RUGBY PREVIEWS: Lower league clubs turn their attention to the Devon Junior Cup

THE Devon Junior Cup takes centre stage for Plymouth’s lower league clubs this weekend.

Old Techs will host Salcombe at Weston Mill, DHSOB welcome Buckfastleigh to Stonehouse Creek, while Tamar Saracens travel to Devon One rivals Dartmouth.

OPMs should have been playing Plympton Victoria at King George V Playing Fields, but they have been given a walkover, while St Columba & Torpoint had been due to play Devon One side Totnes but have withdrawn from the competition.

DHSOB are planning a club day at Stonehouse Creek for only their second home match of the season.

Their under-14 and under-10 teams will play before the cup game as a curtain raiser and they are planning a big get together after the fixture.

DHSOB coach Martyn Ruskin knows his team will face a tough test against Devon One side Buckfastleigh but he just wants his players to prove a point after last weekend’s disappointing loss to Plym Vic.

“This week the lads want to rectify the first half performance from last Saturday,” he said.

“We are realistic and know they (Buckfastleigh) are in a different league to us, literally, but the lads just want to be able to walk off saying that they have got it right whatever the result.

“I don’t think any game is going to get any harder than playing Kingsbridge IIs, but Buckfastleigh are going well in Devon One and I think they are fairly organised this year.”

He added: “We’ve got a few injuries and unavailabilities so we will have players out of position, but that’s what it’s like at this level.

“The lads just want to play games and get it right. Even against Kingsbridge they walked off and said they’d learned a lot from it. Even last week we learnt a lot about our own character and how to set ourselves up when that whistle goes for kick-off.”

If DHSOB were to pull off a shock win they would play the winner of the Dartmouth v Tamar Saracens game. If DHSOB lose they will drop into the Devon Junior Shield.

Tamar Saracens are hoping they can get back to winning ways when they travel to league rivals Dartmouth.

Sarries have lost their last two matches against OPMs and North Tawton. They were particularly frustrated last weekend to lose their derby match with the Old Boys by just one single point.

“Last week was a massive wake-up call,” said Sarries spokesman Marc Cioffi. “I think we came off the pitch kicking ourselves because decisions didn’t go our way but we shouldn’t let it come down to decisions; we should have been winning by clear points.

“It hurt, but we realised we had done the damage ourselves.  We are playing some really good rugby, but our discipline has let us down.

“There have been some lessons learnt. It has been difficult for us so far as we feel we have been playing some good rugby over the last couple of weeks but just don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green.

“The last two weekends have hurt massively, but we have to look on the positives – there is so much stuff that we are doing right – it’s just little things that are letting us down.

“Hopefully, this weekend we can make amends.

“Dartmouth are an unpredictable team. We played them a couple of times last season. From what I remember they have a very organised pack and they always try to force teams to play their style of rugby and we can’t get sucked into that.”

Old Techs face a bit of unknown quantity in Salcombe on Saturday at Weston Mill.

Salcombe opted to join the deregulated Devon Merit Table in the summer and have recruit some new players.

Techs play in Devon One, but they will not be underestimating Salcombe as the last three meetings between the clubs have been tight.

Techs beat Salcombe in the David Butt Trophy last season at Weston Mill 14-8, while the two league meetings in 2016/17 were also close with Techs winning 15-6 at home and 16-14 away.

Tavistock should have been playing Devonport Services IIs on Saturday in the Lockie Cup, but they have pulled out of playing this weekend. However, Tavistock’s second team will host Plymouth Argaum IIs in the Ellis Trophy.

Argaum also do not have a first team game, but secretary Stuart Quarterman said: “We are fielding a genuine second team.”

Also in the Ellis Trophy, Plymstock Albion Oaks IIs are due to play OPMs II.

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