THERE were mixed emotions for Ivybridge as they had to settle for a 17-17 draw in their opening South West Premier game away at Devon rivals Exmouth on Saturday.
The Bridgers had been 10-0 down but came back and took a 17-10 lead with just a couple of minutes to go, only for Exmouth to snatch a draw with the last play of the game.
“I would say it is two points gained,” said Ivybridge coach Gareth Elliott afterwards.
“Obviously we were frustrated in that changing room afterwards as we know there is stuff we left out there, but we have a couple of weeks to work on that before we play at home in our next game.”
He added: “It is two points on the board from a game away from home at the start of the season. I think once the emotions have settled a little bit we will put things into perspective and realise getting two points is not too bad.”
He continued: “It was a game of two halves. We were 10-0 down but came back in the second half.
“Yet even in that second half there were a lot of simple dropped balls, which was the main thing that hurt us. It made it a bit of a stop-start game, which is not what we wanted. That stopped us putting that final bit of pressure on and getting that score or that kick to the corner and enable us to capitalise on what was a very dominant second half for us.”
Exmouth were 10-0 up after 20 minutes on Saturday with Nick Hedley and Sam Whitehead scoring tries.
Ivybridge got one back just before half-time through summer signing Matt Dayment to make it 10-5.
And that is how the game stayed until the last 10 minutes when three tries were scored in a thrilling ending.
Ivybridge looked like they had won the game when, first, young centre Will Lamont scored and fly-half Matt Grieveson converted, before Charlie Briant produced a fine individual effort to give his side a seven point lead with just a couple of minutes to play.
But Exmouth dug deep and, with time up, number eight Bargent powered over and George Meadows calmly converted to tie the game, which also counted towards the Devon Senior Cup.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
WINGER Corey Jamieson enjoyed a dream debut for Devonport Services as they opened their season with a 52-13 victory over county rivals Newton Abbot at the Rectory.
The former Plymstock Albion Oaks player ended the day with four tries – and was only denied a fifth by the referee, who pulled play back for a forward pass.
Services were tremendous in the first half. After going 3-0 down early on, they then dominated the rest of the half and went in at the break 40-3 up against a team that were playing in level five last season.
At that point, Newton Abbot supporters must have been worrying about what the final score would end up as, but Services totally lost their momentum after the break, although the visitors also deserve credit for regrouping and only allowing Devonport two more tries.
Despite the big win, Services coach Mike Lewis was disappointed his team did drop off the pace after the interval.
“We said at half-time let’s make sure we don’t take our foot of the gas and make sure we stick to our patterns and not get carried away, but we did exactly that for the first 30 minutes of the second half,” said Lewis.
“It is the first game of the season and you expect to be rusty, but when you go that many points ahead you don’t want to take your foot off the gas. With the experience in our side now you expect us to push on and keep going.
“We were complacent for about 35 per cent of the game and if we do that next week against North Petherton they will put quite a few points on against us, so we need to make sure we get on top of that straight away.”
Lewis, though, was pleased with how Jamieson impressed on his debut in South West One.
He said before the game that he felt good and I think that showed,” said Lewis. “He has got bags of potential and he has shown he can play in this league now.”
Newton Abbot fly-half Cameron Fogden had scored a penalty in the fifth minute but almost instantly Services responded with a good try by Richard West. He ran a great line and timed his run perfectly to cut through on the left. He also added the tough conversion.
Jamieson then got his first on 16 minutes when he showed his pace down the right wing.
“He then added a second seven minutes later when two Newton Abbot players failed to react to a kick to the corner, allowing Jamieson to simply gather and score.
Jamieson had completed his hat-trick by the 28th minute when he scored a 70-metre interception try. West, having a good day with the boot, converted them all to put Devonport 28-3 ahead.
Jamieson was controversially denied another at the start of the second half before the game lost its way. West was sin-binned for the hosts and Newton Abbot took advantage with a try from close range by Charlie Dore.
But Services responded. After being held up over the line, Jamieson scored from the resultant five-metre scrum.
Ed Brown got one back for Newton Abbot before summer signing Tom Goodman had the final word when he scored after a quick tap penalty from Kier Murphy and a good pass from West.
Meanwhile, Devonport Services’ second team beat their Newton Abbot counterparts 20-14 in the Devon Merit Table thanks to tries by Joe McKinley, Tom Mullan and Mike Rickard, with Alex Mawdsley kicking a penalty and a conversion.
In Western Counties West, Saltash had to make do with just a bonus point from their trip to newly-promoted Penryn.
The hosts, who have strengthened their squad and backroom team following their promotion, won 36-25.
Penryn did the damage in the first half and they led 29-10 at the break.
However, after the interval it was Saltash who got on top and they outscored their hosts three tries to one, with debutants Danny Snook and Dale Thompson touching down to go with one from Harrison Reburn.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks were relieved to return with four points from Penzance as they narrowly edged out Pirates Amateurs 18-17 at Mennaye Field.
Oaks had to play for 25 minutes with 14 men after having young back Olly Whitfield sent off for foul play.
After the teams had gone in at the break level at 3-3, Oaks went 17-3 down after the interval and found themselves a man short.
But Plymstock dug deep and tries by front-row forwards Aiden Taylor and new signing James MacFarlane left them just two points behind with five minutes to go.
With time running out, Oaks, who finished fourth last season, got a penalty and Hayden Coles calmly slotted it over.
However, there was still time for the Pirates to win the game with a penalty of their own, but they put it wide.
“We made hard work of it,” admitted Oaks player-coach Taylor. “I don’t think we deserved to win the game, if I’m honest, but we showed great character to come back from two tries down and win it at the death.
“We were quite lucky but down in Penzance you have to take what you can get. Luck was on our side, but four points is four points.”
To add to Oaks’ woes as well as having Whitfield sent off, fellow backs Huw Moorcraft and Joe Brearley both picked up injuries.
Tavistock did not get the start to the season they wanted as they lost 26-0 to league newcomers North Tawton.
Tavvy were missing skipper Andrew Schuttkacker and vice-captain Martin Budden and lost player-coach Hammy Kerswill who had to go to hospital after suffering a cut to the eye.
North Tawton, in determined mood playing in front of their home crowd, scored two unanswered tries in each half to pick up the full five points.
Jordan Cornthwaite and Kev Dennis crossed in the opening 40 minutes, with Gary Sizmur kicking a conversion as the hosts led 12-0.
Then in the second period Luke Mingo added a third before Kev Dennis got the fourth.
Last season’s North Tawton captain Craig Dennis, who suffered life-changing injuries in a fall during the summer, was able to watch Saturday’s game and Tavistock made a presentation to him after raising funds to help his recovery.
There was disappointment for Liskeard-Looe, who lost 10-3 at home to Topsham in their opening league game of the season.
In a mistake-ridden match, all the scoring came in the first 40 minutes. Liskeard, who were missing a number of players, could only manage one penalty, which came from the boot of Ieuan Evans.
DEVON MERIT TABLE AND ROUND-UP
DHSOB were delighted to pick up a try-scoring bonus point against Tavistock II in their opening Devon Merit Table Division Two match of the season.
The Old Boys had been struggling to get a side out but they ended up with 18 players and pushed Tavistock hard before just running out of steam and going down 48-29.
“The game was played in very good spirits,” said DHSOB’s Mike Freeman. “And we gained a bonus point from a good effort.
“It was a tremendously positive day. It was a great game of rugby in lovely weather and we were dead chuff.
“At half-time it was 22-14 so we were in the game. We got as close as 22-19 before we ran out of steam and they pulled away.”
DHSOB, celebrating their 90th anniversary, had three players come out of retirement to play – Darren Rosevear, Alex Buckley and Lee Ingham.
Buckley managed to score a try and kick two conversions. DHSOB actually managed five tries. As well as Buckley, Atu Kovula, J-J Durban, Josh Silibarru (2) also scored.
Elsewhere, in Devon Merit Table Division Two South & West, Plymstock Albion Oaks II beat league newcomers OPM II 36-10 at Horsham Fields.
OPMs’ first team, meanwhile, completed their pre-season programme with a 24-14 away victory at Totnes.
OPMs started the game strongly and finished it well but Totnes did have a good spell before half-time.
Captain Billy Garratt and Corbin Turner scored early tries to put OPMs 12-0 but Totnes came back to lead 14-12.
However, after the interval, two tries by Fred Smale, one converted by Sammie Matts, gave OPMs a 10-point win.