GEORGE DE MENDONCA scored a try with the last play of the game to secure Ivybridge a narrow 5-0 victory over Devonport Services in a pre-season friendly at the Rectory on Friday night.
The match looked to be heading for a 0-0 draw until South West Premier side Ivybridge got a penalty close to the line on the left and took it quickly before throwing it across the line where de Mendonca was waiting to pounce on the right.
A draw probably would have been a fair result in a stop-start game where defences were definitely on top.
South West One outfit Services had spells of decent possession, but in the final 10 minutes, higher league Ivybridge did find a bit more of a threat and former Plympton Victoria back Sam Wilmington was unfortunate to have a fine individual effort ruled out for an earlier knock-on.
However, both teams would have been delighted with how they defended and how they kept their organisation despite making plenty of replacements.
“Both teams threw as much as they could at each other,” said Services head coach Mike Lewis.
“The game balanced itself out at times. There were spells when they (Ivybridge) would be in the ascendancy and then other times we were.
“There were times when we would almost edged it, but then a couple of decisions didn’t go our way, then they’d almost edge it and a couple of decisions would not go their way. It was a flip of the coin who was going to win that in the end.
“What was good is that both teams had five or six first-year seniors out there. I thought they all gave a good account of themselves. Ours lads have tackled and carried and played really well when they needed to. They just need to learn our patterns a bit more in defence and attack. Hopefully, in the next year or so we are going to have a really strong core of Devonport Services players.”
Ivybridge’s new director of rugby Jamie Tripcony said: “After what has gone on, it is just good to see some local rugby again and two real good teams going at it.
“A pre-season game is all about getting what you want out of it – like trying different combinations and stuff.
“Full credit to Devonport Services, they played really well. They are really well organised and defensively they were sound.
“But we have said good teams will grasp it at the end and we were really pleased that we kept in the game and that we were able to nick it at the end. But, ultimately, it is a pre-season game and it is just important that we get our systems and our plays right. I thought it was a really good run out.
“I think the game was a little bit stop-start at times, so I think it was hard for both teams to get into full flow with their attacking strategies, which makes it easier for the defence systems. And both teams’ defensive systems were pretty strong.”
Tripcony has taken on the director of rugby role at Cross-in-Hand this summer from Paul Setter, who stepped down after successfully doing the job for 10 years.
“The director of rugby is in charge of all the club’s rugby so there are lots of different things,” said Tripcony. “I am still finding my feet a bit and learning as I go, but I have had great support from the club.
“With my role outside rugby in education, it was something that really appealed to me so when the opportunity came up it was something I wanted to grasp with both hands.”
* Prior to Friday night’s match both sides held a minute’s silence for the victims of Thursday’s shootings in Plymouth. Services had been training in Keyham that fateful evening.
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