IVYBRIDGE moved back up to third in the South West Premier League with a 38-7 away win at troubled Newton Abbot.
Damon Akerman scored a hat-trick of tries to go with further ones from Adam Northcott and Will Lamont as the Bridgers picked up a full five points for the second week running. Billy Pinkus and Luke Martell added the rest of their points with the boot.
February has brought a welcome return to form for the South Hams club after a winless January.
Although Ivybridge stay seven points behind second-placed Barnstaple they have moved above Maidenhead, who only drew at Weston-super-Mare on Saturday.
For Newton Abbot, who have lost players in recent weeks due to financial issues, the defeat leaves them with a massive mountain to climb if they are to avoid relegation. They are now 10 points from safety with just six games left and coach Matt Jess, who was set to move on anyway at the end of the season, has also now left the club.
“It was a very good win,” said Ivybridge player-coach Jamie Tripcony. “We are very pleased.
“Credit where credit is due to our guys, it takes some doing to go away from home in a Devon derby and come away with a five-point win.
“Newton Abbot played really well and caused us a few issues and you cannot underestimate teams in this league, especially away from home. So we are chuffed to bits to perform to a level that allowed us to score plenty of points. It was a really pleasing win.”
However, Tripcony, a former Newton Abbot player, added: “We were pretty critical with ourselves after the game and said we left quite a few points out there, which was a shame, but at the same time it was really good that we created these opportunities.”
The only downside to the Cross-in-Hand club’s weekend was a red card picked up for prop Matt Finn.
“It was a downer on what was a well-contested game,” said Tripcony. “Referees are given a certain set of rules and they have to stick to the letter of the law. However, even a couple of their guys said it was pretty harsh.”
SOUTH WEST ONE WEST AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services are up to fifth in South West One after claiming their biggest win in recent memory.
Services ran in 12 tries to beat bottom side Coney Hill 76-6 at the Rectory on Saturday.
In all their years in Western Counties West before winning promotion last season, Services never managed to score 70 points in a game.
It was their fourth big victory in a row and they are now just five points off third-placed Bridgwater & Albion.
“We approached the game right,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “I think it was good that they (Coney Hill) beat Cullompton last week, which made our players think perhaps they are not that bad.”
Services took no time in getting into their stride on Saturday with hooker Sam Bennett crashing over to score the game’s first try early on, which Richard West converted.
That was soon added to by one from Andy Pond after good play from a line-out.
Coney Hill, who had been late arriving, hardly had time to regroup before Toby Knowles added a third try in the corner after good play by Bennett.
The visitors did pull three points back with a penalty but it was not long before Devonport had the bonus-point try in the bag when good work by Will Marsh from a line-out created an opportunity for Rhys Williams to burst through a gap and run in near the posts. West added the conversion to make it 24-3.
Williams then turned provider for Joe Daley to bag Services’ fifth before Coney Hill did reduce the gap just before the break to 29-6 with another penalty. The hosts also had Tyler Busfield yellow carded.
The second half, though, was totally one-way traffic with Devonport finding more and more gaps in Coney Hill’s defence.
Williams got them underway after the interval by collecting his second try of the afternoon from a turnover. West converted to make it 36-6.
Joe Daley then added his second, which was also converted by West.
And straight from the re-start Joe Semple gathered the kick and off-loaded and a couple of phases later young scrum-half Dylan Daley ran in under the posts. West again added the extras to give Services the half century of points.
But Devonport were not close to being done and they scored three quick-fire tries straight through the middle. Captain Matt Gregory got two of them before Matt Neyle-Opie went over in the corner. All three were converted by West.
The final word of the day went to replacement winger Rob Ede, who broke down the blindside following a well-worked move from a scrum.
Saltash find themselves back in the Western Counties West relegation zone after losing 18-13 away at fellow strugglers Chard.
It was the Ashes’ fourth defeat in a row and Chard and Bideford, who beat leaders Sidmouth on Saturday, have now overtaken them.
The Moorlands Lane club, though, did dig deep in Somerset to at least pick up a bonus point.
After going 15-0 down early on the visitors, who had to play in Chard’s second team kit after the referee said theirs clashed with their hosts, did come back and came so close to snatching the win at the death.
Chard crossed twice early on and also added a penalty but Saltash reduced the gap to 15-10 at the break with a try by Ryan Simmons and a conversion and penalty by Kieran Down.
Down kicked a further penalty after the interval to close the gap to two points before Chard kicked one of their own.
The final few minutes were nail-biting but Chard managed to hold on to their narrow lead.
PLYMOUTH Argaum’s four-year stay in the Cornwall/Devon League looks like it is coming to an end.
The Bickleigh Down club look certain for relegation after losing 64-17 at fellow strugglers Lanner.
The defeat has seen them drop to second from bottom and they are now eight points off safety with just six games to play, which includes fixtures against the top three.
If, as looks likely, they do drop down to Devon One, it will be because they have not been able to get players to travel to many of their away matches.
Having played so well seven days early at home to Torquay, narrowly losing 17-7, they had to make 11 changes for Saturday’s must-win trip to Lanner. They were that short of players that their replacement bench was committee member Richard Belli, director of rugby Adrian Cameron and team manager Toby Liberson, who are all in their 50s.
They were actually in Saturday’s game until the closing stages. They only trailed 12-10 at the break and were only 24-17 behind at 60 minutes, but their lack of players and fitness told in the final 20 minutes and Lanner ran riot.
All Argaum had to show for their day’s efforts were tries by Tom Holliday and Kallam Malone, who also kicked two conversions and a penalty.
Director of rugby Cameron said: “We had 11 changes from last week against Torquay and the youngest player on the bench was 51.
“It is frustrating but it is the resources we have got. We haven’t got money to be able to go out and recruit other players and that’s not what we do.
“The boys were fully committed and they tried as hard as they could. We were in it for 60 minutes but just blew out at the end.
“Fair play to Lanner, but the good thing was all our boys stayed in the clubhouse afterwards, unlike some teams that just disappear straight away.
“Our problem is every game where we have had to travel we haven’t had the numbers.
“But you can’t say it is over yet. The spirit has not died. There’s still good things being said and certain players have developed over the season.
Torquay won the match with a last-gasp long-range penalty, but Oaks missed four themselves before that.
It was only their fourth loss this season so they stay in fourth place. Fit-again David Byng and George Hamblin scored tries for Oaks, with Al Murray kicking a conversion and a penalty.
“We threw the game away,” said Taylor afterwards. “We had four penalties within range to win the game, including one in front of the posts, one just to the left and one just to the right, and we have missed all of them.
“With three minutes to go we are in their 22 but made error after error and they got to our 10 metre line and won a scrum penalty for not biding and their kicker put it over.”
On his side’s league position, Taylor said: “Not a lot has changed. We were seven points off second before the game and we are still seven points off second, but it is just frustrating that when other teams slip up we can’t capitalise.
“We have a break now and then we have Lanner and Hayle and then we are into the last four games that will decide who finishes second.”
Oaks should also still reach the Devon Intermediate Shield final. They could have booked their place in that on Saturday had they won but now will have to wait a bit longer to try and guarantee that spot.
“I said to the boys before the game if we win we get into the Devon Cup and can close the gap in the league so it is frustrating that we lost,” said Taylor.
“We should still get into the cup final and so have something to show for our good season.
“It is a good season and we have punched above our weight. We will keep going. We are happy where we are but are just frustrated that we couldn’t really kick on after Christmas.”
Tavistock, however, are a team that have kicked on since Christmas. They secured their fifth win in a row on Saturday by coming from behind to beat bottom side Withycombe 17-10.
“We won ugly,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill. “It was about as ugly a game of rugby as you could get. It was just so scrappy and it can’t have been pretty to watch.
“The best thing was we came from 10-5 down at half-time to win.”
Tavistock had the slope and the wind in their favour first half but could not make it tell. They went behind early on when Danny Sansom scored a try for Withycombe, which Glenn Channing converted.
The visitors did cut the gap when Andrew Schuttkacker scored from the back of a scrum but Channing kicked a penalty for Withycombe to edge them 10-5 ahead.
Ash Toll had a try disallowed just before the break but Tavistock did go in front early in the second half when Kerswill scored from a catch-and-drive move and half-time replacement Rob Pratt converted.
And they increased that when Lewis Cockcroft cut a good line following a line-out to score under the posts.
“We probably should have got the bonus point,” said Kerswill. “We were down their end knocking on the door for a long time, but they defended very well.
“They piled numbers into the breakdown and spoilt the ball we had. We had to counter what they were doing but didn’t really do it well.
“Like I said, it was a really ugly win, but that is one of the hardest things to do. We would not have done that at the start of the season or last year – we would have lost that game.”
Elsewhere, Liskeard-Looe lost 36-13 away at Bude, who have moved back into second after Honiton lost to leaders Penryn.
CENTRE Watisoni Radaubale scored a first-half hat-trick of tries as Old Techs returned to winning ways with a 33-15 home win over Totnes.
Techs were outstanding for 36 minutes, running in five tries to lead 33-0.
Radaubale, who looked a threat every time he got the ball, opened the scoring after less than two minutes. That try, which was converted by Billy Evans, was followed by one from winger Jack Williams, who reacted quickly after Evans had hit the post with a penalty.
Radaubale got his second on 25 minutes after good play by Eddy Ramazani, before fellow back Peni Turua showed his pace to run in from 65 metres. Radaubale then completed his hat-trick by running in under the posts.
But then Totnes got wise to Techs’ threats and kept it tighter and used their scrum well.
Ed Foster got a try back for the visitors just before the break and Dan Geirson-Jackson and Elliot Browse added further touch downs after the interval. But Techs’ lead was big enough for them to hold on, despite Totnes’ dominance in the scrum.
“I was concerned we were going to struggle up front to start with as we lost a prop straight away and we were already under-strength with the props in the first place,” said Techs coach Jerry Josee.
“Our replacement prop had to start and so we had three guys who have not played a full game and I just thought the last 20 minutes that showed.
“But we played the type of game I wanted us to play. We got quick ball out wide and ran them around.
He added: “We needed that win. The coaching staff talked about the win but did not say anything to the players about it. We just told them to go out, play rugby and enjoy it. And look at the result from taking the pressure of.”
Josee had special praised for Jon Giles, who made his debut in the second-row on Satuday.
“I was extremely pleased with Jon Giles,” said Josee. “He has been a replacement back for a season-and-a-half and I had a word with him last week and said I was going to convert him to a second-row. He played the whole game there and didn’t put a foot wrong – he won ball he shouldn’t have done and he was carrying well; he was superb.”
A late Tom Rigby penalty made sure Tamar Saracens continued their winning run in 2019.
Sarries found themselves 18-17 behind in the closing minutes against Torrington at Parkway, but managed to win a penalty to secure a hard-earned 20-18 home victory that keeps them in fifth.
“It was a really close game,” said Sarries player Marc Cioffi. “I think we were a bit overwhelmed by their pack. They are a well-formed unit.
“It was very much like a tug-of-war. We would score and then they would score.
“We know we can be better, but we showed a lot of heart. They (Torrington) were a great team so we are really happy with the result.”
Tamar Saracens, with Rigby and Frazer Tatchell impressing, narrowly led 12-10 at the break.
After the interval Rigby added a third try for Sarries before Torrington went ahead only for Rigby to snatch victory back at the death with a successful penalty.
OPMs’ are still waiting for a win in 2019 after they lost 37-23 at home to fourth-placed Buckfastleigh in an entertaining game at King George V Playing Fields.
There was little between the sides for 60 minutes, but OPMs just ran out of steam late in the second period.
Mark Hardy, Matt Naylor and Rhys Phillips scored tries for the hosts, with Sammie Matts kicking the rest of their points.
Buckfastleigh’s points came from tries by Scott Mason, Harry Laity, Chris Tester and Stuart Foss, with Laity kicking three penalties and four conversions.
“It was a good game,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “The intensity that we had first half was spot on and was exactly what we asked for. In the second half our line speedy just slipped off a bit.”
Garratt is confident a win will come shortly. Next week they will play the Peninsula Medical School in the quarter-finals of the Lockie Cup.
“It is coming; you can feel it brewing,” said Garratt. “But we are just struggling to get there at the moment.”
In the Devon Merit Table, St Columba & Torpoint moved up to fourth in the table with a 23-8 win over in-form Plympton Victoria.
Plym Vic’s points came from a try by Ethan Pringle and a penalty by Zac Hoole.