IVYBRIDGE showed how dangerous they can be in attack as they secured a much-needed 56-31 win over Royal Wootton Bassett at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
It was only the Bridgers’ second victory of the season and followed three heartbreaking one-score defeats.
“What we were looking for was to just get the win,” said Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony.
“Our attack really flowed well – we were quite direct at times and added a few new elements to our game, which was pleasing to see.
“But one of our work-on areas is our discipline. We are giving away penalties and that means we lose possession and territory, but we are always going to have work-ons.
“However, we were really pleased to get five points.”
Ivybridge have scored 97 points in their last two games, having 43-41 at Old Redcliffians in their last game.
On Saturday, backs Ben Watts (2), Archie Bryan (2), Harrison Legge, Charlie Briant and Matt Grieveson all got tries, to go with one from forward George Wilson. Grieveson added five conversions and two penalties.
However, it did take them a while to totally kill off a spirited Royal Wootton Bassett side.
“It was a good game of rugby,” said Tripcony.
“We started really well and got a couple of scores ahead but they just kept chipping away with penalties.
“We then got a bit of momentum and scored a couple of tries.
“But at the start of the second half we slipped off and they ran in for a try with the second play of the second half and that got their tails up. They came back at us, but towards the end we made sure we killed the game off.
“We played some great rugby in the right areas to pull away from them.”
SOUTH WEST ONE WEST
DEVONPORT Services produced an impressive second half performance to overcome league newcomers Wellington 45-21 and maintain their long unbeaten run at the Rectory.
Services have not lost at home since April 2019, but they looked to be in trouble at one point on Saturday as they trailed 21-7 and Wellington were pressing for a fourth try.
But Devonport showed character to keep them out and pull level at the break and then they took control of the match after the interval with two tries in the opening six minutes of the half.
They ended up scoring four second half tries and, crucially, denied Wellington one in the final 10 minutes as they pressed hard for a bonus point.
Services head coach Mike Lewis said: “We were all right in the first half, but just switched off at a couple of moments and made some uncharacteristic errors, but the lines they (Wellington) ran to score a few of those tries were absolutely fantastic.
“We were expecting them to keep it a bit tight and then go wide, but in the first half we just didn’t defend the way we realistically should do.
“But in the second half, particularly in that last 10 minutes we showed how we usually defend. We kept them out.
“They were just one place below us in the league beforehand and on similar points and sometimes you just have to be ruthless like that and say ‘actually we are not going to give you a bonus point’ as that one point could make a difference at the end of the season.
“But I think the wind did play a big part.
“They didn’t really kick much in the first half, and we didn’t really but when we did it gave us a lot of territory and put us on the front foot.”
Services have not been that far behind this season. Their only defeat was a 18-17 loss at Crediton and that game was nip-and-tuck all the way through.
They had also only conceded three tries in total from their previous three home games against St Austell, Thornbury and Chew Valley, so Lewis got to really see his side’s character on Saturday, especially as they were missing a number of key backs and were without a recognised scrum-half.
“At home we have that resilient nature,” said Lewis. “Even when Joe Daly went in the bin at the end there was still that resilience to keep grafting and it is fantastic to see.
“We were quietly confident at half-time that if we just adapted our defence and were a bit more structured in our attack we could beat them.”
Lewis was particularly pleased with lock Matt Scott and Sam Fincham, who came into the team on Saturday and scored tries, and to have Joe Daly back from travelling.
“Matt Scott made his debut and had a fantastic performance,” said Lewis.
“Sam Fincham was one of the chaps that got called up on the morning because we had to make a couple of changes and he did exactly what we asked him to do.
“Joe Daley was also due to play in the twos but got called up and it is great to see him back after two years in Australia. He adds so much around the changing rooms.”
Services did make a dream start on Saturday with Matt Neyle, playing at full-back in the absence of Rhys Williams, scoring after the hosts turned Wellington over at a scrum and Richard West put in a pinpoint kick for the speedy back.
But then Wellington, who are coached by former Plymouth Albion boss Graham Dawe – although he was not at the game, enjoyed a tremendous 10 minutes, scoring three tries and not letting Services get the ball. Ash Harvey, Ryan Marke and George Hodgson got their tries to put them 21-7 ahead.
Devonport got back into the game when Wellington kicked the ball to them and they ran it back hard with hooker Sam Bennett making an impressive break before off-loading to Scott, who ran in for a try on his debut.
However, Wellington, with former Tavistock scrum-half Dan Goldstone in their side, looked like they were about to get a fourth try on 32 minutes but they were penalised right on the line and Services accepted the let off.
On the stroke of half-time fly-half West scored under the posts to level a quality and entertaining opening 40 minutes at 21-21.
And right at the start of the second period, Devonport got their fourth try. Wellington were penalised at an attacking scrum and West, who had big game, pumped the ball deep into the visitors’ half. From it, Services drove well and the influential Bennett got the ball down to give his side the lead.
That was followed almost instantly by a try in the right corner by fit-again Tom Richards, which West, who had made a good break in the build up, brilliantly converted.
Wellington struggled with their restarts and drop-outs second half with the wind so found it hard to get territory or possession and two tries in four minutes by replacement Fincham sealed the game.
However, the visitors did not give up on a bonus point and threw everything at Services in the final 10 minutes but the hosts refused to let them over their try line again.
SALTASH secured their first win of the season in style on Saturday by hammering high-flying Torquay Athletic 43-17 at Moorlands Lane.
The Ashes have been improving over the last few weeks and had come agonisingly close to beating Tavistock and Withycombe.
But it all came right for them on Saturday thanks to a storming second half display against a team that had started the day in second place with just one other defeat to their name.
However, the game did not start well for Saltash as Torquay scored a converted pushover try in the opening two minutes, but the hosts hit back with a try by Ryan Cruickshanks.
Torquay took a 10-5 half-time lead with a penalty, but the second half was nearly all Saltash.
The home side got a cracking start with a try by Kieran Down, which he converted, to put his team in front for the first time.
Saltash were then awarded a penalty try for a high tackle before number eight Steve Hillman went over for a converted try on 55 minutes to make it 26-10.
The confidence really started to flow then for Saltash who were fully stretching the Tics with some great rugby.
Two tries in two minutes made the game safe for the hosts – first, Lewis Woolaway crossed the whitewash before Cruickshanks added his second to make it 36-10.
Kieran Down completed the scoring for the home team before Torquay claimed a late consolation effort.
Plymstock Albion Oaks were also comfortable winners on Saturday as they saw off Veor 35-18 at Horsham Fields.
Oaks, like Saltash and Devonport Services, also did the damage in the second half.
The hosts were only 17-10 ahead at the interval, but they had been playing uphill first half, but they pulled away after the interval.
“When we play at home and have a half decent team out we are okay,” said Oaks’ player-coach Aiden Taylor.
“In the first half we just kept kicking it back up the hill to pin them back. That seemed to work and then in the second half we played a bit more expansive. We scored six tries in all, which was good.”
Taylor, who played fly-half on Saturday, added: “We know it is hard to play up the hill at our place so when we were winning at half-time we felt the game should be ours going down the hill second half.
“I don’t think we were ever going to lose that game, it was just a matter of how many we were going to score.
“We are good at home, but we need to win away at some point. We need to get that monkey off our backs.”
He added: “This week we played everyone who trained. If people didn’t train this week they got dropped.
“Jay Warren, who took up rugby during lockdown, started at six and he was immense – he tackled everything.
“We have given people chances. Duncan Bibby at is only 18 years-old but played centre and did a really solid job.
“Our first team, second team and colts all won so it was a good day for the club.”
Joe Brearley and Kieran Jamieson both got two tries for Oaks, while Mike Hunt scored their try of the game and Joel Moran got their final score.
Injury-hit Tavistock had an afternoon to forget as they were hammered 72-0 at home by Topsham.
It was Tavistock’s first home defeat of the season and they just did not have an answer to Topsham’s pace.
Liskeard-Looe came so close to getting their first win of the season on Saturday. They were agonisingly beaten 5-3 by Withycombe, who scored a try 12 minutes from time through Chris Gibbons.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
TAMAR Saracens narrowly edged out city rivals Plymouth Argaum 17-12 in a tight encounter at Bickleigh Down.
Sarries, playing downhill first half, went ahead relatively early on with a penalty try, but Argaum pulled it back to 7-5 at the break with a touch-down by Dan Smith.
After the interval Smith got a second, with Cheyenne Edwards adding the conversion.
Joey Pook put Sarries back in front with a try from a catch-and-drive move, which Tommy Pullinger converted before he added a penalty to make the game safe.
“It was a win – I don’t think I can say a lot more than that really,” said Tamar Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge.
“We started off quite well going downhill. We got a penalty try and I thought ideal we can kick-on, but we didn’t. We made silly handling mistakes and we let Tom Holliday and Dan Smith run quite a lot.
“To be fair, Argaum had a decent side out and they spoiled a lot of our attacking plays. It was frustrating to watch, but the positive was that we won.”
OPMs ran out comfortable 57-21 winners over struggling Buckfastleigh at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.
OPMs scored four unanswered tries in the first half but after the interval Buckfastleigh did make more of a game of it.
Tom Gigg put the Old Boys ahead with a try on six minutes which was then followed by two by influential full-back Fred Smale and one by Callum Morgan.
Gigg got his second after the interval, while top try scorer Smale completed his hat-trick.
Callum Voisey, Harry Laity and Richard Life then went over for touch-downs for Buckfastleigh as they enjoyed a 15-minute purple patch, but Pete Regan and then two tries by James Robinson completed the scoring for OPMs, who stay third in the table.
Old Techs were left without a match after bottom side Torrington handed them a walkover.
In the Devon Merit Table, Plympton Victoria were left a bit frustrated after losing 22-19 at home to Plymstock Albion Oaks II.
Plym Vic had two tries disallowed – one because the referee did not see the grounding and one because of an off-the-ball incident.
“I think if we’d had an extra 10 minutes we would have pipped them,” said Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt.
“We just let ourselves down in the 10 minutes after half-time. They scored quickly and that left us chasing the game.
“But overall our defence was pretty good and the drills we had worked on with the backs came off. Our first try was a training ground move.
“It was an enjoyable game, but a little bit of edge as well.”
Ryan Markwick, Gareth McLaggan and Josh Pinder scored Plym Vic’s tries.
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