IVYBRIDGE have dropped down to third in the South West Premier League after losing 20-10 away at leaders Bournemouth.
It was the Bridgers’ second successive defeat, having narrowly lost 31-25 to fellow high-flyers Barnstaple last weekend.
Ivybridge had picked up two points against Barnstaple, but on Saturday at Bournemouth they failed to pick up anything for the first time this season.
However, they could easily have returned home with something from a tight top-of-the-table match.
Ivybridge took the lead in Dorset when winger Damon Akerman managed to get on the end of a Matt Grieveson kick through to score the game’s opening try, which Billy Pinkus converted.
A long-range Grant Hancox penalty reduced the deficit for Bournemouth, who then took the lead when Hancox crossed out wide and Adam Davies added the conversion. That put Bournemouth 10-7 up.
Ivybridge, though, levelled the game when Pinkus kicked a penalty.
But Bournemouth went in at the break 13-10 ahead with a three-pointer from Davies.
The game, played in wet conditions, was decided mid-way through the second half when home scrum-half Mike Pope scored a fine try, which Davies converted.
Ivybridge tried everything to close the gap and get something out of the game, but Bournemouth did well to keep them a bay and open up an 11-point lead at the top of the table.
“We were within touching distances for long periods of the game,” said Ivybridge player-coach Jamie Tripcony. “But at the end they (Bournemouth) were quite clinical and scored a try and turned up the heat a bit.
“It was a huge disappointment not to return with anything. We thought we had done enough to at least get something out of the game.
“We went in at half-time 13-10 down and we were massively still in with a chance of winning the game. So to not come away with anything is very disappointing as the boys put in a huge amount of effort.
“We started really, really well and it was just disappointing momentum did not always go our way, but that’s rugby and fair play to Bournemouth. For a neutral it would have been a really good game to watch as it was two teams going really hard at it.
“We have learned a lot about ourselves within the last two weeks. They were two huge tests for us and we felt we were really, really competitive and had chances to win both games so we will take that as a positive and move forward.”
SOUTH WEST ONE WEST
DEVONPORT Services suffered their first home defeat of the season when they went down 20-17 to Lydney on Saturday.
It was also the first time since their promotion from Western Counties West that Services have lost back-to-back matches, having gone down to leaders Launceston last week.
“We just weren’t on our game,” said team manager Kieran Leach. “They were really good and they deserved the win.
“They were quicker and the breakdown area did not go well for us, we gave away a few penalties there, which is not like us. We also gave away penalties in other areas.
“It is tough to take but hopefully we will have a few more players returning next week to bolster the squad.”
Services started off on the attack and camped on Lydney’s line for the opening five minutes. They had a couple of five-metre scrums but could not turn their territory into points.
It took former National League side Lydney until the 17th minute to get into Devonport’s half but when they did they scored.
Services, though, did hit back when Will Marsh crashed over from eight yards following a quick tap penalty. Matt Anstis added the conversion and then kicked a penalty to put Services 10-5 ahead.
But Lydney went in at the break two points in front when they scored a converted try just before half-time.
They then kicked a penalty immediately after the interval and then the visitors scored a third try to go 10 points ahead.
“We suddenly woke up then and really chased the game,” said Leach.
Sam Bennett was prominent for Services with some strong carries and eventually the hosts did get a try when new centre Nick Murray showed great strength to score from just outside the 22. Anstis converted to leave Devonport just three points behind.
“We then threw everything at them, but we just could not get close,” said Leach. “They defended really well.”
Saltash’s Western Counties West match at Kingsbridge was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks’ record-breaking winning run was brought to an end in dramatic fashion when they were beaten 48-12 away at fourth-placed Honiton.
Oaks, who had suffered a blow in mid-week when influential centre Will Booth suffered a nasty knee injury in training, had a first half to forget in east Devon.
They found themselves 36-0 down at the break and although they improved after the interval they were unable to get anything out of the match.
Their defeat – their first since April 21 – has seen them lose top spot to Bude, who they play at home next weekend.
“We just got a bit bullied,” admitted player-coach Aiden Taylor. “They were massive in the forward pack and we didn’t want to tackle in the first half.”
He added: “We just have to wipe this game away. The boys put everything on the line, but we just weren’t good enough on the day. Next week we have Bude and if we win we go back to the top.
“We can’t get disheartened just because we have lost one game. It is just one game. We have won 10 out of 11 and we just have to get back on that horse.
“For me now it is all about the reaction of the players. What do we want to get out of the season? Do we sit off now we have lost our winning record or do we get down and push on?”
Oaks hope to find out the extent of Booth’s injury on Monday. The former Liskeard player’s injury just came from attempting to kick a ball in a game of touch.
“They think he might have done his MCL and got a fracture in his knee,” said Taylor. “But we are hoping it is not that bad. He was a massive loss. We also had a few other boys unavailable this week. We were light weight in the pack. We could not really afford unavailabiltities when they (Honiton) were at full strength. Hopefully, we will have boys coming back in for next week.”
Dan Long and Joe Brearley scored Oaks’ tries at Honiton, with Al Murray kicking one conversion.
Plymouth Argaum also suffered a big away defeat, going down 43-0 away at new leaders Bude, who dominated the set pieces on Saturday.
However, despite the scoreline, the Bickleigh Down club, who are still missing a load of key players due to injuries, felt there were positives from their trip to north Cornwall.
“We were really encouraged,” said Argaum’s Stuart Quarterman.
“Bude had so much possession mainly because of their scrum, but when we did have the ball we looked really good.
“Bude had to work for every single point; there were no easy tries. I was so proud of the lads as they really fronted up and they will be some sore bodies.”
Argaum dropped down to 10th spot in the division after that defeat, with Liskeard-Looe, who they meet this coming weekend, overtaking them in the standings after they beat Pirates Amateurs 34-15 at home.
Tavistock stay in 11th spot after they narrowly lost 10-5 at Lanner. Tavistock did pick up their fourth losing bonus point, which is the most in the division. However, they will be hoping that they can turn narrow defeats into wins in the second half of the season.
Winger Will Gardner scored Tavistock’s only try in Cornwall on Saturday. Scoring points has been Tavistock’s biggest problem in their opening 11 games. They have managed just 109 in total so far, which is the lowest in the league, but they do have the best defence of the bottom five sides.
DEVON JUNIOR CUP AND ROUND-UP
OPMs suffered extra-time agony as they lost 13-10 to high-flying Devon One rivals Exeter Athletic at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the Devon Junior Cup.
The match finished 10-10 at the end of 80 minutes and the sides should have played 10 minutes each way of extra-time.
However, as the game had kicked off at the normal league time of 2.30pm and the weather was bad, it was too dark to play the full allocated amount of extra-time. The referee played five minutes for the first period of extra-time, where Exeter Athletic kicked a penalty, but could only play three minutes in the second. The game ended just as OPMs were due to have a five-metre line-out.
OPMs were frustrated not to progress through to the semi-finals, but they were delighted with their performance against Exeter.
The visitors, beaten just once this season, took the lead in the eighth minute when Reid Mawdsley went over on the left after some good play after gathering a 22 drop-out.
But OPMs hit back 10 minutes later when winger Jake Neville scored a fine individual try from 50 metres out, which Sammie Matts converted.
Matts then kicked a penalty to put OPMs 10-5 up before the hosts had to defend a number of five-metre line-outs. OPMs’ defence, though, on their try line was outstanding.
However, Exeter pulled level eight minutes into the second period with a try by winger Sam Phillips following a scrum and that was how it stayed until the third minute of extra-time when Jake Roberts put over a kick in front of the posts.
“The performance we put in was outstanding, especially following last week’s performance against Dartmouth,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt.
“We were absolutely thrilled with how we played. Yeah, I know it is a loss but it was still a 10-10 draw after 80 minutes against a side that are second in the league.
“We face them next week so this is a massive moral-boost for the boys. Hopefully, we can carry it on into next Saturday.”
He added: “People really fronted up. They (Exeter) did have some very big carriers, but people still fronted up. The OPM way is to put your body on the line, no matter what. You do it for your mates and I have a big smile on my face as I can’t fault anyone.”
Meanwhile, Tamar Saracens IIs reached the quarter-finals of the Ellis Trophy by beating University of Plymouth IV 22-5.
Ryan Deacon captained the side as he continues his comeback from injury and Kyle Andrews (2), Matt Trotter and Matt Read scored tries for them, with Deacon adding one conversion from two efforts. Frazer Tatchell and Dan Best also attempted kicks but missed.
Saracens gave their man of the match award to veteran Alf Coakley for his work in the scrums.
In the Devon Merit Table, St Columba & Torpoint were handed a walkover against University of Plymouth III, while DHSOB gave Torquay Athletic a walkover.
However, some of the DSHOB team joined up with Plympton Victoria to help them field a side to play Plymstock Albion Oaks II.
Plym Vic were struggling for players, but made a scratch side up to play a game against Oaks’ second string at Horsham Fields. Oaks ran in a half century of points, with Plym Vic managing just one converted try, but team manager Chris Hunt said it was a good match.
“It was an enjoyable game of rugby,” he said. “The main difference was they were a team, but we actually played some good rugby for a scratch side. However, the main thing was it was an enjoyable afternoon and everyone went out and had a laugh.”
Plym Vic have been struggling with injuries and had other people either working or at Twickenham on Saturday. However, they do hope their numbers will pick up for the second half of the season.