IVYBRIDGE suffered their first defeat of the season when they were beaten 27-11 by Okehampton in a South West Premier Devon derby at the Showfield.
Injuries proved costly to the Bridgers on their first league visit to Okes in six years.
There was only two points in the game and Ivybridge were playing down the slope when they found themselves down to 14 men after running out of players.
However, Ivybridge coach Jamie Tripcony was keen to credit newly-promoted Okehampton for their victory in the match that also counted towards the Devon Senior Cup.
“I think the result was fair,” admitted Tripcony. “Okehampton fully deserved it.
“It was tough for us. We chose to go up the hill first half and we kept them at 7-5 and second half we were hoping to really get into the game and keep the scoreboard ticking, which we started off doing. But we were quite unfortunate with injuries so we played the majority of the second half with 14 men.
“But at the same time Okehampton were very streetwise. I thought they played the game very well – they obviously know their pitch well – and I think Okehampton will be quite a tough place for anyone to go and get win.
“Yet the character and attitude from our guys was second to none. I could not have asked for anymore from the guys. They really dug in and put on a performance with what we had left at the end of the game.”
He added: “A defeat was always going to happen but I think the important thing now is how we bounce back. We will re-assess the game and make sure we focus on our work-ons to try and bounce back. The most important thing is how we react to this.”
Okehampton are unbeaten on their own patch this season and they took the lead straight from kick-off with a try from Dan Fogerty after good work by former Plymouth Albion centre Bevon Armitage and Rhys Palmer. Richard Friend added the conversion.
Ivybridge, playing up the slope, hit back with an unconverted try by young back-rower Adam Northcott, who is making a habit of scoring.
The contest stayed at 7-5 until half-time but after the break Ivybridge went in front with a penalty from Matt Grieveson, who was playing his 200th game for the club.
Friend then kicked two penalties to edge Okehampton 13-8 ahead before Grieveson added another at the other end to reduce the gap to two points.
But after that Ivybridge ran out of players with Damon Akerman, Robin Luscombe, Charlie Briant and Matt Gilbury all having been forced off. Okehampton took advantage of the extra player to pull away with two tries in the last 10 minutes.
First, Brandon Horn crossed out wide and Friend brilliantly converted, before Fogerty scored his second to seal his side’s win.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services lost their 100 per cent record in South West One after they were narrowly beaten 26-24 away at fellow high-flyers Chew Valley.
Services had gone into the match as the only team in the league not to have dropped a point but they found themselves slipping down to second in the table after only returning with a single bonus point.
It could easily have been different for Devonport had they been more clinical in Somerset, but coach Mike Lewis is hoping his team will learn their lesson from Saturday’s loss.
“It was a scrappy game for both sides,” said Lewis. “Both teams made quite a few mistakes – handling errors and things like that.
“We went ahead, then they went ahead – it was to-and-fro throughout the game.
“I think it probably was a fair result at the end. We just couldn’t get our game together. If we had we probably would have edged it.
“We missed a couple of kicks at goal and a few off-loads went wrong.
“But hopefully it is a blessing in disguise as over the last couple of weeks in training we have probably been a bit complacent. Hopefully, this is a reality check.”
He added: “We could have won it on five or six different occasions but it was just one of those games where we weren’t working as a 15. We had groups of players working together and had individuals working hard but we didn’t quite do it as a 15. If you don’t work as a 15 on the road that’s what happens.
“When you have travelled three hours you have to be unified and make sure all your heads are right.”
Chew Valley, with former Plymouth and Cornish Pirates front-rower Dean Brooker in their pack, have only lost once since winning promotion to the league and had run in some big scores this season. Their win on Saturday has moved them up to third in the standings, just one point behind Services. Thornbury are the new leaders, but they have played a game more.
There was little in the game between two sides that had met for the first time 18 months ago in a promotion play-off match that Services won.
The half-time score was 12-10 to Chew Valley. Home hooker Jack Monk went over for two tries from driving mauls in the opening 40 minutes, one which Tom Bryan converted, with Tom Goodman crossing for Devonport’s only try in the first period.
After the interval Kyle Browne edged Services ahead with a try, which West converted, but Bryan responded with one for Chew before Sparkes Brown got an all-important fourth for the hosts.
Services, though, kept going and Browne gave them hope with a second try, which West converted, but they could not snatch the win at the death.
In Western Counties West, Saltash find themselves back at the foot of the table after losing 38-16 away at Cornish rivals Wadebridge Camels.
The Ashes had gone into the game on the back of an impressive 40-14 victory over Tiverton at Moorlands Lane last week. But Wadebridge showed their strength in the second period to pull away from them. They hosts were only 14-10 up at the break, but they ran in three unanswered converted tries in the second period. Will Morton scored a try for Saltash, with Kieron Down kicking the rest of their points.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks’ winning start to the season came to an end at Torquay Athletic.
Oaks lost 27-12 at the Recreation Ground to slip down from first to fourth in the league standings.
Truro are the new leaders, with Torquay and Lanner just a point behind in second and third and Oaks just another point behind in fourth.
Oaks found themselves 14-5 down at the break and could not get back into the match after the interval.
Lewis Harben and Jake Berry scored tries for the hosts in the opening 40 minutes, both converted by Mawgan Penrice, with James MacFarlane scoring Oaks’ only points in the first period.
After the interval, Berry scored a second try for the Tics, with Penrice adding the conversion and kicking two penalties.
Prop MacFarlane added a second try late on, which Hayden Coles converted, but Plymstock could not get anything out of the game.
Tavistock remain at the foot of the table after losing 36-21 away at Veor.
Tavistock are the only team without a win in the league this term, but at half-time on Saturday it looked like they were going to change that record. They led 21-10 against the newly-promoted Cornish side, but the hosts turned the game around in the second period.
“We were 21-10 up and looking really good and then I’m not sure what happened to be honest,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill.
“We just struggled to keep the ball and allowed them too much time in our 22. Their driving maul was the difference.”
Tavistock could not even pick up a bonus point. They only scored three tries courtesy of Andrew Schuttkacker, Jack Glover and Jack Easton. Schuttkacker’s came from a quick tap penalty while the other two came from broken play, where Tavistock did look dangerous.
Elsewhere, Liskeard-Looe remain only three points ahead of Tavistock after losing 33-20 to third-placed Lanner.
DEVON JUNIOR CUP
TAMAR Saracens, OPMs and Plymouth Argaum all progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Devon Junior Cup on Saturday.
Saracens overcame big city rivals Old Techs 15-0 in the second meeting of the two teams in seven days, while OPMs had an easier afternoon seeing off lower league DHSOB 55-0 at Stonehouse Creek and a mix-and-match Argaum side overcame Plympton Victoria 24-15 away.
For the second week running Sarries were made to work really hard for their win against Techs.
The Ernesettle-based club took a 10-0 lead into half-time thanks to a Lewis Swatton penalty and then a good try under the posts by Ryan Deacon, which Swatton converted.
Techs did put Sarries under some pressure after the interval but could not close the gap and for the second week running Sini Manu sealed victory for Saracens with a try.
“It was a tight, well-contested game played in good spirit,” said Tamar Saracens head coach Pete Lethbridge.
“We had a few different players out and I think they had a few changes as well.
“Our forwards were a little bit lacklustre this week. It’s just getting the forwards and the backs to click together.
“We still have a few things to work on but I’m happy overall.
“We are in a good place at the moment. We have won five out of five and we are probably only playing 60 per cent of where we want to be.”
Saracens will now play either Totnes or Salcombe at home in the last eight, while Techs will go into the plate competition where they will host either Torrington or Exeter Saracens.
Techs have had a tough start to the season. They have so far only had one home league game – a draw against Plymouth Argaum – and have had to visit OPMs, Withycombe and Tamar Saracens in their other Devon One games.
They have been competitive in all their games and are now hoping to start picking up some wins.
“We played well in places this week and it was a hard-fought game,” said chairman Dave Evans.
“We were disappointed with the result, but we have had a tough start to the season. We have played the two sides that came down from the league above (Withycombe and Argaum), OPMs away and Sarries twice.
“We have Torrington at home next and we’re hoping for a good performance and are looking forward to start climbing the table.
“We were proud of the way the team fought to the end on Saturday and one thing is for certain no team will get an easy ride down at Weston Mill or when we are on the road.”
At Stonehouse Creek, youngster Fred Smale scored a hat-trick of tries as OPMs eased to victory over a makeshift DHSOB side.
Also scoring tries for OPMs were Ben Neville (2), Sam Matts, Matt Morgan, Paul Bright and Pete Abraham, while Matts also kicked five conversions.
“We lent them a couple of players and they were a real scratch side, but it was a win for us,” said OPMs head coach Rick Orkney.
OPMs will now host Plymouth Argaum in the quarter-finals at King George V Playing Fields.
Argaum also lent Plym Vic a couple of players on Saturday to even up the numbers in their cup tie at Underwood.
And Argaum certainly got the work out they wanted as Plym Vic were leading 15-5 at half-time and were still in front with 10 minutes to play. Argaum, though, made some changes and finished strongly with two late converted tries.
Plym Vic took an early lead with a Sam Wilmington penalty before forward Will Daley scored a converted try, which was followed by one by centre Chris Rundle to put the hosts 15-0 up.
Argaum got a try just before the break through Ben Baggatt and then scored straight after the interval through youngster Seb Thomas.
The visitors sealed the win in the closing stages with tries by Dan Smith and Tom Bradshaw.
Argaum’s coach Adrian Cameron had been happy to lend Plym Vic a couple of players to give them more of a test ahead of a big league game with Tamar Saracens next weekend.
“We wanted to make a good fist of it,” he said. “I was a bit disappointed we did not play with a bit more flow. You can say it was a mix-and-match side but we could have played with a bit more control.”
Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt said: “We were a bit short this weekend due to a wedding but we came out and put a performance together. Our scrum was good and strong. It is just about getting that bit of polish to our game now.”