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RUGBY REPORTS: Agonising narrow away defeats for Ivybridge and Services

IVYBRIDGE suffered last-gasp heartbreak on Saturday as they went down 43-41 in a thrilling South West Premier clash at Old Redcliffians.

The Bridgers were 41-36 up with time up in Bristol, but Old Reds, who have come down from National Two South, scored under the posts with the final play of the game.

It was Ivybridge’s third consecutive one-score defeat.

“It was very close,” said Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony.

“And to have it taken away with the last play of the game was tough to take, especially after all the hard work the guys had put in.

“We had really dug deep to get back into it after going a few scores down and then took the lead and stretched it a bit. To then lose it was disappointing.”

Old Reds had only lost to the top two sides going into Saturday’s game and were unbeaten at home this season.

“Any away game is tough in this league – the results have shown that,” said Tripcony.

“We knew how tough the task was going to be and we did get two points, but when you are in that position during the game it is frustrating.

“The guys put in a really big shift there so they will be gutted.

“But we have to take the positives from the game and our performances have progressed, although we are not exactly where we want to be.

“The guys worked so hard for one another. You could not question any effort and we played some really decent stuff and scored 41 points away from home.

“We are certainly getting there, but it is a hard one to take.”

Cameron Setter scored two tries for Ivybridge, with fellow backs Damon Akerman and Archie Bryan also crossing, as well as lock George Wilson. Matt Grieveson kicked five conversions and two penalties.

SOUTH WEST ONE

DEVONPORT Services suffered a shock first defeat of the season as they were narrowly beaten 18-17 away at Crediton.

Services had been the last team unbeaten in the league after overcoming previous leaders Chew Valley last week. They had also comfortably seen off St Austell, Thornbury and Bridgwater, but came unstuck at Blagdon, a ground that has proved an unhappy place to visit recently for them.

“The problem is every time we go there the players are talking about it being problem place so straight away the mind-set is not right,” said Services’ Stuart Busfield

“We opened up on fire and scored an early try that would grace the best of best games. It was an outstanding bit of rugby.

“But then Crediton adjusted really quickly as they saw where our strengths were and they went to a tight five/eight game. And, to be honest, we then struggled.

“We found some of the decisions difficult and we didn’t manage that internally very well.

“I don’t think we got the rub of the green at any scrum. They were more streetwise than us there and we didn’t adapt well enough.

“However, we came back into the game and took the lead and it looked like we were going to go from strength to strength and score a couple more tries, but then we made a couple of poor decisions.”

He added: “But, fair play to Crediton, they are a proper rugby club who really care about playing at home. They really put their bodies on the line and I take my hat off to any team that does that. The passion they have when they play at home needs to be applauded.”

Services now have a week to stew on the loss as next Saturday is a blank weekend.

“I am actually glad about that,” said Busfield. “I would have been frustrated if we were on a winning run and then had a break, but what it will allow us to do is soak up that disappointment that we feel.

“This might be the best thing that happens to us this season. The players and coaching staff are feeling the hurt and I’m sure they don’t want to feel that again.”

Scrum-half Dylan Daley had given Services an early lead by finishing off a great team try which started in their own 22. Devonport produced a serious of good off-loads before Daley ran in from 22-metres and West converted.

However, Crediton came back with a try and a penalty to lead 8-7 at the break.

The game was tight all the way through. Devonport captain Matt Gregory, who had a big game at number eight, got his team back on the front foot in the second half but they could not push on and had to make do with just a losing bonus point.

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

IT WAS not a good day for the Plymouth Combination sides in the Cornwall/Devon League as they were all beaten.

Tavistock, who had only lost once before the weekend – away at the Pirates Amateurs, suffered a bit of a surprise as they were beaten 17-5 away at Withycombe.

The Moorlands, with key backs George Hillson, Ethan Lamerton and Rhys Davies all missing with injuries, made a terrible start in east Devon and found themselves 17-0 down after just 28 minutes.

Although they prevented Withycombe from scoring any points for the rest of the game they were only able to add a late try by Richard Cann.

“We were poor,” said player-coach Hammy Kerswill. “An early penalty and two tries from broken play saw us go 17-0 down at half-time going up the slope.

“Our set-piece functioned at around 85 per cent but we looked lacklustre in attack with limited options.

“Too many penalties saw us give up good possession, but, fair play to Withy, their line speed and slowing up of the breakdown was very good.”

Late on Tavistock did look like they might get a second try to at least get a bonus point but they wasted a good opportunity.

Although Saltash’s wait for a league win goes on, they will have taken positives from their second half performance in a 47-20 away defeat to Topsham.

The hosts dominated the first period and went 33-10 ahead with Will Loughton, who ended up getting four tries, proving the big danger man.

Saltash had Ryan Simmons and Ryan Cruickshanks scoring first half tries for them.

The second half was more even and the visitors added to their tally with a Kieran Down penalty and excellent try by Andrew Walsh.

Plymstock Albion Oaks’ inconsistent season continues as they lost 29-7 away at Torquay Athletic.

Oaks had ended Topsham’s unbeaten start the previous week at Horsham Fields, but their away form is proving a bit of struggle. They still have not won on their travels this term.

Their only try on Saturday came courtesy of player-coach Aiden Taylor, with Al Murray adding the conversion.

Liskeard-Looe narrowly missed out on claiming their first win of the season. They went down 14-13 away at fellow strugglers Hayle.

DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE

TAMAR Saracens and Old Techs look like they might have to play again next week after their joint league and Lockie Cup game on Saturday was abandoned midway through the second half due to a neck injury suffered by Techs’ teenage prop Harley Adams.

The game was proving an entertaining affair. Sarries had gone 14-0 up with breakaway tries under the sticks by Fraser Tatchell and Scott Sheldon.

But Techs came right back with a try from a charge down by new flanker Ben Hockey and a conversion and two penalties.

The game was 14-13 and that was how it stayed until just on the 60th minute mark when Tamar Saracens got a five-metre scrum in front of the posts.  The hosts got the push on and Adams went down. The referee awarded a penalty try to Sarries but Adams did not get up and was in a lot of pain and the medical teams decided quickly that an ambulance needed to be called. It was later confirmed that the 18-year-old had suffered a slipped disc, a dislocated his shoulder and suffered soft tissue damage.

The referee told the teams that 60 minutes had not quite been completed on his watch and so it looks like the game will have to be replayed.

“I don’t think it would have bothered me if he had called it and said that’s the result as I was more worried about our injured player and whether he was going to be okay,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith.

Tamar Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge said immediately afterward: “Fingers cross the injured guy is all right.”

Up until the injury, it had been quite an enthralling game that looked like it could go either way.

“I think it was a good game,” added Bedford-Smith. “Normally these games can be close but it was quite an open game.

“I thought we started the first 10 minutes really well and were controlling it, but then they scored a breakaway try from a loose kick – it was a good try – but then they got another and all of a sudden we are two tries down.

“But we got back to within a point. There are some parts of our game that are really good, but other parts are a bit loose and we can tighten up on.”

Lethbridge added: “We went 14-0 up but let them back into it and it was 14-13 at half-time.

“Second half we came out blazing, it was really good. We got that penalty try at the scrum and then he blew it.

“Second half our attitude and our set-piece was much better.

“At 14-0 we went to sleep. We said to them at the end that if we have to play them again next week we have to do it from the off and not go to sleep.”

The big surprise was that Billy Evans played for Techs, despite being told he would be out until Christmas after suffering a nasty ankle injury last month at Salcombe that left him in hospital.

Evans had stitches taken out on the morning of the game and decided he was fit enough to play, even though he did not appear to be able to kick the ball.

OPMs turned on the style second half to beat struggling Torrington 45-3 at King George V Playing Fields.

Torrington, still looking for the win, were quite competitive first half and caused OPMs a few problems with some strong runs. But in the second period they ran out steam as a few players got injured and the hosts took advantage.

OPMs got a great start with a try by Alex Jewell, which Sam Matts converted.

But Torrington, who had a couple of promising youngsters, hit back with a penalty by Jamie Sands.

Lewis King showed good speed and strength to score OPMs’ second try in the right corner, but then the hosts had to wait to the last minute of the half to add a third with Shaun Grundy touching down to make it 21-5 at the break.

OPMs got their bonus point try in the 56th minute courtesy of Mark Hardie and then they finished with a flourish. Fred Smale added to his impressive tally for the season with two more before Chris Harmer completed the scoring.

Torrington had agreed to switch the match so that OPMs could hold a festival of rugby, with their seconds playing at 1pm and with Matt Price and Mark Ward finishing their 850-mile Tour de Prem cycling challenge to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association in memory of former club chairman Simon Adams.

Plymouth Argaum had their usual away day struggles, going down 50-10 away at South Molton.

Argaum had got off the mark the previous week with an impressive 39-5 home win over Salcombe, but they were forced to travel to north Devon with a much different team.

“It was just the same old, with not the players available we needed,” admitted coach Brett Stroud. “We had a strong backline, but a makeshift pack.”

Adi Hitchins, the fifth generation of his family to be involved with Argaum, got his first try for the club on Saturday.

“He is a very good player – a strong runner with the ball in hand,” said Stroud.

Cheyenne Edwards kicked the rest of Argaum’s points at South Molton.

In the Devon Merit Table, Plymouth Fijians got their first league win as they ran out 87-7 winners over Plympton Victoria at St Mary’s.

“When they are on form there isn’t much you can do,” admitted Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt. “It was like trying to catch ghosts. As soon as you make any mistake they are off.”

The Fijians scored 15 tries in total with Lemeki getting four and Shawn Mucunibtu bagging a hat-trick and a conversion.

There were two tries for Atu Kobula and further touch-downs for debutant Apete Badui, who also kicked five conversions, Charles Pautua, Ben Turua, Jacob Doyle, Ian Stickland and player-coach Rab Seru.

Plymouth Fijians’ Mike Freeman said: “Plympton Victoria were plucky and really kept at it, but we were just too strong and quick for them.”

DHSOB battled hard against a University of Plymouth side at Brickfields on Saturday but went down 46-14 to the students.

The game was level at 14-14 early in the second half but the students, who had a large matchday squad, turned up the pace as the game went on.

Connor Brooker had scored the Sharks’ first try after good play by scrum-half Del Ingleson and Rob Hall added the conversion. Ingelson then scored their second by beating two defenders and ploughing through the visiting full-back. Hall, who was the Old Boys’ man of the match, again converted.

DHSOB head coach Dan Pengelly said: “Our lads put in a huge shift against a younger and fitter side.

“The scoreline didn’t reflect the match at all until the last quarter.”

He added: “Massive performances from new signings Lewis Hardy and Ryan Tunnicliffe ensured we can hold our heads high after the fixture.

“Fitness won the day and our squad have been fighting the dreaded lurgy that has been going around Plymouth which left us slightly under prepared.”

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