SOUTH WEST PREMIER
IVYBRIDGE were unable to return with any points from their second trip within a week to Weston-super-Mare.
Last Saturday, the Bridgers had come home with a bonus point in a 39-24 defeat to newly-promoted Hornets, but this week they came back empty handed from a 21-7 loss to Weston.
But director of rugby Jamie Tripcony felt the team had progressed from their display seven days earlier.
“We were quite disappointed after last weekend (against the Hornets) but the guys regrouped really well during the week with two strong training nights and it was a much-improved performance, which was pleasing,” said Tripcony.
“Everything we worked on during the week did come together.
“We had to defend for long periods of time and the guys really brought a good intensity and line-speed to our defence. But the thing is when you are defending for 90 per cent of the game it does take a lot of energy out of you.
“Full credit to Weston, they really took their chances when they did present themselves.
“But we have really progressed this week, yet we fully understand that we are not where we want to be. So for us it is again about regrouping this week and getting as much as we possibly can out of training and making sure we are fully prepared for our first home game of the season.”
Charlie Briant scored Ivybridge’s only try at Weston, with Matt Grieveson adding the conversion.
Devonport Services were without a match in South West One this weekend. They should have been playing Stroud, but the Gloucestershire side withdrew from the league last month due to a lack of players.
ANDREW SCHUTTKACKER scored a try with the last play of the game to secure Tavistock a 26-26 draw with North Tawton at Sandy Park on Saturday.
Tavistock, missing a number of key players, had been 26-14 down with 10 minutes to go but finished strongly to claim three points.
It could even have been five had Jack Easton kicked the tough conversion, but his effort just missed.
Both Tavistock and North Tawton had won their opening matches and they produced a good contest on Saturday which indicates that both clubs could have good seasons.
Tavistock started strongly but were unable to convert their early pressure into points and on 15 minutes the visitors went in front when powerful winger Tom Chisholm crossed in the left corner and Gary Sizmur brilliantly converted.
The hosts equalised on 28 minutes after North Tawton dropped the ball while attacking and fly-half Easton kicked it forward and won the race to pick it up and score under the posts. He also added the conversion.
However, North Tawton, with former Okehampton captain Tom McGratton influential, responded with a try from flanker Ryan Gross from a line-out move. Sizmur again converted.
It got better for the visitors who took a 21-7 half-time lead when Chisholm scored his second in first half injury-time, again converted by Sizmur.
Tavistock missed a penalty at the start of the second period, but cut the gap on 53 minutes when Josh O’Neill went over from close range and Easton added the extras.
Yet in a cracking game, the visitors responded straight away with a great try down the left wing by Jordan Corthwaite.
Tavistock brought on fresh legs and really turned up the pressure in the final quarter.
They closed the gap to one score when replacement Alex Lewandowski crossed under the posts and then with time up fellow replacement Schuttkacker, who had really made his presence felt after coming on, popped up to score and tie the game.
Afterwards Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy said: “The lads definitely showed a lot of spirit to comeback like they did.
“We did suffer a few more injuries but hopefully they are not too serious, but all the lads who came off the bench certainly added to the team.
“We do appear to have some strength in depth now.”
He added: “I thought we probably gave them too much ball in the line-out, but the scrum went well.
“Overall we were pretty good. Our line speed at times was a bit slow, which helped them, but when we did get our line speed up it did slow them down a tad.
“Both coaches would want the win, but I think it was a fair result.
I’m just glad I don’t have a full head of hair as after the last two weeks I would have been as bald as a coot.”
Plymstock Albion Oaks also had to settle for a draw at the weekend. They tied 15-15 with Withycombe away.
They had been leading but Withycombe scored a late try to share the points.
Jack Green and Mike Hunt scored Oaks’ tries, with Al Murray kicking a conversion and a penalty. Matt Rye and Ben Bolwell crossed for Withycombe, who had Will Cooper kicking their other points.
Oaks player-coach Aiden Taylor said: “It was two points dropped. We came away and we were all a bit deflated as we should have won that game.
“It is just our off-load game – we are trying to throw things but knocking it on. We must have had 30 scrums.
“We dominated the set-piece, but we just couldn’t click and then Luke Kenny, our nine, got injured so I had to go to nine and it was all a bit disjointed.”
He added: “We have got three points out of two away games, so that is a bit of a positive, but for us, this felt like a loss, and that’s no disrespect to Withycombe. They were in the game, but we just didn’t take our chances. We had about 75 per cent possession, but didn’t really do much with it.”
Taylor had particular praise for try scorer Hunt.
“Mike Hunt was exceptional,” he said. “He was a bit worried about coming back playing after his leg break before but he’s really taking his game on and he loves it. He was our man-of-the-match by far. He made loads of breaks.
“We are really enjoying having him as he’s so good. I think he’s really enjoying his rugby and I hope he can get a full season. He showed this week just how good he is.”
Saltash remain pointless after two matches after they went down 42-15 to the Pirates Amateurs in their opening home match on Saturday.
The Ashes, who had lost to North Tawton in their first game, were able to welcome back the likes of Lewis Wells and Ryan Rayner, but the Pirates also had a stronger team this week, which included former Plymouth Albion and Cornish Pirates star Rhodri McAtee.
McAtee was on the scoresheet, while former Camborne fly-half Rhys Brownfield had a good day with a try, three penalties and four conversions.
Liskeard-Looe also remain winless after they went down 38-8 away at Torquay Athletic.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
OPMs enjoyed a second successive derby win after they beat Plymouth Argaum 38-20 at Bickleigh Down on Saturday.
The previous week they had overcome Old Techs 33-10.
At half-time it was 3-3 on Saturday. Argaum then went 15-10 ahead after the interval but OPMs finished strongly and scored four tries in the final 15 minutes.
Argaum had gone ahead with a penalty on five minutes, which was cancelled out by one for OPMs seven minutes later.
After that there was no more scoring until the 46th minute when full-back Fred Smale scored a converted try for OPMs.
But Argaum were then awarded a penalty try before Karl Sullivan bagged one to put the hosts in front.
However, OPMs then got a penalty try themselves – their third in two games – before Alex Jewell, Pete Regan and Smale crossed for further touch-downs.
Mitch Coles did add a late score for Argaum, but it was not enough to secure them any points, much to the frustration of coach Brett Stroud.
“We were winning and there were just 18 minutes left on the clock but we couldn’t see the game out,” said Stroud. “I thought we were the better team until then. It was painful.
“The only thing that let us down was game-management – we didn’t kill the game off, we made silly mistakes and didn’t keep the ball.
“But I thought our back-row of Mitch Coles, Karl Sullivan and Tom Holliday were outstanding.
“I thought our forwards did really well, as did Billy Stockwell at nine and Sheps (Tom Shephard) at 10, but Sheps had to go to work. We got five points ahead and he had to go to work, which isn’t ideal. I thought he and Billy were running the show at nine and 10, so we lost a bit of balance there, but they are not full-time professionals so you have to understand it.
“Overall on reflection we were much better than the week before and I think if we’d had that team at New Cross we would have beaten them.”
OPM coach Rick Orkney said: “It was a dreadful first half – both teams were rubbish in that first half. The referee was also a bit stop-start so there was no continuity.
“Something would happen, then there would be mistake and then a penalty, then mistake and penalty again and so on. It was 3-3 at half-time and definitely was a half to forget – it aged me by 10 years.
“But we made a couple of changes and they went well and we just played a lot better second half.
“I think the scoreline probably flattered us a little bit. Fred Smale scored a couple, one was a chip-and-chase and he got a bit of a lucky bounce which could have gone either way but it bounced into his hands.
“We are obviously very happy with the win, but we have a lot of improving to do.”
Tamar Saracens are off the mark after they beat Exeter Saracens 18-10 at home on Saturday.
Flanker Jack Raby put Tamar ahead before Exeter responded with a penalty.
Tommy Pullinger then kicked two penalties before player-coach Davy McGregor came off the bench for the second week running to score and put his side 18-3 ahead. But Exeter did score late on to close the gap.
Tamar Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge said: “We got the win so we are really happy with that.
“We ground it out. They did score in the last minute, but I thought we controlled the game from start to finish really.
“But, it is the same old thing, in the final 22 we lost our heads a little bit and didn’t convert our chances.”
He added: “We had seven players missing from last week but still had a full squad so we are getting that strength in depth.
“It was just that same thing as last week in the final quarter. We were within five metres three or four times but we knocked it on a couple of times. It is just about decision making, but it is a win and we needed that to get the boys’ moral up.
“We are happy but there are still things to work on, however, I think they will click in a minute.”
Old Techs returned home from Totnes with two points but felt they should have had five after more than matching their hosts despite playing for 70 minutes with 14 men.
Techs had a man sent off after just 10 minutes but were 10 points up going into the final few minutes but eventually lost 31-27.
“It was a much-improved performance from last week, which is what I asked them for and which they gave,” said coach Shaun Bedford-Smith. “We did come away with two points, but we are thinking we should have had five.
“I was really happy with the response of the players from last week as we were very poor against OPMs. This week training was good. We scored four tries and were 10 points up with 10 minutes to go and we just ran out of steam as we played 70 minutes with 14 men. When you put that amount of effort in for that amount of time a few gaps are going to appear late on.
“The result was disappointing but I was happy with the performance. I thought we deserved the win and I’m not just saying that because I’m the coach. But it was a brilliant game of rugby with tries galore.
“Totnes is never an easy place to go as they have a big pack and a lot of experience, but there is a disappointment that we didn’t come away with the win.
“It is one of them where I’m disappointed but not disappointed. There was a load of positives from this week, whereas there weren’t many from last week.”
Techs, with new signing Will Booth and young prop Harley Adams impressing, went 12-0 up with tries by Nick Dorrian and Matt Simmonds. Totnes came back but then Dan Pullen scored two tremendous tries to put his side back in the driving seat. However, the visitors just could not hold on for the five points. Adams did get the man of the match on his first league start in Techs’ front-row.
In the Devon Merit Table, Devonport High School for Old Boys opened their season with a narrow 5-0 home win over OPM II at Brickfields.
The Sharks started strongly and they scored what turned out to be the winning score early when Scott Pearson drove over the line from the back of a ruck.
The OPMs Jesters did put their hosts under a lot of pressure but DHSOB produced some great scrambled defence to keep them out.
After the interval, Alex Buckley narrowly missed with a penalty effort before the visitors finished strongly. The Jesters had a great chance late on but knocked the ball on right on the line.
DHSOB coach Dan Pengelly said afterwards: “It was great to have rugby back and to see the lads thriving at out new venue after such a long time out.
“Although we were very well prepared and came out strong at the start, poor decision making meant that we were very lucky to win the match.
“Our strength was our ball carrying from forward players James Andress, Dylan Lamerton and Jamie Johnathon, who continuously put down the hammer throughout the match.
“Fortunately through some solid tackling and effective game management from Alex Buckley we were able to secure the win for our first game.
“We have to make better decisions, however, if we are going to challenge the top teams in the Merit Table. Man of the match went to young Finlay Nicol who was playing outside centre and made some great rescue runs and attacking plays.”
St Columba & Torpoint will have taken plenty of positives from their opening league game of the season as they lost 36-21 to Tavistock II, who had beaten Plympton Victoria the week before.
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