FOR the third time this season Ivybridge found themselves having to settle for a share of the points as they drew 25-25 with second-placed Maidenhead at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
The Bridgers, who had already drawn with Exmouth and Camborne in other South West Premier games, were grateful to a late Matt Grieveson penalty in front of the posts to pick up two points.
The South Hams club sit seventh in the table, but if they had won instead of drawing three games they would be in the top four.
“We have talked about not wanting to be nearly men,” said player-coach Jamie Tripcony.
“It was frustrating drawing the game as there were opportunities out there we could have taken.
“But we’ll regroup and get back to working hard.”
Ivybridge had beaten ambitious Maidenhead 36-33 in a thrilling away at the end of September and Saturday’s game was another seesaw clash.
Maidenhead, coached by World Cup winner Will Greenwood, opened the scoring after just two minutes when Scott Prince touched down and Will Runciman converted.
But back came Maidenhead and they took a 17-10 half-time lead with a converted try by George Blewitt and a penalty from Runciman.
After the interval Tom Scoles pulled the Bridgers to within two points with a try out wide.
The Berkshire visitors, though, responded with a Dale Cole try to make it 22-15.
Into the final quarter, scrum-half Ben Watts touched down for a converted try to level the contest.
Maidenhead thought they had won the game when Runciman kicked a penalty but with less than two minutes to go Ivybridge got into the 22 before earning a penalty almost in front of the posts, which Grieveson calmly slotted.
WESTERN COUNTIES WEST
SALTASH remain at the foot of Western Counties West after failing to pick up any points in a disappointing 36-10 home defeat to Teignmouth.
Teignmouth have found some good form of late but the Ashes know they need to make home advantage tell if they are to escape the drop for a second year running.
The good news for Saltash was at least only one of the other bottom five teams won on Saturday so they are still only two points from safety.
Not for the first time this season, a slowly first half cost the Ashes.
They were 21-3 down at the break with Alex Ford, Ben Allison and Jack Rout scoring tries for the visitors, with only a Kieran Down penalty to show for Saltash’s efforts in the opening 40 minutes.
Teignmouth extended their lead after the interval with two more tries from Ford before the home team finally started to put something together. Todd Crofts eventually got them a converted try but it proved to be just a consolation effort.
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks coach Aiden Taylor described his side’s 41-5 home victory over Plymouth Combination rivals Tavistock as one of his side’s best performances of the season.
Third-placed Oaks ran in five converted tries and kicked two penalties in their comprehensive win, which keeps them on the heels of Paignton in second.
George Hamlin got two of Oaks’ tries, with former Tavistock player Sam Snell also crossing along with Tom Richards and David Byng.
Richards kicked four conversions and two penalties, while new Spanish signing Nicolas Bono Machado added their other conversion.
Tavistock’s only points on a difficult afternoon came from an early try from forward Joe Hair. They remain 12th but are now eight points from safety.
“It was a tough day,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “We talked a lot about possession and territory being key to our success as we are lacking in both areas at the moment.
“In areas we did put phases together and improved our ball retention but lacked creativity. Inevitably we would get turned over against a good Oaks defence.
“The first half we started well with the ball and earned a score through Joe Hair, but some basic handling errors put some distance against the side.
“It’s cup rugby for us now,” added Kerswill. “We have the top two to play away and every other side directly around us. Hard work is needed from the word go now.”
Oaks coach Taylor said: “We were fantastic all game. It was one of our better performances of the season.”
Taylor particularly praised his side’s set piece, especially the scrum, and also their defence.
“We didn’t let them get on the front foot,” he said. “They came out really well and had a lot of ball but we kept forcing them back and they ran out of ideas.”
Liskeard-Looe, in 11th place, moved clear of Tavistock and the relegation zone thanks to a 3-0 home win over Bude at a wet Lux Park.
An error-ridden game was decided by an early penalty from Lions fly-half Nick Parker.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
TAMAR Saracens took a massive step towards claiming a top two finish in Devon One by narrowly beating fourth-placed OPMs 12-6 at Parkway on Saturday.
With third-placed Exeter Saracens surprisingly losing 21-0 at Buckfastleigh, Tamar Saracens now have an 11-point game between themselves and both Exeter and OPMs.
Sarries did have to survive a few nervous moments at the end of Saturday’s game as OPMs came agonisingly close to scoring a try but were penalised on the line.
“OPMs are a very well-drilled side and I think their forwards had the upper edge,” admitted Tamar Saracens coach Pete Lethbridge. “But it was a good win for us.
“We didn’t play that well but I was happy as we got the win and did not concede any tries.
“They did have a lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes and it was squeaky bum time at the end.”
Adam Corbett scored the only points of the first half with a try in the corner. Elliott Jones then went over for Sarries’ second after the interval, with Blake Smith adding the conversion.
But OPMs kept in the game with two Sammie Matts penalties.
“It was very close,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “It is disappointing as the lads played out of their skins from one to 20.
“We knew it was going to be a hard battle and credit to Sarries for their defence. They got lucky at the end with a penalty but one decision does not make a game.
“I think we could have been a bit more disciplined at the back of the ruck. We had a couple of silly off-sides so we will do a bit of work on that ahead of next week.”
Plymouth Argaum were grateful to some good defence and the boot of Tom Shepherd as they edged out city rivals Old Techs 9-5 at Bickleigh Down in the other Devon One derby on Saturday.
The win has taken Argaum one place and one point above Techs in the table. They are now ninth with Techs dropping to 10th.
Techs were leading 5-3 at the break with Matt Simmonds scoring the game’s only try after Shepherd had put Argaum ahead with an early penalty.
Shepherd then kicked two further efforts in the second period and then the hosts defended brilliantly as Techs tried their best to snatch victory.
“We’re disappointed with the result,” said Techs chairman David Evans. “But we had a bad day and didn’t get going.
“We were leading 5-3 at half-time against the slope and we thought we were in for a good day, but second half we failed to make use of the advantage, making silly mistakes when in point-scoring positions.”
In Devon Merit Table Division Two South & West, DHSOB enjoyed a good 31-10 home win over struggling Brixham Albion. The win has moved the Old Boys up to eighth in the standings with games in hand.