Rugby

RUGBY: Lockie Cup holders Oaks ready for quarter-final battle with 2017 winners Techs

THE last two winners of the Lockie Cup will clash at Weston Mill on Saturday in the quarter-finals of this year’s competition (2.30pm).

Current holders Plymstock Albion Oaks will take on 2016 and 2017 winners Old Techs.

Oaks, sitting third in the Cornwall/Devon League with just two defeats all season to their name, will be favourites against mid-table Devon One side Techs. However, Oaks are not expecting an easy game.

“They (Techs) are not going to roll over,” said Oaks’ player-coach Aiden Taylor. “It will be an aggressive game and the boys are looking forward to it.

“A few of our older boys want to play as they used to play for them. It is just before Christmas so should be a good crack.”

Oaks are likely to make changes to their squad, with Taylor among their key players likely to be rested after a busy season with league and university rugby.

Techs are also looking forward to Saturday’s tie and the chance to test themselves against a high-flying Cornwall/Devon League side.

“They are doing really well,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith “They are third in their league and have only lost twice all season and are regularly getting two good sides out.

“They are going to be favourites, but we have got nothing to lose. We are looking forward to it and getting to test ourselves against a Devon/Cornwall side.

“The pressure is off us this week as no-one expects us to win, but I am sure we will give them a good game.

“We know they will punish us for any mistakes we make. That has been the problem when we have played the top two in our league – every mistake we made they scored from. So we have to make sure we get our game-plan right.

“If we do well against them then it will give us some believe and confidence.”

Billy Evans (pictured), who joined Oaks for a short spell in the summer, looks set to play for Techs, despite having been struggling with an arm injury.

“We have got people away,” said Bedford-Smith. “I think 10-12 players have gone home for Christmas or unavailable, but we are happy that we have been able to get a team together. The players seem like they are looking forward to it.

“Personally, I don’t think it is great playing three days before Christmas, but it is what it is. One of the problems of having Devon/Cornwall teams in the competition is they don’t have many Saturdays spare.”

Meanwhile, Techs have made an open invite to all Plymouth Combination players who fancy a run out on New Year’s Day.

For years, Techs always played St Boniface Old Boys on New Year’s Day but due to a lack of players ‘Bonnies’ ended the traditional game two years ago. For the past two seasons Tamar Saracens have stepped in for a match.

Sarries will be involved again this year but might not be able to get a full side out so organisers have decided to make it a New Year’s pitch-up-and-play event where teams will be put together on the day.

The match will start at 2.30pm and if any players want to take part they just need to turn up around 1pm at Weston Mill or contact Shaun Bedford Smith on 07816 668675 for more information.

Elsewhere this weekend, Saltash will play a re-arranged Western Counties West league game at Kingsbridge.

The match should have been played at the end of November but was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at High House.

Saltash should have been playing a Cornwall Cup match this weekend but league games take priority.

Kingsbridge, who were in the top four last season, have had an up-and-down campaign this term and currently sit in ninth spot, two places and seven points ahead of Saltash.

If Saltash could get a win in the South Hams on Saturday then it would go a long way of boosting their hopes of staying in the division and give them a real fillip going into the new year.

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