SALTASH made it two wins in a row by beating fifth-placed Wadebridge 19-18 at Moorlands Lane on Saturday to increase their chances of staying in Western Counties West.
The Ashes are now off the bottom of the table and are only a point behind third-from-bottom Wiveliscombe and six behind Honition with two games in hand.
The Ashes made a great start to Saturday’s game and went 19 points up on their Cornish rivals.
Player-coach and captain Lewis Wells got them off to the perfect start with a try on the right after just five minutes.
They extended their lead eight minutes later when lock Devon Bennet-Murray crossed in the corner for a try that Kieran Down converted.
Saltash got a third try on 25 minutes when prolific winger Will Morton made a stunning break from midfield and beat three defenders to score. Down added the conversion.
But then Wadebridge came to live and they cut the gap to 19-10 at half-time with a try by Joe Pretty and a conversion and penalty from Dan Thomas.
The second half became a real battle and Wadebridge’s forwards started to get on top. The visitors added a second try on 67 minutes before Ben Humber scored with 10 minutes to go to set up a nerve-wracking ending.
But Saltash defended brilliantly to hang on for a vital four points.
There was also a much-needed win for Liskeard-Looe in the Cornwall/Devon League.
They beat second-from-bottom Exeter Athletic 27-20, which should virtually secure their safety in the Cornwall/Devon League.
Ben Palmer, Ollie Aggiss, Jordan Smith and Dom Pollard scored tries for Liskeard, who have moved up to 10th above Tavistock with games in hand.
In Devon One, Old Techs’ three-match winning run came to an end when they were heavily beaten 44-10 away at Totnes.
The game had been rearranged twice due to a waterlogged Totnes pitch and on Saturday Techs were short of players, with nearly all their military personnel unavailable.
Player-coach Shaun Bedford-Smith and 50-year-old Jimmy Carter both had to play a full 80 minutes and their makeshift team struggled in the first half. However, they improved after the interval. Matt Simmonds scored both their tries.
“It was just one of those days when we were short of numbers,” said Bedford-Smith. “But you could not fault the effort of the players that played.”
Plymouth Argaum were left disappointed again when Torrington pulled out of travelling to them for a second time within the space of a five weeks.
In the Devon Merit Table, DHSOB were also short of players due most of their military players being unavailable and so had to hand Kingsbridge II a walkover. In the same division, Plympton Victoria were beaten 74-0 at Plymstock Albion Oaks II.
Cornwall/Devon League side Plymstock Albion Oaks have reached the final of the Lockie Cup after beating Devon One side OPMs 62-14 at Cross-in-Hand.
The first half was quite close, with Oaks leading 24-14, but in the second period, Plymstock pulled away.
Plymstock ended up running in 10 tries. Prop James McFarlane got two of them, with Hayden Coles, Pete Keanie, Tom Richards, Regan Spencer, Joe Brearley, Tim Coats, Corey Jenkinson and Sam Snell crossing the whitewash. Coles kicked the rest of their points.
OPMs’ tries came just before half-time from Ben Hooper and Pete Regan. Sammy Matts converted both.
“We didn’t wake up until 20 minutes until half-time and that’s when we scored points,” said OPMs’ Billy Garratt. “But then for the rest of the game our defence was poor and they capitalised on it. Fair play to them.”
Oaks’ player-coach Aiden Taylor said: “It is nice to reach a cup final. It gives us something to look forward to.
“We do really want to get promoted and get out of this league (Cornwall/Devon), but we don’t know yet what is going to happen with the league fixtures.”
Meanwhile, OPMs have cancelled the launch of their new walking rugby section on Tuesday afternoon due to the coronarivus outbreak.