IVYBRIDGE head coach Gareth Elliott described his club’s final pre-season weekend as ‘massively positive’.
The South West Premier outfit’s first team pushed National Two South side Taunton hard in Somerset before slipping to a 53-38 defeat on Saturday, with the hosts scoring late on to make the scoreline look more comfortable than it was.
Meanwhile, Ivybridge’s second team enjoyed a 17-14 win over Cornwall/Devon League side Topsham at Cross-in-Hand.
Elliott was delighted with both performances ahead of his club’s opening league fixture away at Devon rivals Exmouth this coming Saturday.
On the display at Taunton, Elliott said: “The boys are really happy – and they should be.
“We went toe-to-toe with Taunton for a lot of the match and showed some really good qualities. Physically we stood up to them.
“There was a real strong breeze and we were with it first half and probably the biggest thing we didn’t do was use that enough. We didn’t really get in enough kick pressure to trap them in their own half, but, having said that, we had some individual moments of brilliance from players like Adam Northcott, Will Lamont and Dan Lilley. Those three players particularly broke the gain-line and got us going forward and into attacking positions.
“Second half Taunton were with the wind and they probably used it a bit better than us and we had to dig in and play a lot of rugby from our own half.
“But, all-in-all, it was a really good performance from us. I am massively positive about it and it sets us up well going into next week’s game with Exmouth.
“There’s a few tweaks we need to make and we will go through them this week and hopefully we will be an even better side.”
Will Lamont, Dan Lilley, Wes Vermigle, Damon Akerman, Tom Scoles and Ben King scored tries for Ivybridge against Taunton.
Elliott added on the second team’s victory over Topsham: “That was just as pleasing. That Topsham side beat Exmouth II by quite a healthy margin. We had some young guys out and it was an outstanding game.
“From the previous game against Kingsbridge, the side have worked hard in training to really understand how we attack and defend. We did play fantastically well.”
Plympton Victoria’s debut at their new Underwood Recreation Ground home in the centre of Plympton was spoilt by a strong Tamar Saracens second team on Saturday.
Sarries’ side, which included Chey Bryce, Frazer Tatchell and highly-rated new centre Elliott Jones, were just too strong for Devon Merit Table side Plym Vic.
Jones, who has recently moved to the area, took just 37 seconds to open his account on his debut in a Tamar Saracens shirt.
Sarries other try scorers were Brendan Bevan, Jordan Maddocks, Steve Reeves, Rhys Garbutt and Chad Smith. Tatchell kicked one conversion with Bryce adding the rest.
Plym Vic, who will have been encouraged by their set-piece performance, had to make do with just a penalty from Marc Leighton on their big day.
However, city rivals Old Techs did journey across the Tamar to play Perranporth, where they were narrowly beaten 15-10. Billy Evans and Matt Simmonds scored tries for Techs.
“It was a good game,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith. “We had quite a few new players in the team.”
Fellow Devon One side OPMs continued their pre-season preparations with a club XV just beating Salcombe 8-7 thanks to a try by Matt Mann and a penalty by Peter Regan.