Rugby

Devon aim to bounce back against Hampshire while Cornwall eye second win

DEVON will be aiming to bounce back from an opening day defeat when they entertain Hampshire at Okehampton on Saturday in their second County Championship match (3pm).

The Green and Whites were beaten 54-14 by a strong Gloucestershire side at Cinderford in their first group fixture.

Gloucestershire’s team included eight National One players and they were too strong on the day for Devon.

“Our lads really fronted up, but at the end of the day they were up against a much stronger team,” said head coach Dan Parkes.

“Their side was nearly all National One players and they showed it. Their physicality was too much for us and you have to say all credit to them.”

But Parkes is hoping his team can put things right against Hampshire, who lost 29-20 at home to Hertfordshire in their opening game.

“We just have to do the best we can now and try and win our next two games,” he said. “If we do that we might still be in with a shout.

“Hampshire will be a massive game for us, but we have a few lads coming back in to bolster the ranks and hopefully we can get the win.”

Whereas last week, Devon were the underdogs, this weekend they will be the side with the higher level players.

Newly-promoted Hampshire, who lost at home to Hertfordshire last Saturday, do not have any National League players in their starting team, which is built around level six outfit Havant.

“This weekend we might be the team on paper that has players playing at a higher level,” said Devon captain Wayne Sprangle. “But you can’t take any team for granted.

“We have said to the players that they need to try and right a few wrongs and play for that Devon shirt.”

Devon are boosted by having Plymouth Albion’s experienced scrum-half Cameron Setter (pictured top) available. He joins his club colleagues Dan Mugford, John and Frank Kelly and Ashlee Crouch in the Devon squad, alongside former Albion players Sprangle, Tom Putt and Jamie Tripcony.

Tripcony is one of a host of Ivybridge players in the Devon party, joining Charlie Briant, Billy Pinkus, Ben Watts, Matt Finn, Ben King and Lewis Paterson. Devonport Services’ Mark Friend is also in the squad for the second week running.

Devon team to face Hampshire: 15 Charlie Briant (Ivybridge), 14 Billy Pinkus (Ivybridge), 13 Rhys Palmer (Okehampton), 12 Dan Mugford (Plymouth Albion), 11 Frank Kelly (Plymouth Albion), 10 Tom Putt (Unattached), 9 Ben Watts (Ivybridge), 1 Matt Dowrick (Newton Abbot), 2 Ashlee Crouch (Plymouth Albion), 3 Matt Finn (Ivybridge), 4 Jamie Tripcony (Ivybridge), 5 John Kelly (Plymouth Albion), 6 Caleb Sampson (Barnstaple), 7 Wayne Sprangle (Bridgwater), 8 Tom McGratton. Replacements:  16 Dean Avery (Unattached), 17 Olly Schuster-Wood (Cullompton), 18 Mark Friend, 19 Ben King (Ivybridge), 20 Cameron Setter (Plymouth Albion), 21 Mitch Pinkus (Brixham), 22 Lewis Paterson (Ivybridge).

Meanwhile, Cornwall are able to welcome back Albion full-back Matt Shepherd for their home match against Hertfordshire at Redruth on Saturday (3pm).

Cornwall made a winning start to their campaign last weekend when they overcame a strong Kent side 25-21 away.

They are hoping for a big crowd at Redruth in what will be their only home game.

A win against their old rivals Hertfordshire would mean they have everything to play for the following week when they play Devon at Brixham.

“I’m sure there will be a great atmosphere,” said Cornwall head coach Graham Dawe. 

“Hertfordshire have had a lot of success over the last 10 years and they will be looking to continue that this year.”

As well as Shepherd, Cornwall will include fellow Albion players Jon Dawe and Fraser Honey in their starting line-up.

Cornwall: 15  Matt Shepherd (Plymouth Albion), 14  Kyle Speare (Bude), 13  Jack Simmonds (Redruth), 12  Jon Dawe (Plymouth Albion), 11  Alex Ducker (Camborne), 10  Fraser Honey (Plymouth Albion), 9  Jack Oulton (Redruth), 1  Dan Job (Lanner), 2  Rob Elloway (St Ives), 3  Jess Tompsett (Redruth), 4  Ben Hilton (capt, Barnstaple), 5 Tony Whittle (Camborne), 6 Grant Randlesome (Penryn), 7  Sam Stevens (Redruth), 8  Brad Howe (Redruth). Replacements: 16  Matt Ballard (Wadebridge Camels), 17  Craig Williams (Redruth), 18  George Jones (Penryn), 19  Edd Pascoe (Redruth), 20 Rhys Brownfield (Camborne), 21  Dean Bonds (Redruth), 22 Richie Kevern (Redruth).

Also on Saturday, the Plymouth Combination Sevens tournament will be taking place at King George V Playing Fields (11am).

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