A LOSING bonus point was Devonport Services’ only reward for making a second trip to Keynsham in two weeks on Saturday in South West One.
Services lost 15-10 in a replayed game at the weekend after the first match was abandoned early due an injury to the referee.
Fifth-placed Devonport were losing 27-22 in the first fixture on March 2 before it was stopped on 65 minutes. Had they settled for that scoreline they would have picked up two bonus points, but in the end they only came away with one.
However, head coach Mike Lewis said: “If we had said two weeks ago that we didn’t want to replay it, but then had beaten the Cornish All Blacks last week we would have looked like a defeatist club.
“We had to replay it as had we won last week and won this then we would have been in a very strong position.
“It is unfortunate we didn’t grind out a victory, but we just lacked a bit of leadership. Matty (Anstis) couldn’t travel and Westy (Richard West) was away so we didn’t have a recognised 10, although the guys that stepped in did a great job.”
Services were hit by a number of late drop outs and so were forced to make a number of changes. Youngster Tommy Pullinger made his comeback after six months out with a shoulder injury while Eddie McGinley also returned in the backs.
But, like they had done in the first game, Services paid for a slow start.
“We did the same as last time – we didn’t get off the bus,” said Lewis. “We were 12-0 down after seven minutes and we were quiet and lethargic.”
Devonport did get back into the match with Stuart Main and McGinley scoring tries, but Keynsham kicked a late penalty to seal the win.
“The game was not a spectacle at all,” said Lewis. “It was really windy and passes were going astray from both teams.”
However, there was better news for Services’ second team who beat Cornwall/Devon League side Liskeard-Looe 36-10 to reach the Lockie Cup final.
Devonport had a strong second team out and they were clinical against a Liskeard side that battled hard and impressed up front.
“I think we were just a bit more clinical when we had the ball and just had that bit more experience,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“The scoreline looks flattering but we had to work hard for it. They (Liskeard) were good in phases. They defended well. We just took our chances our well.”
Services led 17-3 at half-time with Royal Navy back Rhys Williams, Adrian Montague and Toby Moss scoring tries and Matty Anstis kicking one conversion.
Liskeard’s only points in the first period came from a penalty from Nick Parker.
After the interval, Moss second a second try to put his side 24-3 ahead before Liskeard-Looe were awarded a penalty try.
The visitors, who impressed in the scrum, put Devonport under some pressure, but the hosts defended well and then added further tries through Joe McKinley and hooker Dave Wilkins.
Services will play the winners of Old Techs and Peninsula Medical School in the final. The second Lockie Cup semi-final is due to be played on March 30.
Tamar Saracens booked their place in the RNEC Cup final by beating a depleted DHSOB side 46-0 at the Parkway.
Sarries lent the Old Boys some players as they arrived short, but the hosts were disappointed with the way they played, despite the victory.
“A win is a win and we are in a cup final,” said Sarries spokesman Marc Cioffi. “But we are very self-critical and we were disappointed with the way we played. We were clean enough.
“We didn’t do everything as a team that we wanted to do.
“That is 10 games unbeaten now, but I think we can give a lot more. We should have really showcased more of what we are about.
“DHS are my old club and you could not commend them enough for their spirit as they kept coming.”
Plym Vic overcame University of Plymouth IV 18-3 thanks to tries by Ethan Pringle (2) and Tom Gill, while Argaum II beat OPM II 10-3 with tries by Aaron Anderson-Smith and Tom Bradshaw.
Plym Vic are certainly looking to playing in a final.
“The boys have certainly deserved it,” said Chris Hunt. “They have put in some good performances and trained hard and it’s nice to get a little bit of a reward.
“We played well on Saturday. We showed a lot of aggression and the lads kept going for 80 minutes. We had a couple of tries disallowed as well.
“Our defence was good and solid, which is good for us as we have also been a team that has tended to leak tries. To only give away three points was really pleasing.”
The Plymouth Combination finals will be held on April 17 and April 24.