IVYBRIDGE moved back up to second in the South West Premier League after claiming a 35-21 win over Bracknell at Cross-in-Hand.
They have also closed the gap on leaders Bournemouth, who suffered their first defeat of the season on Saturday when they lost 28-16 at Maidenhead.
It was a vital victory for Ivybridge, who had narrowly lost to fellow high-flyers Bournemouth and Barnstaple in their last two games.
“It was a big win for us just for momentum really after two losses in quite big games for us,” said player-coach Jamie Tripcony.
Ivybridge made a tremendous start and were 24-0 up in as many minutes, but by half-time they were only 29-21 ahead.
“We started really well and I think we got four tries in about 24 minutes,” said Tripcony.
“We were in control, but just before half-time we just lost a bit of concentration and let them back in. They scored with a runaway try and it seemed to give them belief. To be fair to them they carried really well.
“Our defensive shape at times was not brilliant. We certainly bought into our systems in attack, especially in the first 20, but maybe forgot about our systems in defence at times.
“Going in at half-time we were really frustrated that we had let them back into it.
“But the good thing was half-time came and we were able to re-set our minds and get ourselves a bit calmer ready for the second half. We were also able to highlight some of the things we were not doing defensively.
“Our defensive efforts were huge in that second half. The boys really put in a shift and we played the game out very sensibly. We played in a smart way, which was really pleasing.”
Billy Pinkus continued his impressive season by scoring 20 of Ivybridge’s points on Saturday with two tries and five conversions. Forwards George Wilson, Jon Morgan and Jay Geraty also crossed for tries.
An Ivybridge club XV will play a Plymouth Albion development side at Keyham on Monday evening.
The Albion XV features many players from Plymouth Combination clubs, including Saltash’s Lewis Wells and Ollie Mulberry, Oaks’ Aiden Taylor and former Ivybridge fly-half Mitch Pinkus.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services have dropped down to 10th in the South West One West table after suffering a heart-breaking last-gasp 31-27 defeat in Gloucestershire to home specialists Newent.
Services were leading with 80 minutes up on the clock, but the referee found more than 10 minutes of stoppage time and in the dying seconds Newent scored from close range to claim their sixth home win of the season.
It was Services’ third successive defeat and they will be desperate to bounce back next week at home to fifth-placed North Petherton.
Although Services are down to 10th they are only three points off fourth spot, which shows how tight the league is.
Devonport were 10-7 up at the interval against Newent with a try from forward Ben Morris and a conversion and penalty by Matt Anstis.
In the second period, teenager Harrison Slade and forward Andy Pond scored further tries for Services, which were both converted by Anstis, who also kicked a penalty to leave Services three points ahead going into injury-time.
SALTASH moved out of the bottom three in Western Counties West after a tense 17-15 win over Paignton at Keyham.
The victory was their fifth in six league and cup games, but they did make hard work of seeing off their fellow strugglers.
The match was moved from Moorlands Lane to the Navy’s artificial surface in Plymouth due to the weather.
Paignton, with their forwards impressing early on, took a 7-0 lead when winger George Palk scored a try on the right.
But the Ashes clawed their way back into the game when following a tap penalty they went wide and winger Joe Rider scored a try in the corner, which Reburn brilliantly converted.
Paignton, though, regained the lead eight minutes later through a Matt Tanner penalty before Reburn added one of his own to leave the score level at 10-10 at half-time.
The visitors started the second half strongly, with their forwards impressing, and they went 15-10 ahead when Stuart Kingsley scored from a catch-and-drive move.
But in the 58th minute, Saltash took the lead for the first time when after a tap penalty the ball was swung wide for full-back Ryan Cruickshanks to score and Reburn crucially added the conversion.
The final 20 minutes were tense, but Saltash were able to hang on to claim a vital four points.
Oaks had led the standings for 10 weeks but back-to-back defeats have seen them overtaken by Bude and now Penryn.
They were left frustrated not to pick up any points on Saturday in a penalty-ridden match played in poor light at Horsham Fields.
There was little to get excited about in the first half, with not a single point scored. Oaks’ Al Murray did try to kick two long-range penalties but they were well off target.
However, the game changed instantly after the interval. Oaks, who had suffered their first defeat of the season last Saturday at Honiton, scored after just a minute of the restart when Devon forward Tim Coats went over in the corner after some good play returning a Bude clearing kick.
That, though, seemed to wake Bude up and they replied almost instantly when they scored a similar try after running back a kick. Centre Kieran Sharp was the man to score for the visitors to level the scores.
And nine minutes later Bude went 12-5 ahead when Joe Wilson scored from a scrum and Ollie Denford converted.
On 60 minutes, Oaks were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes and Bude really turned up the pressure. Just before Plymstock were due to be restored to 15 men, the visitors scored a third try when player-coach Angus Hodges showed good pace to score on the left.
Plymstock did throw everything at Bude in the closing stages but could not even rescue a bonus point.
“It is just little things,” said Oaks’ player-coach Aiden Taylor after Saturday’s defeat. “But it was very frustrating on the day to produce a performance like that at home. We do pride ourselves on our home form.
“We’re not one to make excuses but we have got six or seven key players out, especially in the backline.
“We are just not gelling as a team at the moment just because we have to keep chopping and changing. We had a flanker on the wing, Kieran Jamieson. He played excellent, but he is a flanker. We just can’t get any consistency in the team at the moment.”
He added: “Our two biggest games of the season – Honiton and Bude – and we have not stepped up.
“Our ill-discipline is our Achilles heel. It was last season and it is coming back into our game. We talk to the ref too much in the game and we get put on the back foot. We got marched back 10 about three times and got a yellow card.”
Taylor was frustrated Oaks got a yellow card, but Bude didn’t, even though they gave away a host of penalties at the breakdown, especially in the first half.
Tavistock claimed their biggest win of the season by a mile on Saturday when they triumphed 45-19 over Hayle at Sandy Park.
It was only their third victory of the season following on from a seven point win over Withycombe and a 13 point success over Plymouth Argaum.
Their impressive performance against struggling Hayle has moved them six points clear of the bottom three and within touching distance of a mid-table position, even though they stay in 11th spot.
“The first 35 minutes was the best I have seen in three years from us,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill.
“Something just clicked. Everyone turned up on time, the warm-up went well and everything was quite relaxed. The continuity of our play was superb. The first 35 minutes was a joy to watch.”
Kerswill was a bit disappointed that Tavistock let Hayle come back slightly after going 33-0 up in the first half, but he was just thrilled with the overall performance.
He feels the team have grown in the last few weeks after pushing Torquay Athletic hard before losing 17-12.
“I think the Torquay game was a turning point,” he said. “To push one of the top teams and actually should have won, gave us some belief. It is coming together now and the stuff we are working on is coming through in games. It helps having a young team as they do pick up things quickly.”
Tavistock scored seven tries in total, with new Australian scrum-half Hamish Dawson bagging two of them. Their other try scorers were full-back Josh Birch, flanker Jasper Cameron, centre Andrew Craddock, lock Leion Cole and centre Ethan Lamerton. Ed Nettleship added six conversions.
Tavistock are now level on points with Plymouth Argaum, who are now looking over their shoulders after suffering a fourth straight defeat.
Argaum lost 20-14 at home to Liskeard-Looe, who are in eighth spot – eight points clear of their Plymouth Combination rivals.
In the first league meeting between the two clubs, Liskeard did the damage in the opening quarter when they went 12-0 up thanks to tries by Ben Kitto and Charlie Brown and a conversion from Nick Parker.
Tom Bradshaw got one back for Argaum four minutes before the break to give them a boost ahead of the second half. But straight after the restart Liskeard went 17-7 up.
Argaum got back into the match with a try by Dan Smith, which Edwards converted, to leave the hosts just three points behind.
Parker kicked a penalty for Liskeard before Argaum threw everything at the Lions. However, try as they might the hosts could not snatch a winning try.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
OLD Techs are up to fifth in the Devon One table after backing up their win over Buckfastleigh with a 30-10 victory at Dartmouth on Saturday.
Billy Evans put worries over an arm injury behind him to score 15 points in the game.
Centre Dave Clack gave Techs the lead early on with a try, which Evans converted.
Injury-hit Dartmouth closed the gap with a penalty before the influential Evans scored a try, which he also converted to put his side 14-3 ahead.
John Dingle cut their advantage when he scored a converted try for Dartmouth. But Evans kicked a penalty to give his side a 17-10 half-time lead.
Dartmouth picked up a yellow card in the second period and Evans kicked another penalty before Matt Simmonds and Darren Kessell scored late tries to secure a bonus point win for Techs.
“It was a very good win away from home,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith. “Getting a bonus point win anywhere away from home is good.
“Like against Buckfastleigh, I felt we controlled the game, but Dartmouth kept in it .
“There were times when we had to defend well, but we managed to keep them out.
“But we did play some good rugby and scored some good tries. Three of our four tries came from backs which shows we are getting it wide and stretching teams. Our discipline was good. We have really tightened up with our discipline and we are trusting each other.
“We were really pleased to get a bonus point win.”
However, there was disappointment for both Tamar Saracens and OPMs.
Tamar Saracens stay second from bottom after they narrowly lost 10-5 away at fourth-placed Buckfastleigh.
It was a game Sarries, who have not won since October 20, could have nicked and they were frustrated to have a try disallowed.
Buckfastleigh led 7-0 at the break thanks to a try by Harry Symes and a conversion from Harry Laity.
Sarries, though, cut that gap to 7-5 with a try by young forward Scott Cooper.
The visitors then threw everything at Buckfastleigh for 10 minutes but the hosts defence stood firm and they sealed the win with a late Laity penalty.
“It was quite close but we didn’t really fire on all cylinders,” admitted Saracens’ Scott Sheldon. “Our forwards were superb, but our backs were just lacking that quality touch to finish off some good play by the forwards.
“We are lacking a bit of confidence but we are getting there and going in the right direction.
“We were unlucky not to get another try as Joey Pook went over but the referee thought he was short so we didn’t get the rub of the green there.
“We are going in the right direction, but it is just frustrating as we are a much better side than our results are showing currently.”
OPMs are third from bottom, level on points with Tamar Saracens, after they lost 46-7 away at Exeter Athletic.
Seven days earlier in the Devon Junior Cup, OPMs have pushed Exeter Athletic all the way and taken the tie into extra-time.
They impressed again in the first half at Oil Mill Lane and had the better of the opening half-an-hour and led 7-0 with a first try for flanker Jack Mitchell after Rhys Phillips had charged down a kick and a conversion from Sammie Matts.
But Exeter scored 15 points in the closing stages of the first half and then scored four more tries in the second period.
“First half we were absolutely outstanding,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “The first 30 minutes was amazing, but second half the work-rate dropped, the individual tackling dropped and we just let them have far too much possession.
“They are a very good side. Their scrum was awesome and they were very clinical. But it was just a lack of work-rate from us second half.
In the Devon Merit Table, DHSOB lost 31-7 at home to Plymstock Albion Oaks II.
“There were a lot of positives from us,” said DHSOB coach Martyn Ruskin. “We weren’t out-played, which was good, it was just some mistakes from us that gave them opportunites.
“We have been working on our fitness and that showed, especially in the last 10 minutes.”
James Marley scored DHSOB’s only try, which was converted by JJ Hibbert.
St Columba & Torpoint were without a league game, but played a club match away at OPMs II and won 36-12.
The Saints turned on the style in the second half after only leading 15-12 at the end of a scrappy opening 40 minutes.
Nathan Lacey gave Saints the lead when he powered over from close range, but OPMs came back strongly and scored a converted try to lead 7-5.
Saints responded with a penalty from Kevin Lewis before OPMs scored an uncovered try. The visitors, though, took a three point lead at the break when they were awarded a penalty try after some strong drives.
After the interval Kieran Hurrell then ran the length of the field after picking up a loose ball after OPMs knocked on. He also added the conversion to make it 22-12.
Dan Plant then got himself on the scoresheet for Saints by finishing off a well-worked move and Lewis converted.
With time running out, centre Phil Watson powered through four or five tackles before beating the full-back to go under the posts for an easy conversion for Lewis.
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