IVYBRIDGE moved up to fifth in the South West Premier League after scoring five unanswered tries in a 36-0 win over Bracknell at a wet and windy Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
The Bridgers had become the first team to beat Barnstaple in their last outing and they backed that up with a full five points in their first home game for three weeks.
The hosts were not at their very best but finished strongly with three tries in the final 10 minutes.
Afterwards head coach Gareth Elliott said: “I have mixed feelings to be honest because the scoreboard is great and the most pleasing thing is shutting them out – it is great to have zero points conceded – but we said in the huddle afterwards that there was plenty more out there for us in attack.”
Elliott hopes his team will be even better next week when they visit Devon rivals Brixham.
“We talked about this week being really important for us training wise as we are going into a local derby next weekend away from home and we want to put in a good performance,” said Elliott.
“Brixham are going to raise their level and we know that so we want to train well this week.
“I think the game in general was a bit stop-start. The referee struggled a little bit with the scrums – there were quite a lot of re-sets that took a bit of sting out of the game. There were also a number of penalties here and there that we didn’t need to give.”
But Elliott was pleased with how his team defended to keep their first clean sheet of the season.
“There were a few periods on our line where we held them out really well,” said Elliott.
“And we finished strong and that is because we are working hard on our fitness and we back ourselves in that area so that if we are in a match at 60 minutes we are pretty confident we can close it out.”
Ivybridge led 15-0 at half-time against a Bracknell side that arrived with just two wins out of their opening seven games.
Fly-half Matt Grieveson put them ahead in the 11th minute with a penalty before hooker Jay Geraty got their opening try seven minutes later when he went over from a catch-and-drive move.
On a wet and windy day, Bracknell did have some good territory but Ivybridge defended well and just before half-time the hosts got a second try when winger Jay Toogood reacted quickly to a kick through to pick up and score under the posts for an easy conversion for Grieveson.
Bracknell came out for the second half in determined fashion and pinned Ivybridge back in their half. However, the Bridgers refused to allow them to cross the line.
The game did lose its way for a spell but Ivybridge finished strongly with three tries in the final 10 minutes.
First, scrum-half Ben Watts scored after Bracknell messed up at a scrum on their own line. Then Grieveson went over on the right before Charlie Briant crossed on the opposite side after a good passing move.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
DEVONPORT Services returned to the summit of South West One after beating Thornbury 27-15 in a high-quality top-of-the-table clash at Keyham on Saturday.
“It was a real battle between two top sides,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach. “There was nothing between us. It was very tight, but we played very well.
“We knew it would be a tough match but we stuck to our game-plan. The forwards fronted up really well and we took our chances when we had to.”
The match had to be moved from the Rectory on the morning of the game after the pitch had failed to recover from the Royal Navy’s under-23 game on Wednesday.
Services, keen to bounce back from their 13-7 loss at Crediton in their last match, went behind early on to a Bob Adams penalty. But they hit back with a try and conversion from fly-half Richard West after some good phases of play.
West then kicked a penalty on 36 minutes to edge his side 10-3 ahead but Thornbury levelled with a converted try from full-back Alfie Richardson.
But Devonport took a 17-10 lead into half-time thanks to a try by winger Corey Jamieson after a great 60m break down the right by replacement Jake Inglis. West added the conversion to put his side 17-10 up at the interval.
That became 27-10 after the break when, first, West kicked another penalty before hooker Joe Daley scored a converted try from a line-out move.
West was sin-binned in the closing stages and Thornbury took advantage to score with another cross-field kick this time through Dan Hussey.
Meanwhile, Devonport have added to their squad further with the addition of young Plymouth Albion prop Seb Tooke and back Harrison Reburn from Saltash. They follow Eddie McGinley in signing for Services in the past week.
“Seb is only 18 and we will have him for the foreseeable future until Plymouth Albion need him,” said Services head coach Mike Lewis. “I see him as a very good tight-head who has bags of potential and who over the two or three years will be playing National League rugby.
“Harrison Reburn approached us a couple of weeks ago and asked if he could have a crack here. He can play 10, 12 and 15 and we felt he would be a good addition to the squad and will certainly add something.”
Saltash remain bottom of Western Counties West after losing 24-13 in a competitive encounter with high-flying Chard at Moorlands Lane on Saturday.
The Ashes will have been disappointed not to have at least picked up a bonus points, despite the fact that Chard have only lost twice this season.
In difficult conditions it was Somerset club’s pack that secured them the four points in Cornwall.
The visitors went 14-0 up but Saltash got back into the match with a try from captain Lewis Wells just before half-time.
The Ashes started the second half well and got a penalty through Todd Croft, but with 10 minutes to go Chad got a crucial try when their forwards pushed Saltash over their own line.
The hosts did keep going in the mud and player-coach Wells got a second try.
Plymstock Albion Oaks moved up to second in the Cornwall/Devon League after a 28-5 victory over Exeter Athletic at Horsham Fields.
In heavy rain and with a strong wind blowing down the pitch there was no chance of a classic encounter on Saturday, but Oaks managed to get the bonus point win which they wanted.
They were only 7-0 up at half-time, but they were playing up the slope and into the wind. Lance Davies scored their opening try, which was converted by Al Murray.
With the elements in their favour in the second period, Oaks, who handed a debut to fly-half Christian Brown, were able to see off a battling Exeter side.
Joe Brearley got Oaks’ second try when he went over in the corner from a scrum. Tim Coats then crossed for their third when he picked up from a ruck and forced his way over the whitewash before Hayden Coles scored the all-important fourth try. Murray, having a good day with the boot, converted all four tries after missing an early penalty,
Oaks’ head coach Aiden Taylor, who did not play, said: “We got the full five, which is good, but it was a poor game. The first half it didn’t stop raining but second half we managed to score some tries.”
He added: “What we said at half-time is that we have a try, but now we are going downhill let’s try and get the bonus point, which is what we needed to get to bounce back from Bude.
“We were expected to win, but they gave everything, to be honest.
“Second half we left loads of points out there, but five points is five points.”
Winless Tavistock came close to causing a big upset on Saturday against leaders Truro.
With 10 minutes to go, Tavistock were winning but Truro managed to score a late try and two penalties to win 18-10 at Sandy Park.
Playing on Tavistock’s third team pitch, Truro went ahead with a try following a turnover. But Tavistock got back into the contest with a touch-down from Tom Pearson after Leion Cole had made a break before off-loading.
Tavistock were dominating the scrums, but that weapon was taken away from them when Truro lost a front-row and the game had to go to uncontested scrums before half-time.
“That was arguably a turning point in the game,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill.
Truro kicked a penalty just before the break but in the second period Truro had two players sin-binned and Tavistock went ahead with a try by Jack Glover after more good play by Cole.
But in the last 10 minutes Tavistock found themselves down to 14 players due to injuries and Truro got a crucial try and then two late penalties to even rob Tavistock of a deserved bonus point.
“It feels like a win although we have no points to show for it,” said Kerswill.
“The boys were fantastic and really put a shift in. It was horrible conditions and the game was slightly delayed due to their coach not getting up the hill.
“Our attitude and desire was spot on and we are most definitely seeing improvements in the areas we have been working on.
“The match was in the balance until 10 minutes from time.”
Elsewhere in the Cornwall/Devon League, Liskeard-Looe lost 26-12 to in-form Paington, who are now up to third in the table.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
OLD Techs must wait for the competitions committee to approve their 26-0 win over Buckfastleigh at Weston Mill on Saturday.
Techs were comfortably in control and had the four tries in the bag when Buckfastleigh asked to end the game after they found themselves down to 12 players due to injuries.
Techs, who had a squad of 20, were willing to lend Buckfastleigh some players to play out the final quarter but the visitors did not want to continue.
The Plymouth club were surprised when the result was changed from 26-0 to ‘abandoned’ on the RFU website. After contacting South West Competitions they were told that as a full 80 minutes had not been played it had to go a committee.
“Hopefully, commonsense will prevail,” said Techs chairman Dave Smith.
“Buckfastleigh were adamant they did not want to play on, so what can we do?
“We should get the points. If we don’t then teams if they are losing 50-0 would just say we don’t want to play anymore.”
Smith felt Techs might have scored another 20 points in the final quarter but he said they would just be happy with the bonus-point win.
Techs dominated from the kick-off and were leading 21-0 at the break.
Centre Matt Simmonds had put Techs ahead before fellow back Peni Turua scored two fine tries. All three first half touch-downs were converted by Billy Evans, who then scored the home club’s fourth after the interval.
Plymouth Argaum claimed a much-needed win as they overcome Totnes 31-0 at a wet and windy Bickleigh Down.
The victory was Argaum’s first since the opening day of the season and has lifted them out of the bottom two and up to seventh.
They played up the slope and into the strong wind in the first half yesterday and were only 7-0 up at the break, with a good try from prop Adam Fitzpatrick, who supported Tom Holliday well to take the off-load and run in from 15 metres.
After the interval, Argaum took command. The powerful Dan Smith got their second before youngster JJ Vom Hagan scored. Smith got a second before Rory Dingermans completed the scoring with an interception try.
“In the first half we were against the slope and playing into the strong wind and we were quite happy with a 7-0 lead as you could not exit because of the wind,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman. “We then turned the screw in the second half and never looked back. We needed that win.”
Tamar Saracens took advantage of Withycombe’s game at Ilfracombe getting postponed due to a waterlogged pitch to move to the top of Devon One.
Sarries beat Torrington 34-3 at the Parkway to bounce back from their narrow 6-0 loss at Withycombe in their last game.
Despite tough conditions, Sarries backs were deadly against a hard-working Torrington side, scoring five of their six tries.
The hosts were 19-3 up at half-time. They got a penalty try before new signing Josh Perkin scored on his debut. That was followed by a third by fellow back Tom Rigby, who also converted.
After the interval, three more Saracens backs crossed the whitewash, with Dan Best, Frazer Tatchell and Elliott Jones all getting on the scoresheet.
“We played really well in tough conditions,” said Saracens head coach Pete Lethbridge.
“The forwards played well and the backs played extremely well.
“It was 19-3 at half-time and then we just turned it on a bit second half. It was a good performance all-round to be fair. I was really happy. There were no real negatives.”
Saracens managed to get two teams out on Saturday with their seconds beating Saltash.
“To have two teams out is really good,” said Lethbridge. “It shows the club is going in the right direction.”
OPMs are up to third in the table after they secured their first win over Dartmouth in years.
The Old Boys triumphed 32-10 at a rain-soaked King George V Playing Fields.
OPMs went 10-0 up after just six minutes with tries by hooker Jake Aquilina and winger Paul Bright.
Dartmouth hit back with a try by Karl Caunter, but before the break OPMs took control with a try by Matt Thompson, who won the race to a kick through. Sammie Matts converted to give OPMs a 17-5 half-time lead.
After the interval, OPMs’ highly-rated teenager Fred Smale scored in the corner after a chip-kick to make it 22-5.
Dartmouth did cut the gap with a touch-down from winger Connor Cranfield, but the home team finished strongly and Bright added a second before Tongan centre Toetu’u Vaka broke down the right wing to complete the scoring.
Vaka is in the Tongan navy but is in Plymouth for six months on a course. He had previously had a short spell with OPMs last season while also visiting the city.
“It was an outstanding win as we haven’t beaten them for a number of years,” said OPM head coach Rick Orkney. “It was a target game and I was very pleased.”
It was a good day for OPMs as their second team narrowly edged out Plympton Victoria 7-5 in the Devon Merit Table.
Plym Vic were leading a large part of the game after a first half try from winger James Hancocks but in the final 25 minutes OPMs used their forwards to get over the whitewash and crucially they converted their try, which turned out to be the difference.
“It was not a bad game of rugby considering the conditions,” said Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt. “The difference was just a conversion.
“We held the lead until the last 25 minutes but when we went behind we never really got into the danger zone to force a penalty or get that match-winning try.
“But our defence was sturdy and we got a bonus point out of it, which keeps us ticking over.”
DHSOB’s Devon Merit Table game with Kingsbridge was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.