IVYBRIDGE suffered a frustrating 20-16 loss away at Launceston on Saturday after a three-week break from action.
The Bridgers thought they had snatched victory at the end when they drove over the Cornish All Blacks’ try line, but the referee did not see the ball grounded.
“A lot of people say it should have been a try,” said Ivybridge coach Gareth Elliott.
“We did get over the line but the referee could not see the ball so we went back for a scrum but we were not able to get over from that.
“That is the way things go sometimes. We still had the chance to win and it was not all down to that.
“We did get a bonus point and to get something away from a tough place like that was important.”
He added: “It was a little bit frustrating. They got an early penalty try but in the first half we were largely in control.
“We just had a 10 minute spell early in the second half where we did not really defend too well and we let them get some territory, but then we did come back.”
Launceston, who have now lost just once in their last five games, went 10-0 up at Polson Bridge on Saturday with a penalty try and then a penalty from Dan Pearce.
But then Ivybridge, who had won the corresponding game at Cross-in-Hand 69-14 at the start of the season, hit back and went in at the break 11-10 ahead thanks to a Tom Scoles try and two penalties from Matt Grieveson.
But the hosts hit back after the interval and went 20-10 ahead with a fine converted try by Ryan Westren and a Pearce penalty.
However, Ivybridge set up a thrilling ending when Scoles went over for his second of the match before they came so close to snatching victory in injury-time.
SOUTH WEST ONE AND WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
SOUTH West One leaders Devonport Services left Sidmouth’s Blackmore Field ground relieved after snatching a 10-10 draw with the last play of the game.
With time virtually up on the clock, Sidmouth were leading 10-3 and were awarded a penalty on the halfway line.
The in-form hosts could have kicked for touch or tapped the ball and just seen out the final couple of seconds, but they opted to go for goal. Had their kick gone over it would have robbed Services of a losing bonus point, but it didn’t and the ball fell short and the visitors picked it up. A Rhys Williams break helped get Services up the other end of the field and eventually Liam Jarvis dived over for a try.
The task to level the match was put on the shoulders of stand-in fly-half Alex Mawsdley, and he made no mistake with the conversion under pressure to give his side a share of the spoils in the joint league and Devon Senior Shield match.
With second-placed Hornets losing on Saturday, the two points Services picked up at Sidmouth has moved them five points clear at the top of the table with a blank weekend coming up.
“We did not play well,” admitted Services team manager Kieran Leach. “But not many teams will win at Sidmouth for the rest of the season. They are a very well-drilled team, with great defence.”
Sidmouth had gone into the match sitting in fifth spot after winning seven of their previous eight games.
They put Services under a lot of pressure first half but the visitors defended well and managed to take a 3-0 half-time lead with a penalty from Mawdsley.
But mid-way through the second period, Sidmouth went in front with a try by winger Ethan Mead. Dan Retter kicked the conversion and then added a penalty not long later to edge his side 10-3 in front before Jarvis’ late score.
Services did get three teams out again on Saturday. Their seconds lost 46-10 to a strong Taunton side in a friendly, while their thirds beat OPM Jesters 47-19.
In Western Counties West, Saltash found promotion-chasing St Austell too strong for them, losing 40-5 at Tregorrick Park.
The Ashes were 26-0 down at the break, but to their credit they did keep going and did snatch a late consolation try through Ben Hocking.
The defeat has dropped Saltash to the foot of the table, but only two points separate the bottom five and ninth-placed Cullompton are only five points ahead.
Saltash’s next three games – at home to Teignmouth, away to Tiverton and at home to Wadebridge – are likely to be key to their hopes of pulling away from the relegation zone.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks remain in third place in the Cornwall/Devon League after a hard-earned 22-7 victory at bottom club South Molton.
Unicorn Park is never an easy place to go, especially when it is muddy and raining, so Oaks were delighted to return with four points.
“We are thrilled with that, to be honest,” said director of rugby Pete Scott. “The weather was atrocious and the pitch was like the first day of the Somme. It was an old school rugby slog.
“It was not a pretty game of rugby but we took our chances.
“Our second team also beat Liskeard-Looe to reach a cup semi-final so it was a really good start to the year for the club.”
The game was competitive and South Molton had some good spells, especially in the first half.
But Tom Richards was in fine form for Oaks, scoring two tries and also kicking a rare drop-goal, while Sam Snell continued his good scoring form since joining the club from Tavistock by going over for Plymstock’s other try in north Devon.
Tavistock were left frustrated after narrowly losing 16-14 at home to fourth-placed Pirates Amateurs on Saturday.
They did lead for much of the match but they could never really get on top of the Pirates, who sealed the win with a try in the final 15 minutes.
Tavistock stay in the bottom three but they have moved a point closer to fourth-from-bottom Liskeard-Looe, who are now only four points ahead of them.
“They (the Pirates) did keep the ball for long periods, yet we defended really well,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “But when we did go behind it was hard work.
“Just a few little things could have made a difference.”
Tavistock led 8-6 at the break with Andrew Schuttkacker scoring an early try from close range and George Hillson kicking a penalty.
Hillson and Pirates’ Dan Rhys-Evans traded penalties after the interval before Mawgan Osborne decided the game with a try in the final quarter.
Liskeard-Looe battled hard at league leaders Truro but the hosts pulled away in the closing stages to win 41-17. Liskeard’s points came from an Ollie Haggis touch-down and a penalty try, which Nick Parker adding a conversion and a penalty.
OPMs got the new year off to a winning start by beating city rivals Plymouth Argaum 41-17 at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.
The Old Boys have only lost three games this season and they showed a clinical edge against Argaum, punishing them for any errors.
The hosts led 19-5 at the break with tries from Peter Marr, Matt Thompson and Simon Bray and two conversions from Sammie Matts. Argaum’s only try in the opening 40 minutes came just before the break when Jack Morris, home from university, ran from his own half to score.
After the interval, Ben Neville, Fred Smale and Billy Garratt went over for further tries for OPMs, with Matts converting two of them and kicking a penalty, while Mason Edwards, home for Christmas, and Tom Mann touched down for Argaum.
“We are very happy,” said OPMs captain Garratt afterwards. “But we were still a little bit disappointed with parts of our game, like the last 15 minutes, but a win’s a win.”
Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman said: “When we played the way we wanted to do we looked very good and caused them problems, but we just weren’t as disciplined as we should have been and they capitalised on our errors.”
Although OPMs stay in fourth place, they are now only one point behind third-placed Exeter Saracens, who were beaten by Totnes.
Tamar Saracens are clear in second spot after a convincing 57-7 victory away at New Cross.
Sarries ran in nine tries to open 2020 with a bang.
The visitors had the try scoring bonus point in the bag after just 23 minutes and led 33-0 at the break.
Chad Smith put them ahead with an early try, which Scott Sheldon converted. Then Reece Boase made a great break to create a try for scrum-half Rikki Brandham.
Joe Staniforth added a third on 17 minutes from some good forwards play before Frazer Tatchell bagged the all-important fourth. Brandham finished the try scoring in the first half with his second.
After the interval Staniforth, Boase, Alex Israel and Josh Perkin added further tries.
New Cross did have a player red carded in the final 10 minutes but they did manage a consolation try after charging down a kick.
“We played some really good rugby,” said Tamar Saracens coach Pete Lethbridge.
“It was disappointing to concede at the end but it was a good win and I’m happy.”
For the second time this season Old Techs were undone by a late show from unbeaten league leaders Withycombe.
At Raleigh Park earlier in the season, Techs lost 24-8 after conceding two late converted tries and it was déjà vu on Saturday as they were beaten 28-13 at Weston Mill.
There was just one point in the game on Saturday until the last nine minutes when Withycombe scored two converted tries to claim a bonus point win.
“It was almost exactly the same as the first game,” said Techs chairman David Evans.
“But it was a really good match with some good quality rugby from both sides.
“The last 10 minutes we just ran out of steam a little and they scored two tries. It’s a bit disappointing but we played really well. Even though we lost there was a good feeling around the club as there were a lot more positives than negatives.”
Billy Evans put Techs ahead with a penalty but Withycombe went 7-3 up at the break with a try by Liam Cullen, that Glenn Channing converted.
After the interval, Withycombe went 14-3 in front with a try by Neil Williams that was again converted by Channing.
But then Techs got some momentum and tries by scrum-half Tom Blythe and powerful centre Matt Simmonds made it 14-13.
Withycombe, though, dug deep and got the five points with late tries by Rory Collings and Jimmy Holman, both converted by Channing.