace and support play, which they showed off so well against OPMs last week.

OPMs are without a league match this weekend, but they have two clubs games against Liskeard-Looe and Salcombe.

Tamar Saracens will be hoping to put last Saturday’s disappointing home performance against Exeter Saracens behind them when they travel to New Cross.

Tamar Saracens were beaten 38-5 on their own soil last week.

“The team will try to right their wrongs from last weekend’s match,” said a club spokesman.

Sarries will be hoping to have a bit more strength in depth in their forwards for the trip to Kingsteignton.

Meanwhile, Saracens’ Steve Hodge has been selected for the England Deaf squad’s trip to Sofia next weekend to take on the Bulgarian national team.

In the Devon Merit Table, DHSOB face what could be the most difficult fixture in Division Two South & West – a trip to Kingsbridge seconds.

However, Old Boys’ coach Martyn Ruskin says they will travel to High House in positive mood.

“We’ve got 22 or 23 players going,” said Ruskin. “It is probably the biggest squad we’ve been able to put out for an away trip in about three years.

“One of our sponsors have let us use their mini bus so we are making it a proper team outing.

“We’ve got colts coming through, old players coming back, some new players in there and the usual heads. It is a real mixture, but definitely a positive.

“We have been training hard and the lads are ready to go. We want to push on from the Argaum game.

“One thing we are trying to teach our lads to do is not worry about the opposition.”

Also in Division Two South & West, Plymstock Albion Oaks IIs will host Argaum Wanderers, while Tavistock IIs will play University of Plymouth III.

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