Rugby

RUGBY REPORTS: Crucial home wins for Plymstock Albion Oaks and Tavistock

PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks boosted their Cornwall/Devon League play-off hopes by hammering Veor 52-5 at Horsham Fields on Saturday.

The bonus point win has moved Oaks level on points with second-placed Paignton with just six games to go.

“We said before the game that we weren’t going to underestimate them,” said Oaks coach Aiden Taylor.

“But we were looking to improve our points difference on Paignton, who at the start of the day were 80 points better than us, but now we have closed the gap to 30.

“It was a scrappy game, but to score 52 points and only concede five is always good.

“We just have to keep building now. We are now level on points with Paignton with just six games to go.”

Oaks, having beaten league leaders Truro in their last match, took control of Saturday’s game against Veor early on. They led 28-0 at the break and continued their try-scoring form after the interval.

Hayden Coles scored two impressive tries from his own half, while Andy Porter, James McFarlane, David Byng, Sam Snell, Reegan Spencer and George Hamblin also went over for tries, with Tom Richards adding the rest of the points with the boot.

Also in the Cornwall/Devon League, Tavistock moved out of the bottom three for the first time this season after beating Torquay Athletic 29-23 at Sandy Park.

They have played four more games than Liskeard-Looe and Exeter Athletic but the win has boosted their hopes of staying up.

Torquay went in front early on but the hosts hit back when Tom Pearson showed great feet to score his side’s first try.

The visitors edged back in front with a penalty but Tavistock player-coach Hammy Kerswill then ran in from 35 metres for a rare try.

Torquay responded again before Martin Budden finished off a great team try for Tavistock.

A late penalty edged the visitors into an 18-15 half-time lead but after the break James Lovering kicked three penalties for Tavistock.

It looked like they had sealed the match when Sam Wilton showed good pace to score a fine individual effort but Torquay did give Tavistock a few nervous moments in the closing stages.

Tavistock, though, were able to hang on and send New Zealander George Faaumu home with a victory.

“It was a good win and a really close game,” said Kerswill.

“It was an excellent performance with a number of regular second team players stepping up to put in a shift.”

Meanwhile, Liskeard-Looe’s hopes of reaching Twickenham in the RFU Senior Vase ended with a 25-14 defeat at Gloucester Premier league leaders Chosen Hill Former Pupils.

Liskeard were leading at half-time but Chosen Hill came back strongly after the interval to take the South West Counties’ crown.

DEVON ONE/DEVON JUNIOR CUP

THERE was disappointment for both Tamar Saracens and OPMs who lost league and cup semi-final double-headers on Saturday.

Sarries went down 26-7 at home to unbeaten leaders Withycombe, while OPMs were beaten 19-13 away at Buckfastleigh.

Second-placed Tamar Saracens had hoped to upset Withy on their own patch, having narrowly lost 6-0 away, but the Exmouth-based club scored two late tries to seal the match.

“We were disappointed in the result,” said Sarries head coach Pete Lethbridge. “The effort was not reflected in the score.

“It was 12-0 at half-time to them and they did boss it a little bit, but we woke up second half.

“In the first 20 minutes of the second half we got a try back through Adam Corbett, with Blake Smith converting, and then we were really in the game, but they scored two tries in the last 10 minutes.

“Fair play to them, they played the full 80 minutes and they are a very good side.”

Neil Williams put Withycombe ahead in the first minute before Jake Prophett-O’Neill added another try for the visitors on 31 minutes.

But Sarries were much better after the interval.

“We gave them a bit of rocket at half-time and we did come out firing,” said Lethbridge. “We played our systems really, really well and scored a good try from a line-out driving maul.”

Corbett was the man who got the try, which Smith, playing fly-half in the absence of Scotty Sheldon, converted.

Sarries then put Withycombe under a lot of pressure but could not get another try and the visitors booked their place in the Devon Junior Cup final and virtually sealed promotion back to the Cornwall/Devon League with late tries from Will Cooper and Neil Williams.

Third-placed OPMs gave up home advantage in the league to play ninth-placed Buckfastleigh away in a double-header.

And Buckfastleigh caused an upset by winning 19-13 to reach the Devon Junior Cup.

OPMs found themselves 19-0 down at half-time but did make a game of it in the second period with two tries from Paul Bright, including a length-of-the-field effort, and a Sammie Matts penalty.

“We didn’t play rugby until the second half and by then it was too late,” said a disappointed OPMs captain Billy Garratt.

“Credit to Buckfastleigh – they were just that bit more dominant in contact. But we made silly passes on parts of the pitch which put us under pressure.

“Second half we came alive and started playing our structures a lot better.”

Old Techs’ league match away at Totnes was postponed for a second week running.

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