BILLY PINKUS scored 20 points as Ivybridge made it four wins out of four in the South West Premier League with a 25-19 success at Exeter University.
Their victory at Bonifire Field keeps them level on points with Bournemouth at the top of the table. They are the only two clubs to have won all their games so far.
Exeter University had started the day in third spot, but they have dropped down to seventh after Saturday’s results.
The hosts did snatch a late bonus point, which did annoy Ivybridge, who were also a little bit frustrated they did not score four tries.
“It was a very good win,” said coach Jamie Tripcony. “Obviously the conditions were very different to what we have been used to so far, but we thought that would be the case during the week and so we worked on trying to control the game slightly differently to what we usually do.
“And, fair play to the players, in the first half we really controlled the game as we wanted to. That was really positive.
“Second half we gave them a little bit more field position through a bit of ill-discipline and they scored one or two tries from that.
“Our forwards had a good day at the office. We put in a huge shift at scrum-time. The forwards gave us a real good platform and the backs were very, very clinical.”
He added: “If you had said before the game that you can have four points away from home, I would have bitten your hand off. But I think at the end there was a little bit of frustration that we didn’t get the five points.
“We had an opportunity right at the end to grab that, but it didn’t go our way.
“The boys played really well. We were really impressed with them, but if we are just going to rest on that and think that is okay then we are not going to improve as a team.
“I think the boys have worked themselves too hard for them not to be disappointed at the end of full-time because we, one, let them get a bonus point and, two, that we did not convert our opportunity we had just before that to allow us to get the bonus point.”
Ivybridge made a good start and took a 15-0 lead with tries by Pinkus and captain Charlie Briant and a penalty and two conversions for Pinkus.
Exeter University did kick a penalty before half-time, but Ivybridge looked in total control going into the second period.
Pinkus kicked another penalty after the interval before some indiscipline gave Exeter a number of penalties which allowed them to cut the gap.
But Ivybridge virtually sealed the game with a try and conversion by Pinkus, before they missed a chance to grab the all-important four try.
With time almost up, Exeter University grabbed a losing bonus point with a late converted try.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services ended Bridgwater’s unbeaten start to the season and moved up to fourth in the South West One standings on Saturday.
Services edged out a tight match at the Rectory 13-12 to make it three straight wins since their disappointing opening game at Okehampton.
Their win over a much-fancied Bridgwater side coached by former Plymouth Albion favourite Wayne Sprangle will raise eyebrows around the league.
“It is another benchmark for us as we have beaten a team that has been in this league for years,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“It was a good win as they will be there or there abouts come the end of the season.”
He added: “It could have gone either way in the last 10 minutes. They really came back at us but we held out.
“It was hard going and I think we will get a lot of close games this season, but we got the win and everyone’s happy.”
Defences were on top in the first half of a match played in heavy rain.
A Matty Anstis penalty in front of the posts was the only score in the first 40 minutes.
Bridgwater did have a lot of pressure in the final 10 minutes of the half after Services had lock Richard Goffin sin-binned after a maul collapsed, but the hosts somehow held their visitors out. However, at times it was a close run thing and Bridgwater were held up over the line at one point.
But after the break, the hosts extended their lead with another Anstis penalty after Bridgwater were again caught off-side.
Devonport, though, then gifted their visitors a try when they had a kick charged down and flanker Ethan Trebble-Westlake scored and Stuart Heal converted.
Services brought on the experienced Jamie Shone and his kicking out of defence proved crucial. The hosts went back in front when they stole a Bridgwater line-out after a good Shone kick and drove 22-metres before hooker Sam Bennett touched down in the corner. Anstis brilliantly converted to crucially put his side 13-7 ahead.
Late on Bridgwater lock Dan Kemmish scored in the corner to pull his side to within one single point, but try as they might the visitors could not snatch victory as Services dug deep in the final five minutes.
Saltash’s wait for a win on their return to Western Counties West continues as they were beaten 36-10 at home by fellow Cornish side Truro.
Although the Ashes have only picked up one point from their opening four games, the good news for them is that there are also plenty of other teams find it hard to claim wins.
They are only five points off ninth place so know if they can get a bit of momentum going they can easily move out of the bottom three. They Ashes players are confident things are going to pick up for them shortly. They do face two teams – Wadebridge and Chard – who are just five points above them in the next three weeks, as well as Wellington, who came up with them.
On Saturday, Saltash managed two tries against Truro. The first came Joe Roynane after a good break from winger Tom Martin. The second came from their captain Lewis Wells, who bullied his way over the line after a couple of good phases.
Plymstock Albion Oaks demolished Withycombe 51-7 at Horsham Fields to make it four wins out of four.
The eight-try home victory means Oaks continue as the early leaders of the Cornwall/Devon League.
In wind and heavy rain, Oaks’ pack provided the platform for their success over a Withycombe side, who do not appear to like travelling. The Exmouth-based club have won both their home games this season scoring more than 80 points in the process, but they have conceded 98 points in their two away games at Oaks and Argaum.
Withycombe just had no answer to Oaks’ set piece and mauling and their pacey backs behind.
“That’s four from four – we couldn’t ask much more,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor.
“Our forward pack absolutely destroyed them. We tired them in the scrums and mauls and then we moved it out wide.”
Taylor admits his side have made a dream start to the season, which has even surprised him.
“It is surprising,” admitted Taylor. “If you’d have said before the season that we would be four from four at this point I would have probably laughed. But as a team we are always looking to improve and we are getting better.”
The hosts led 22-7 at the break after briefly going 7-5 behind early on. Player-coach Taylor scored two tries for Oaks in the first half, with fellow coach Tom Richards also crossing. Al Broughton converted two of those tries and also kicked a penalty.
Withycombe’s only points came from an early try by Bryn Cresswell, which was converted by Lee Tanton.
The second half was all Oaks and they ran in another five tries with David Byng, Dan Long, Andy Porter, Tim Coats and George Dunn all touching down.
Plymouth Argaum suffered their first home defeat of the season when they were beaten 31-7 in horrible conditions by South Molton.
In a forgettable, stop-start match played in driving rain, South Molton’s scrum proved the key to their victory. Three of their four tries came as a result of their impressive set-piece.
Sam Howard gave last season’s Devon One champions the lead in the 22nd minute when Argaum dropped the ball on their own line after the visitors had put them under pressure at a scrum. Callum Stone added the conversion.
Seven minutes later, replacement Dan Smith scored from the back of a scrum and Stone again converted.
Argaum did put some pressure on towards the end of the half and it resulted in South Molton losing their discipline.
The visitors had a man sin-binned as Argaum were awarded a number of penalties close to the line. Within seconds of South Molton going a man down, Argaum scored when winger Tom Shepherd showed good strength to touch down in the left corner. Al Murray brilliantly converted from the touchline, but the hosts could not keep on the pressure.
Despite being a man down, South Molton got two penalties towards the end of the half. The first, fly-half Stone hit the post with but he made no mistake with the second, despite the wind, to give his side a 17-7 half-time lead.
Argaum had a lot of pressure at the start of the second period but could not convert it into points. Murray missed a penalty on 49 minutes and 14 minutes later the hosts were ruled to have knocked the ball on over the line.
South Molton weathered the storm and flanker Luke Doyle gave them breathing space with a try on 70 minutes after good play by prop Simon Murch.
The visitors knew the game was won and they turned up the pressure in the dying seconds looking for the all-important bonus point.
They won a penalty in front of the posts with time virtually up. Argaum were reduced to 14 men and not surprising South Molton opted for a five-metre scrum in front of the posts. From it they drove Argaum back and Smith was there to bag his second and provide Stone with an easy conversion.
Tavistock’s wait for a league win goes on after they frustratingly lost 14-9 at fellow strugglers Pirates Amateurs in a match that ended in a brawl and with Charlie Charlton having to go to hospital.
The visitors made a slow start and found themselves 7-0 behind after the Pirates attacked from a couple of penalties Tavistock gave away.
Tavistock suffered another blow after that when captain Andrew Schuttkacker twisted his ankle and had to go off.
And it got worse for them when they conceded a penalty try to trail 14-0.
But second half they mounted a comeback with Ed Nettleship kicking three penalties to get them within range of snatching a late victory.
However, there was to be no grandstand finish and instead the game end on a sour note with Charlton getting stamped on and tempers flaring. Charlton was taken to hospital.
Elsewhere, Liskeard-Looe made Torquay Athletic work hard for a 17-5 win at Lux Park on Saturday.
Last year, Torquay were in Western Counties West and Liskeard in Cornwall One, but there was little between the sides in the first half on Saturday.
The visitors led 5-0 at the break before scoring two more tries after the interval.
DEVON MERIT TABLE
DHSOB produced a good performance in their first home game of the season to beat a University of Plymouth III XV 24-0 in the Devon Merit Table.
It was the perfect way for the Old Boys to bounce back from their 89-0 hammering at Kingsbridge the week before.
DHSOB really controlled the game at Stonehouse Creek and they were delighted to not only score four tries but not concede any.
“It was an excellent performance where we controlled the game from kick-off,” said DHSOB coach Martyn Ruskin.
“We played to our strengths and kept the ball really well.
“It was a well deserved win which shows the ability we have. Finally, the hard work is paying off.”
Joe Dunn bagged two of tries for the Old Boys, with Finn Salter and Jack Jones crossing for their others. JJ Hibbert kicked two conversions.
St Columba & Torpoint came agonisingly close to snatching victory against a strong Plymstock Albion Oaks second string in the Devon Merit Table.
They lost 15-12 at Defiance Field but could easily have clinched the four points at the end.
Saints got a kickable penalty at the death, but rather than go for goal and try and secure a draw, they went for the corner to try and grab the win. However, they failed to make the line-out tell and had to settle for a losing bonus point.
The hosts dominated possession early on and full-back Kieran Hurrell gave them the lead after good play by scrum-half Lewis Stuart.
However, Oaks responded with two quick tries to take a 10-5 half-time lead.
Saints’ scrum impressed and they were awarded a penalty try after the break to put them 12-10 ahead.
But Oaks scored a third try that edged them three points ahead before Saints blew their late chance to win it.
Elsewhere, Plympton Victoria started their Devon Merit Table season with a 51-0 away defeat to a strong Torquay Athletic II side.
The hosts just had too much up front for Plym Vic, who were not helped by losing a couple of their regular forwards late on.
Plym Vic’s start to the season does not get any easier as they have to visit Kingsbridge II next weekend.
Prop Sean Dunn scored a hat-trick of tries as Devonport Services seconds progressed through the next round of the Lockie Cup with a 53-0 home victory over Devon One side Tamar Saracens.
Services were just far too strong for their city rivals in the Plymouth Combination cup competition.
As well as Dunn’s hat-trick, fellow Services forwards Mark Friend and Adrian Montague both crossed for two touch-downs. Devonport’s others tries came from Liam Murray and hooker Dave Wilkins, with Brandon Andrews kicking four conversions.
“You could say the team we played would have been the Services’ first team of a couple of years ago,” said Tamar Saracens’ Marc Cioffi.
“Congratulations to them, they were a phenomenal team. We treated this as a training game, but I just don’t think we were mentally prepared for it.
“It was just one of those days that no matter what we did or tried, it was never going to come through.
“But there were some positives. Adam Coutts played number eight for us and he did all he could to push us forward, but, unfortunately, we had a few too many injuries and they showed that they are from a higher league.
“We had five changes in our pack again this week, but there’s no excuses. The better team won on the day and congratulations to them.”
OPMs also progressed through to the quarter-finals after beating University of Plymouth III 25-5 at King George V Playing Fields.
It was OPMs’ first competitive win of the season and came courtesy of tries by Mark Hardy, captain Billy Garratt, Shaun Grundy and Dan Adams crossing. Mark Wratten kicked a penalty and a conversion.
“It was actually a good win as they (the university) were quite impressive and organised considering they haven’t been back for very long,” said OPMs coach Howard Turner.
“They made us work hard for the first 40 minutes against the wind and then we just kind of got on the front foot second half. It was nice to get a victory.”
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