IVYBRIDGE got their home campaign off to a flying start on Saturday with a 69-14 victory over Launceston in the South West Premier.
The Bridgers ran in 11 tries to record a memorable win at Cross-in-Hand. Leading the way for them was winger Tom Scoles, who bagged a hat-trick, with Charlie Briant (2), Adam Northcott, Damon Akerman, Ben King, Matt Gilbury, Robin Luscombe and Matt Grieveson also crossing the whitewash.
Launceston, back at level five after two seasons in South West One, battle hard but they were no match for Ivybridge and it looks like they could be a long campaign after three heavy defeats in their opening three games. The Cornish club have conceded 199 points in their first three fixtures back in South West Premier, which is an average of more than 66 per game.
Ivybridge, who had prop Jon Morgan making his 200th appearance, were 36-7 up at half-time on Saturday with Scoles and Briant both scoring twice in that period.
Scoles got them underway with a try in the right corner on seven minutes. That was followed by a great effort from Briant three minutes later, which Luke Martell converted.
Launceston surprisingly missed a penalty in front of the posts on 13 minutes and Ivybridge made them pay with flanker Adam Northcott scoring from a five-metre scrum.
The visitors did get on the scoreboard on 24 minutes when winger Louis Ogilvie crossed in the right corner and full-back Dan Pearce added the conversion.
But all that did was inspire Ivybridge and they added three more tries before the break courtesy of centre Briant, winger Akerman, who beat two Launceston players to a kick to the corner, and Scoles, who intercepted a pass on the halfway line.
At the start of the second half, Launceston were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes and Scoles competed his hat-trick after good play by scrum-half Ben Watts.
Launceston got a second try five minutes later when Lloyd Duke went over from a driving maul and Pearce converted. But that was as good as it got for the Cornish All Blacks, with Ivybridge running in four more tries in the final 20 minutes through Ben King, debutant Matt Gilbury, Luscombe and Grieveson.
“We are very pleased,” said coach Jamie Tripcony afterwards. “We put a lot of emphasis during the week on how important it was to put on a good show at home, but we were aware of how difficult Launceston would make that for us.
“It was still fresh in our minds what happen two years ago (when Launceston won at Cross-in-Hand) and there was also plenty of motivation with us being at home. The boys were certainly up for it.”
He added: “There are always things to work on. Defensively we need to wrap a bit quicker and get some better line speed.
“We are very pleased with that, but is it going to be Maidenhead? We are not sure, but we’ll soon find out.”
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
EARLY South West One leaders Devonport Services maintained their 100 per cent record, but they made hard work of seeing off newly-promoted Sidmouth at the Rectory.
Services eventually won 26-9, but 13 minutes into the second half they found themselves 6-5 down after down to 14 men after Royal Navy back Rhys Williams was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
But Williams’ red card seemed to kick-start Devonport into life and they managed to score three tries in the final 20 minutes to pick up another full five points.
“We didn’t play as well as we had done in the first two games, but saying that you can see why Sidmouth came up,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “They were well-drilled and played well. They had some big forwards who ran at us, but we just weren’t clinical enough.
“We made a few mistakes in defence and in contact and gave away too many penalties, which put us under pressure. We knocked on twice with the ball in hand when we were attacking their line.”
Scrum-half Dylan Daley had put Services ahead when he scored in the corner after an earlier good break by Williams. But Sidmouth, without a win yet since their promotion, closed the gap to 5-3 with a Dan Retter penalty, which was how the game stayed until half-time.
A try by Kyle Browne on 60 minutes, which was converted by Alex Mawdsley, changed the game. It came after Services ran a penalty from their own 22.
They followed that up with another try by Corey Jamieson – his sixth in three games since joining from Plymstock Albion Oaks. He picked the ball up at a ruck and just ran through Sidmouth to score under the posts for an easy conversion for Alex Mawdsley.
Retter kicked a penalty to reduce the gap to 10 points but Services wrapped up the win and the bonus point when Browne scored his second try with the last play of the game after the hosts had turned Sidmouth over in their own 22 and broke.
In Western Counties West, Saltash’s wait for a win goes on after they were beaten 32-17 by high-flying St Austell in their first home match of the season.
Once again Saltash were slow getting going and they found themselves 25-3 down at the break, with only a Kieran Down penalty to show for their efforts.
St Austell scored four tries in the first period with Max Bullen, Chris Ashwin, Sam Parsons and CJ Boyce crossing the whitewash for them.
The Ashes improved after the break and added tries courtesy of Danny Snook and Will Morton, both converted by Kieran Down, but unbeaten St Austell claimed another through Boyce.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks made it three wins out of three with a 32-23 success over South Molton in their first home match of the campaign.
Oaks had beaten Pirates Amateurs and Veor away in their opening two games and they just had too much up front for winless South Molton.
The hosts went 15-0 ahead early on but South Molton got back into it and in the second half they had closed the game to 25-23, but a late converted try sealed the win for Oaks.
Kieran Jamieson and George Hamlin both scored twice for Oaks, who also had Dan Romang and Joe Marshall touching down. Tom Richard kicked one conversion.
George Down scored a hat-trick of tries for South Molton, with Ben Smart kicking the rest of their points.
Oaks coach Aiden Taylor said: “They got to within two points of us at one stage, but I think the scoreline flattered them a little bit as we were all over them in the scrum. We did destroy them up front.
“We played some nice stuff, especially in the first half when we went 15-0 up.
“Overall, it’s another five point win – that’s three from three wins – and we’ll now build for next week against Tavvy.”
Tavistock picked up their first point of the season in a narrow 22-15 defeat at Pirates Amateurs on Saturday.
Tavistock were unhappy with a number of decisions that went against them in a tight game in Cornwall.
The visitors had gone 10-3 up in the first half with well-worked tries from new signings Sam Snell and Pjay Luatua before the Pirates pulled it back to 10-10 in the second half.
Tavistock went back in front with try by Tom Pearson after good play from a line-out, but the Pirates again levelled.
Despite having Leion Cole sin-binned Tavistock got on top and they thought they had got a fourth try when Snell went over again. However, it was ruled out for double-movement and the Pirates eventually scored a breakaway try to go seven points up with minutes remaining.
There were a couple more controversial incidents in those final minutes, including Cole picking up a second yellow card and Tavistock feeling there should have been a card for a Pirates player.
“It was a good performance, but let down by officiating,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill.
Elsewhere, Liskeard-Looe are also still looking for their first win of the season after they went down 32-15 at home to Truro. James Noel-Johnson scored a try and kicked a penalty to go with a penalty try for Liskeard.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
PLYMOUTH Argaum and OPMs were both relatively satisfied with a 15-15 draw at Bickleigh Down in their first competitive meeting for years.
It means both clubs remain unbeaten after two games in Devon One.
Argaum weathered some early pressure from OPMs before taking a 10-0 lead courtesy of tries from Ben Baggott and Seb Thomas.
But 14 minutes into the second period, Matt Thompson got OPMs back in the game with a try, which Sammie Matts converted.
Argaum went 15-7 ahead on 65 minutes with a try by Karl Sullivan, but Matts pulled OPMs to within five points with a penalty and five minutes from time Chris Harmer scored in the corner to level the contest.
The last couple of minutes were frantic but neither side could find a winning score.
“It was a really good quality game,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman. “It was a hard contest and there wasn’t an inch given by either team and probably a draw was a fair result.”
OPMs’ head coach Rick Orkney added: “I think it was a fair result. They were very strong at certain part of their game and we were quite good at certain part of ours and we both sort of cancelled each other out a bit.
“Their line-out was on the money and they had a good catch-and-drive, which got them two tries, and we made a lot of mistakes.
“I didn’t think we played at our very best, but we did well because we were 10-0 down and then 15-7 down so to come back was pleasing. Had we kicked our conversion we would have won the game.
“I thought second half we were certainly good enough to win it. The boys were quite pleased and relieved that we came back and got a draw, but I was a little bit disappointed because I thought we had just enough there to win it. But there were no complaints as they were quite good.”
Tamar Saracens ran in six unanswered tries against New Cross as they made it two wins out of two in Devon One with a 34-3 victory at the Parkway.
Sarries scored three tries in each half with new signings Sini Manu and Elliott Jones among their scores. Also touching down were Chad Smith (2), Chey Bryce and Alex Israel, with Lewis Swatton kicking two conversions.
“It was a good result,” said Tamar Saracens head coach Pete Lethbridge. “There are still a few things to work on, but I was happy with what the boys produced this week and our discipline was much better.
“We started off well and our line-outs and scrums were good. It was much better than last week (against Ilfracombe).
“To be fair to New Cross they did cause us some problems at the breakdown, but it was a bonus not to concede a try. Overall I’m really happy.”
Old Techs are still waiting for their first win after conceding two late tries away from home for the second week running in a 24-8 defeat at much-fancied Withycombe.
The Exmouth-based club, who have come down from the Cornwall/Devon League, had beaten Buckfastleigh away 46-10 in their opening game, but Techs really made them work hard for the win. Midway through the second half the match was tied at 5-5, but Withycombe finished strongly to pick up a full five points.
The hosts had taken a 5-0 lead into half-time with Paddy Haddad scoring for them, but Matt Simmonds levelled the contest with a fine try in the corner after the break.
But, despite prop Mike Walkden kicking a penalty, Techs could not keep Withy out and in the final quarter ran in tries through George Toomey, Eugune Badenhorst and Mike Richards. Richards’ try came with the last play of the game and secured the hosts the bonus point.
“It was a really good game of rugby to watch,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith. “Both sides played well.
“I am always disappointed when we’ve lost, but I said to the players in the changing rooms that I couldn’t fault anyone’s effort. There was total commitment there and our discipline was excellent.”
He added: “They (Withycombe) came out of the blocks quickly but we managed to hold them. We had to make some last-ditch tackles but then we got back into the game.
“Our line-out functioned a lot better this week, but the scrum was hard, just because of their size – they’ve got a big old pack. They are dangerous all over the park, but 5-0 at half-time we knew we were in it.
“Five minutes into the second half and Matty Simmonds went in after some good backs play. We just needed to put a bit more pressure on then and things might have gone our way, but they didn’t and then it became hard when they scored. They then scored a couple of late tries, including one with the last play.
“The Withycombe people said the scoreline flattered them. We just got tired in the last 10 as they had some real big boys.
“But our defence was really good again. They had to work really hard for their scores and, for the second week running, I don’t think the scoreline does us justice.”
In the Devon Merit Table, Plympton Victoria narrowly lost 20-12 away at Astley Park to Brixham Albion.
The game was played on Saturday evening after Brixham’s first team match with Barnstaple. Albion are Brixham’s third team, but there will be a few eyebrows raised that the Fisherman did play Plym Vic after they were unable to get a second team together to visit Barnstaple in the top division of the Merit Table.
Plym Vic did manage two tries at Astley Park, with Nathan Couzens and Lee Pringle going over the whitewash.
Meanwhile, DHSOB managed to pick up another bonus point in a 43-29 defeat to the University of Plymouth III at Stonehouse Creek. It was the second game running they had scored five tries.
“It was a fantastic effort against a very good university team,” said DHSOB’s Mike Freeman.
“When we attacked we were very impressive, but we just have to work on defence and fitness. It was a good effort.”
There was only one point in it at half-time and the Old Boys were still in it until close to the end. Lopeti Faha, back playing again, got two tries, as did Shawn Mucumabitu, with Jay Seru getting the Old Boys’ other.
Also in Devon Merit Table Division Two, St Columba & Torpoint were able to get a team out to play OPM Jesters away, but the hosts were too strong for them and ran out 55-14 winners.