THE Plymouth Combination will play their first representative match for two years on Friday evening when they host the Torbay Sharks at the Rectory (7.15pm).
The last time a Plymouth select XV ran out was for a festival at Bodmin in 2017, while the last time they played a home game was in May 2015 when they beat the Sharks 27-22 at Keyham thanks to some impressive kicking by Richard West and tries by now Devon player Matt Finn, England Deaf international Steve Hodge and current Brixham player Ed Goodman, who was then at St Columba & Torpoint.
Nearly every Combination club has got involved this year and Devonport Services, Saltash, Liskeard-Looe, Tavistock, Plymstock Albion Oaks, Plymouth Argaum, Old Techs, Tamar Saracens, OPMs, Pennisula Medical School, Plympton Victoria and St Columba & Torpoint will all have players in the squad.
They will face a tough test against a Torbay side which includes players from Newton Abbot, Brixham, Teignmouth, Paignton, Torquay, Dartmouth and Totnes.
“A lot of players have played for the Combination and then gone on and played county rugby,” said Combination coach Shaun Bedford-Smith. “This is just below playing for Devon and it is something players should be proud of.
“We have got really good availability this year and clubs have been phoning me saying they have got players interested, which is nice. I think everyone is really looking forward to it.
“There’s a lot of quality players in Plymouth and we have got a wide spectrum of players and clubs involved. We have tried to involve as many clubs as possible from the Devon Merit Table right up to South West One. All clubs at all levels have good players.
“It should be a good game and I think it will be very competitive – it won’t be a friendly end-of-season affair – as they will not want to lose and we won’t either. Both teams will be looking to win.
“Hopefully, we will get a good crowd. It is free to watch and there will be some great players on show. Hopefully, all the clubs will come down and cheer on their players.”
Plymouth Combination XV: (from) Darren Guppy (Tavistock), Leion Cole (Tavistock), Ethan Lamerton (Tavistock), Daz Francis (Penninsula Medical School), Tom Hicklin (Tamar Saracens), Fraser Tatchell (Tamar Saracens),
Andy Porter (Plymstock Albion Oaks), Tom Richards (Plymstock Albion Oaks), Stuan Mane (Devonport Services), Dylan Daley (Devonport Services), Matt Neyle-Opie (Devonport Services), Tony Sibley (Devonport Services), Tom Holliday (Plymouth Argaum), Billy Evans (Old Techs), Matt Simmonds (Old Technicians), Will Morton (Saltash), Sam Matts (OPMs), Dan Bristol (OPM), Jack Parker (Liskeard-Looe), Jayson Cleverly (Plympton Victoria), Alex Whitby (St Columba & Torpoint)
Torbay Sharks XV: (from) Lloyd Radford, Tom White, Charlie Dore, Rory Blackmore, Max Snowdon, Mike Saxton, Ryan Partridge, Aaron Brown (all Newton Abbot), George Mowson, Pete Parsons, Pete Bilham, Alex Ford, Faolan Lidstone, Matt Laventure, Dan Force, Jordan Hellier (all Teignmouth), Mark Palk, Jack Linley-Shaw, Alex Jeffrey, Sam Nelson-Smith, Rich Champion (all Paignton), Alex Parrott, Will Lockerbie (Dartmouth), Jake Bury (Torquay Athletic), Jamie Hext (Brixham), Aaron Bartlett (Totnes).