IVYBRIDGE suffered a second successive defeat as they went down 34-25 at home to second-placed Weston-super-Mare on Saturday in the South West Premier.
The injury-hit Bridgers should have at least picked up a losing bonus point but Matt Grieveson missed a penalty with the last play of the game.
Ivybridge had got themselves to within a score of their visitors with 10 minutes to go and looked to have the momentum, but they gave away a silly penalty which Weston kicked to end their hopes of keeping their home record intact.
“Any loss is disappointing, especially at home,” said coach Jamie Tripcony. “We put huge emphasis on how important our home games are and how we want to make this a really tough place for teams to come and be a bit of a fortress. So it does hurt us quite a bit.
“There were times in that game where we showed the level we can get to, but it is just about getting that consistency in our performance. It’s not big gains – just two or three per cent here and two or three per cent there. But we’ll take the positives and move forward to next week.”
He added: “At the end our indiscipline let us down. We gave them too many opportunities and they had a nice driving maul that they used very well. If we had got hold of our discipline we wouldn’t have given them as many opportunities.
“We got ourselves back into the game but I think we just left it a little bit too late.”
Ivybridge were without a host of players including Tripcony, George Wilson, Robin Luscombe, Matt Gilbury, Damon Akerman and Matt Finn.
“That was a huge squad performance,” said Tripcony. “We pride ourselves on that guys can just slip into the team. We are very lucky to have great numbers and we want to keep that going. We all train together and so there are no excuses and the guys that came in slotted in really well.”
Weston also missed one 12 minutes later but the visitors eventually took the lead on 23 minutes when number eight Brad Talbot went over from a quick tap penalty after Ivybridge had been penalised at a scrum.
The Somerset side got a second try five minutes later when flanker Jacob Cox was driven over from a line-out and fly-half Daniel Lomax converted.
Weston picked up two yellow cards and Ivybridge one in the final 10 minutes of the first half and while the teams were short numbered scrum-half Ben Watts scored at the foot of the posts for the hosts. Grieveson added the simple conversion to close the gap to 12-7 at half-time.
Grieveson then reduced the advantage to just two points five minutes into the second period with a penalty.
But Ivybridge switched off at the restart and Weston went up the other end and scored through centre Huw Morgan after some good passing. Lomax added the conversion to put the visitors 19-10 ahead.
It got better for them when Alex Howman crossed for another converted try to put them 16 points in front.
Ivybridge gave themselves a lifeline when young full-back Dan Lilley scored in the right corner.
However, yet again the hosts were caught at the restart and visiting scrum-half Ross Bennett added their fifth try in the corner to make it 31-15.
But the Bridgers refused to lie down and a great try by replacement Jay Toogood, which Grieveson converted, gave them hope with 15 minutes to go. Grieveson then put them within a score with a penalty.
Weston, though, sealed the game when Lomax kicked a penalty from near the halfway line. The hosts did have a chance to snatch a point when they got a penalty with the last play of the game but Grieveson put his kick wide.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DOMINIC EYRE marked his Devonport Services league debut with a hat-trick of tries as they bounced back in style from their two-point loss at Chew Valley the previous week.
Services ran in nine tries to beat Cleve 57-27 at the Rectory on Saturday and move back to the top of the South West One table.
They were 40-10 up at half-time but took their foot of the gas a bit in the second period as the visitors were reduced to 14 men after having a player sent off on 50 minutes.
But the game was already won by then and they were pleased with their overall performance.
“Everything Mike (Lewis) wanted us to do we did, especially playing with width,” said team manager Kieran Leach. “We got nine tries and they all came from the backs, so it was good.”
Services had been keen to respond to their first loss seven days earlier, but it was Cleve that started the stronger and took the lead straight from kick-off when Royal Navy fly-half Nathan Huntley scored a try which he also converted.
On seven minutes, Devonport got their first try of the afternoon when winger Kyle Browne successfully gathered a nice kick to the corner after some good forward play.
Cleve, who were in the South West Premier last season, went 10-5 ahead with a Huntley penalty but after that the rest of the half totally belonged to Services.
Their second try came on 16 minutes when some good play from a line-out ended with Corey Jamieson feeding Tom Goodman to score under the posts. Richard West easily added the conversion to put his side ahead for the first time.
Cleve were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes at the midway point of the first half and from the resultant penalty Services set up a rolling maul and eventually scrum-half Eyre sneaked over for his first try, which West converted.
And Devonport totally took control of the game towards the end of the half with three tries in five minutes.
First, prop Rocky Young somehow found himself on the end of passing move to score under the posts for an easy conversion for West.
Jamieson then scored in the corner almost straight from the restart after Services had turned the ball over in Cleve’s half.
And a few minutes later student Eyre got his second try. Cleve again failed to clear their lines properly and Browne made a break and a couple of phases later Eyre sneaked over from the back of a ruck. West converted to make the half-time scored 40-10.
Cleve came straight at Services from the re-start and bagged a second try. But they then had scrum-half Josh Mortimore sent off for dissent.
Jamieson then scored his second try of the day after Eyre fed him from a tap penalty.
Debutant Eyre then secured his dream hat-trick following an earlier good break by replacement Jake Inglis.
Services’ final try came from Browne, who had got their first. He started the move before finishing it off in the corner to make it 57-15.
But Devonport then took their foot of the pedal and visiting number eight Chris McCann scored two late tries to secure Cleve a valuable bonus point.
In Western Counties West, Saltash gave high-flying Wellington a major scare at Moorlands Lane before eventually losing 29-19.
Saltash were leading 12-5 at half-time and were only five points behind going into the final quarter before Wellington sealed the win with late fourth try.
The victory took Wellington, who are coached by former Plymouth Albion favourites Graham Dawe and Nic Sestaret, top of the table, while Saltash remain at the foot of the standings after seven games.
Will Morton gave Cornwall coach Dawe a reminder of how deadly he can be by scoring a hat-trick of tries, two of which were converted by Kieron Down.
Wellington could only manage one try in the first half through centre Vinny Gordon but after the interval Chris Kitto bagged two in quick succession before Lee Phillips crossed and then birthday boy Josh Hancock sealed the win.
Saltash were frustrated not to get anything out of the game for all their efforts, but took plenty of positives from their performance.
“We played all the rugby,” said Saltash player-coach Lewis Wells. “It was just a few penalties and a few dropped balls and we paid the price.”
He added: “All our tries were straight from the training paddock, so it’s getting there. It is just the fine tuning and making sure we are an 80 minute side.
“It’s a long season and I don’t doubt we will start pulling in the results.”
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks produced their best performance of the season to beat Truro 28-25 at Horsham Fields in a top-of-the-table clash.
It was the perfect way for Oaks to bounce back from their first loss of the season at Torquay the previous week.
Plymstock were always in front of a tight match and not only managed to hang on to claim the win but also picked up a valuable bonus point for scoring four tries courtesy of two from player-coach Aiden Taylor and further ones from Tim Coats and Dave Byng.
“It was a great performance,” said Oaks head coach Taylor. “We really clicked as a team and gave them a really good game.
“I think in the end we deserved the win. We missed six points off the tee and they didn’t miss any and we just kept battling. We got the try bonus point as well.”
He added: “We needed a response quickly after last week and we got one.
“Truro were top of the league and they tried all sorts but we just really stuck together as a team for the first time in a long while and started to apply some of the rugby we have been working on for the last two years.
“We have been building for the last two years at trying to put together an 80 minute performance and at times this week we were unplayable – our backs and forwards just clicked and we scored some really nice tries.”
Oaks had dropped off the top of the table and down to fourth after their defeat at Torquay. Truro had replaced them as league leaders but now they found themselves down in fourth and Oaks are up to second, level on points with new table-toppers Torquay.
Tavistock remain rooted to the foot of the table after they lost 34-27 at home to Topsham.
The hosts somehow blew a 27-5 half-time lead. It was the second week running they had let a big first half advantage slip, having done the same seven days earlier at Veor.
Tavistock certainly looked on course for their first win of the campaign after George Hillson, back from university for the game, scored a first-half hat-trick and Sam Snell and Jack Easton had also chipped in with tries.
But just before the interval Topsham got a score back through Robin Edbrooke and they completely turned the match around in the second period and Will Loughton scored a hat-trick for them to go with two tries from Will House.
A disappointed Tavistock player-coach Hammy Kerswill said: “It was the best first half we’ve had but a second half capitulation.
“It was another tough one to take but we’ve got to keep going as there’s a long season ahead.”
Liskeard-Looe have moved further clear of the bottom three after they beat Veor 32-15 at Lux Park. It was only their second win of the season.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
TAMAR Saracens sent out a warning to their Devon One rivals by running in nine tries to beat city rivals Plymouth Argaum 55-7 at Bickleigh Down.
It was Sarries’ biggest win of the season and the perfect way to warm-up for the crucial match away at fellow unbeaten side Withycombe next weekend.
They had the bonus point in the bag at half-time as they ran in four tries courtesy of backs Rikki Brandham, Elliott Jones and two from Ryan Deacon, which were all converted by Lewis Swatton.
Argaum, who were struggling for availability again, impressed in the set-piece and did get a try back at the start of the second period through new back Will Daley, who also added the conversion. But the visitors finished strongly and added five further tries with Chey Bryce, Frazer Tatchell, Jones, Tom Rigby and Dan Best all going over the whitewash in the second half for second-placed Sarries, who are just one point behind leaders Withycombe, who they meet next week.
“It was a good game,” said Tamar Saracens coach Pete Lethbridge. “They have a few good players, but didn’t have as many players as they wanted.
“It was 28-0 at half-time and I was little bit disappointed they scored straight after the break to make it 28-7 but then we switched on again.
“It was a good performance all-round. We are starting to get there.
“It was pleasing but we have a bigger test ahead of us next week away at Withycombe.”
He added: “To be fair, our scrum struggled a bit. Argaum definitely caused us problems there and so we need to look at that, but there were plenty of positives. We scored more tries than we have done all season. The only thing that was really disappointing was conceding a try, but overall I was really happy.”
Old Techs finally got their first win of the season when they beat mid-table Torrington 38-24 at Weston Mill.
Techs, who had drawn their only other home league game, ran in six tries to jump up to seventh in the table and they are hoping they can keep moving up the standings now, especially having already played the top two – Withycombe and Tamar Saracens – away from home.
Birthday boy Matt Simmonds led the way for them with two tries, while Grant Aitken, Peni Turui, Ryan Tunnicliffe and Billy Evans also touched down.
“It was good to get a win and a bonus point,” said coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.
“It was disappointing we leaked a few tries as our defence has been really good this season, but, fair play to Torrington, they are not an easy team to play.
“We scored a couple of early tries in the first 10 minutes and then probably thought it was going to be an easy run-out, but it wasn’t.
“Attacking wise we have done really well but we spoke afterwards about our defence. However, it was a really good result and we are probably been a bit harsh been disappointed with the defence.
“We knew we needed to win after a hard run of games so it was good to get one.”
OPMs were left without a match after Totnes said they could not raise a team to travel to Plymouth and so handed them the walkover. That puts fourth-placed OPMs now level on points with third-placed Exeter Saracens.
In the Devon Merit Table, Plympton Victoria narrowly lost 11-10 at home to second-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks II at Underwood.
Plym Vic out-scored Oaks on tries, with Daniel Warne and Sean Slater touching down for them, but two penalties won Plymstock the match.
“We probably should have done a bit better,” admitted Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt. “We were just a bit too bitty. We played well in parts, but not long enough. We also missed seven points in kicks.
“It was just that little bit of ill-discipline – we got two yellow cards and gave away too many penalties – and decision-making when it mattered. We undid ourselves a bit, but we kept in the game and got a bonus point against a team that are second in the league.”
Elsewhere in Devon Merit Table Division Two South & West, St Columba & Torpoint claimed their first win of the season when they beat University of Plymouth III 33-31 in a high-scoring affair, while OPMs II picked up a bonus point in a 20-14 defeat at Salcombe.