Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Crucial re-arranged games for Plymouth Combination sides

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks’ season has been extended after their game with Bude last week was postponed due to Storm Dennis.

The two clubs, who are both still in the fight for second place in the Cornwall/Devon League, will now meet on Saturday, April 25 – seven days after they had been due to finish.

This weekend, Oaks will entertain Cornish club Veor at Horsham Fields.

Third-placed Plymstock thought they had received a walkover against them before Christmas after they only turned up with 10 players, but the Cornish side were successful in getting the game rescheduled.

“This is a game that was postponed before Christmas after they only turned up with 10 players,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor. “We thought we had got the points, but it went to an appeal as they said they had five players stuck in a car accident and so it has to be replayed.

“We don’t know what type of team Veor are going to bring down, but we are at home and we always back ourselves at home.”

Taylor had mixed feelings about last week’s postponement against Bude.

“In a way I was quite glad it wasn’t on because the conditions would have been a real leveller and it would have been a nightmare for everyone,” he said.

“But at the same time it was frustrating as we had momentum and a week off could stop that.”

Oaks beat league leaders Truro away in their last outing two weeks ago and if they could pick up five points this weekend they would move level on points with second-placed Paignton.

Plymstock should have a strong pack out, but they will be missing Ben Hadfield, Kieran Jamieson and Joe Brearley in the backs.

Also in the Cornwall/Devon League, Tavistock will host Torquay Athletic at Sandy Park.

The match should have been played last weekend but, like all-but one of the games in the division, was postponed due to Storm Dennis.

Tavistock will go into Saturday’s match knowing they have a much better chance of survival than this time last week after Lanner withdrew from the league.

That should mean only two teams go down and Tavistock are currently third-from-bottom. However, they will be more than aware that second-from-bottom Exeter Athletic have three games in hand on them and are only 12 points behind.

“Lanner’s demise is very sad,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill. “But has offered us a lifeline. It’s in our hands now but with Exeter having games in hand we still need to be picking up a number of wins.”

Tavistock have a number of injuries in their squad, but are still able to field two teams.

Phil Wilson is back for them this week and will replace the unavailable Duncan Law.

“We do have a few last minute decisions to make, but it is positive that we have a headache with selection despite unavailabilities.”

In Devon One, Tamar Saracens and OPMs will both have more than league points on their minds this weekend.

The pair will now be playing league and Devon Junior Cup semi-final double-headers on Saturday.

Second-placed Saracens will host Withycombe at the Parkway. That league game should have been played last week but was postponed, while this weekend the teams should have met at Raleigh Park in the cup last four.

Unbeaten league leaders Withycombe, though, have agreed to play a double-header in Ernesettle.

“They have asked for a double-header so it is now a league game and a cup semi-final at our place,” said Saracens’ head coach Pete Lethbridge.

“They are up for it and we are looking forward to it. It will be a good test for us and a chance to see how far we have come on this year.”

He added: “We have a fairly decent squad out and we are just hoping that it is dry so we can get the game on.”

The only main players Saracens will be missing will be Joe Stanniforth and Scott Sheldon.

Third-placed OPMs will also be looking for valuable league points and to reach the Devon Junior Cup final when they travel to Buckfastleigh on Saturday.

The Old Boys had to postponed last week’s home league game with Buckfastleigh due to the weather. As the pair were also set to play this weekend in the cup, OPMs have agreed to visit Buckfastleigh for a double-header.

Also in Devon One, Old Techs will be hoping Totnes’ pitch is playable to get their postponed league game completed, while in the Devon Merit Table, in-form DHSOB are due to play University of Plymouth III and St Columba & Torpoint are scheduled to visit bottom side Brixham Albion.

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