PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks’ Twickenham hopes were ended by a determined Liskeard-Looe side at a damp and misty Lux Park on Saturday.
The Lions triumphed 17-8 in the opening round of the RFU Senior Vase to keep alive their dreams of another trip to the home of England rugby.
An enthralling and tight game was eventually decided by a penalty try and an interception score.
Defences were on top in the first half and the teams went in tied at 3-3.
However, the cup tie was decided in the opening 20 minutes of the second period. Oaks had a player sin-binned early in the second half and that was followed by conceding a penalty try after intense pressure on the line by Liskeard.
Yet Oaks were still in it and threw everything at the Lions but on 60 minutes as the visitors were attacking, Liskeard full-back Kieran Underhill intercepted a pass in his own 22 and ran 70 metres to score under the posts and give Parker an easy conversion. That put the Cornish side 17-3 ahead.
Plymstock, who were missing a host of key players, did keep going and got a try back through player-coach Aiden Taylor in the final 10 minutes after Liskeard had picked up a yellow card.
“It was a really good game of rugby, but we just made a couple of mistakes and Liskeard-Looe’s defence was really good,” said Oaks director of rugby Peter Scott.
“We are absolutely gutted, but Liskeard-Looe played very well.”
Oaks will be hoping to bounce back on Wednesday when they play Saltash II at home in the Lockie Cup.
Tamar Saracens did enjoy cup joy on Saturday when they beat Totnes 61-0 at the Parkway to reach the semi-finals of the Devon Junior Cup.
Sarries led 26-0 at half-time with Chey Bryce, Frazer Tatchell, Sini Manu and Rikki Brandham all crossing for tries in the opening 40 minutes and Blake Smith converting three of them.
After the interval, Bryce and Manu both added further tries to go with ones from Joe Stanniforth, James Sellens and Smith, who added the rest of the points with his boot.
Totnes had been going well in the league and had beaten Tamar Saracens when the sides last met, but the south Devon side arrived with just 15 players and ended up down to 13.
“It was a good result, but we are still not the finished article,” admitted Sarries head coach Pete Lethbridge.
“The boys did produce some good phases, but we still did go to sleep at times.
“However, our defence was good and we’ve moved into the semi-finals with a good win so, at the end of the day, I have to be happy.”
OPMs were also in cup action on Saturday. They beat the Peninsula Medical School 14-7 at King George V Playing Fields to reach the Lockie Cup semi-finals.
The Old Boys, though, needed a try from Mark Hardy five minutes from time to book their place in the last four.
The hosts were awarded a penalty try in the first half after Billy Garratt thought he had scored. That gave OPMs a 7-0 lead at the break.
The students levelled at early in the second period but Hardy’s late try proved the match winner.
“They (the Medical School) were pretty decent,” said Garratt. “They were strong, physical and quick. They did want to run everything but our forward pack dominated a bit.”
TAVISTOCK were unable to cause a major surprise in the Cornwall/Devon League as they lost 38-0 away at second-placed Paignton.
Although they stay in the same position – 12th, three points away from safety – they have now played two more games than 11th placed Liskeard-Looe, who are the only team realistically within touching distance of them.
“We were opposite to normal this week,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “We were really poor in areas in the first half with two soft tries conceded, but second half we picked up nicely with some promising rugby.
“We had a number of key individuals missing and the boys who stepped up from the seconds really put a shift in.
“We move on to Veor next week. Away to them we were really poor and at our worst this season so we’ve got a point to prove at home.”
Sam Nelson-Smith (2), Ellis Ward, David Siddall and James Sach got Paignton’s tries, with former Plymouth-based player Alex Jeffery converting all five tries and putting over a penalty.
In Devon One, Old Techs suffered a disappointing 33-10 away defeat to Dartmouth.
Techs were missing a host of players and had 60-year-old Rory McGill playing for them.
Dartmouth led 17-5 at half-time with tries by Luke Chase, Dan Greene and John Dingle, with flanker Sam Courtney scoring Techs’ reply with an outrageous dummy.
In the second half, Chase scored a second before kicking three penalties. Techs did get another try back through Tom Blyth but it was not enough to get anything out of the game and they have now lost their last four games.
“It was really frustrating,” said chairman Dave Evans afterwards. “We just somehow have to get back to winning ways. Just one win would really lift the boys.”
In the Devon Merit Table, DHSOB enjoyed a fine 39-33 home win over Saltash II.
The hosts led 19-12 the break with tries from scrum-half Jone Keni, prop Garces Siliverio and number eight Lopeti Faha, with Mucunabitu adding two conversions.
They then went 29-12 up and 39-26 before Saltash did rally at the end. Flanker Kapu, fly-half Ben Vulavula, winger Billy Richards and Faha added further tries for the Old Boys after the interval.
“It was a cracking game of rugby,” said DHSOB’s Mike Freeman. “We could have scored more as we only converted two of the tries and dropped the ball over the line twice, but it was quite a performance against a good Saltash side.”
Also in the Devon Merit Table Division Two, St Columba & Torpoint pulled off a shock 34-30 win away at Torquay Athletic II.
Number eight Mikey Grieve snatched victory for the Saints at the death with pick-and-go effort from a strong scrum.
In the top division of the Devon Merit Table, Devonport Services II stay third after beating last year’s champions Okehampton 19-0 at the Rectory.