RUGBY REPORTS: Upsets for Ivybridge and Sarries, but away wins for OPMs and Techs

IVYBRIDGE were well and truly brought back down to earth after beating runaway league leaders Barnstaple in their last match.

The Bridgers had been looking to build on that win two weeks ago, but it all went wrong for them at bottom club Bracknell on Saturday.

The Cross-in-Hand side suffered their biggest defeat of the season as they crashed 43-18 to the Berkshire club, who, although they stay bottom, have given themselves hope of staying up.

Ivybridge, after a disappointing start to 2020, now find themselves looking over their shoulders after dropping down to eighth, only 10 points clear of the relegation zone.

The Bridgers went 12-0 down early on in Berkshire but prop Wes Vermigle got them back into it with a try, which Matt Grieveson converted.

Bracknell scored a third try before Grieveson kicked a penalty to make it 19-10.

The hosts scored a fourth try to go 16 points up before a Grieveson penalty reduced that by three at half-time.

Bracknell went 20 points ahead early in the second period. Veteran hooker Jay Geraty pulled another back for the South Hams club but the hosts added to late tries to secure their sixth win of the season and move to within four points of 11th-placed Exmouth and safety.

Devonport Services’ big match away at Thornbury in South West One was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, as was Saltash’s game at Chard in Western Counties West, which will now be played on April 25 – a week after the season was due to end

Plymstock Albion Oaks’ season looks like it will be extended until May 2 after their away game at Exeter Athletic was postponed on Saturday.

Oaks’ campaign had already been extended until April 25 so they could play Bude but they are now pencilled in to play two games after the season should have ended.

Plymstock are pushing for second spot in the league so both games could be crucial.

Exeter Athletic sit in the bottom two but have only played 15 games compared to the 20 relegation rivals Tavistock have played.

Tavistock are 17 points in front of Exeter in 10th spot. The Sandy Park club were not able to surprise runaway league leaders Truro away on Saturday.

However, they will have taken plenty of positives from their performance in Cornwall, despite a 29-7 defeat.

“Truro got a late couple of tries but otherwise it was a good performance for us with a lot of regulars missing,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill.

“The pitch probably wasn’t fit but we agreed to play and get the fixture done. We were against the wind and slope in the first half and weathered the storm pretty well.”

Truro only managed one try and a penalty first half, but they got an early second half try and then added another before Seb Cox got one back for Tavistock, which James Lovering converted.

“We had some good opportunities but conditions told as the storm set in.”

Liskeard-Looe, who sit one place and four points behind Tavistock but with four games in hand, battled hard against second-placed Paignton at Lux Park on Saturday but without any reward.

Paignton triumphed 16-0 with Alex Jeffery kicking 11 of the south Devon club’s points.


SECOND-placed Tamar Saracens suffered a shock defeat as they went down 10-8 away at Torrington on Saturday in Devon One.

The loss was Sarries’ second in a row, having been beaten at home by league leaders Withycombe in a league and cup double header seven days earlier.

Conditions were terrible at Torrington and the game even had to be halted for 10 minutes at one point due to a severe hail storm.

Sarries had played against the wind first half and found themselves trailing 10-0.

They got a penalty early in the second period, which Blake Smith kicked, before Chey Bryce scored a try from a catch-and-drive move. Smith could not add that conversion and Sarries could not grab a match-winning score late on.

“It was a bad day at the office,” said Saracens coach Pete Lethbridge. “It was disappointing. The weather was atrocious but it was the same for both teams.

“We tried to play the conditions but didn’t quite manage it.

“You can’t fault the effort of the players, but it wasn’t a good day. We picked up a few injuries as well, but at least it is a long journey out of the way.”

Third-placed OPMs did close the gap on Tamar Saracens after they beat Dartmouth 7-0 in a real battle in south Devon.

The only try of the game came from a rolling maul effort from Ben Neville, which Sammy Matts converted.

“The conditions were very tough,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “We had bad winds, heavy rain, heavy hail, then heavy snow before bright sunshine and that repeated itself throughout the 80 minutes.

“We were very pleased with our defence. Even when they did make a line break, which wasn’t too often, we shut the attack down straight away and forced mistakes from them.

“Credit to Dartmouth, they played some really good rugby, which challenged us at times. But, luckily for us, our ‘D’ was just a bit better to stop them from scoring.”

The teams were playing for the Mayflower 400 Trophy, which will now be heading for OPMs’ clubhouse.

Old Techs moved up to seventh in the table after they claimed their second successive away win by beating Buckfastleigh 15-7.

The hosts opted to play against the wind first half and Techs, with forwards Steve Wilkinson and Brendon Bevan impressing, took advantage of the wind to go 15-0 up.

Billy Evans opened the scoring with a try, which he also converted, before Matt Simmonds ran in from the halfway line after picking up a loose ball. Evans then kicked a penalty just before the break.

Buckfastleigh dominated territory second half but Techs defended brilliantly and their defence was only beaten once.

“It was a good win, especially after they had beaten OPMs last week,” said Old Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.

“It is a really tough place to go and their confidence was high after beating OPMs.

“Defensively we were brilliant second half. Playing against the wind, we rarely got out of our half, but everyone that played did their job. It was a cracking win.”

Like Saracens’ game at Torrington, Techs match also had a break due to a hail storm.

Plymouth Argaum were beaten 33-19 away at Totnes but they felt it was a game they could have won.

They went 12-0 up with two tries from Tom Holiday before Totnes got one back. But Argaum got a third through Lewis Hunt – his first for the club – to lead 19-7 before the hosts scored two just before half-time to lea 21-19 and then added three more after the interval.

“It was a good, competitive game,” said Argaum secretary Stuart Quarterman. “We don’t feel aggrieved that we lost, but we know we left a lot of points on the field.

“Twice we were held up and had two more tries disallowed. We know we were capable of winning that game.

“We had a lot of forward dominance and played well but just did not convert all our chances.”

In the Devon Merit Table there was disappointment for Plympton Victoria, who lost 27-0 to Saltash II in a match that was moved late on to St Mary’s.

The game was a double league game so seventh-placed Saltash, who were without a first team game on Saturday, have opened up a gap on eighth-placed Plym Vic.

“They (Saltash) seemed to have a mix of old heads and colts,” said Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt.

“Our temperament was not quite right. Our scrum, like always, was good and we played some good rugby in fits and spurts, but they just had that bit extra – just a bit more polished.”

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