IVYBRIDGE made it three wins in a row by beating Devon rivals Brixham 35-30 in an entertaining South West Premier game at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday.
After trailing 13-10 at half-time, Ivybridge came out for the second half flying and scored three unanswered tries and a penalty in the opening 14 minutes to well and truly take control of the game.
However, Brixham did come back in the final 10 minutes and scored two late tries to set up a really tense and nervous final couple of minutes where Ivybridge were reduced to 14 men.
Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony admitted the final few minutes were nerve-wracking after looking to have the game firmly in the bag.
“It is what you get with a local derby – you just don’t know what is going to happen,” said Tripcony.
“We were disappointed with our first half. We didn’t feel like we got into our rhythm so we talked about that at half-time and put a few things right.
“We knew we had to start the second half big and we did that, but ill-discipline just let them back into the game and Brixham took those opportunities which made for an interesting end to the game.
“But we are really pleased with five points. It was a huge game for us.”
Ivybridge really turned on the style in the opening 20 minutes of the second half with their backs producing some great moves.
“We just got into our rhythm – got our plays going that were missing slightly in the first half,” said Tripcony. “We tried a few different things first half and they didn’t quite come off for us, so we went back to what we knew. It shows that what we know works for us.
“We also had a bit more hunger to carry and get over that gain-line and that got us through that 20 minutes where we were able to get a few scores on the board.”
After three wins of the bounce, Ivybridge will be disappointed that there is a break next weekend.
“That’s out of our control,” said Tripcony. “We have got some nice momentum but we can only worry about things we can control – and that’s our training this week and the week after.”
Ivybridge opened the scoring in the ninth minute when Matt Grieveson kicked a penalty, but that was cancelled out by one by Brixham full-back Joel Ashworth.
The hosts did turn up the pressure looking for the game’s opening try and they came agonisingly close to scoring in the 16th minute before Brixham were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes.
But going a man down seemed to galvanise the Fishermen into action and they scored a good try through Jamie Hext, which Ashworth converted.
Grieveson then missed a penalty to reduce the gap and Ivybridge were just making too many uncharacteristic mistakes like kicking the ball straight out of making forward passes.
However, they did level the contest up in the 34th minute when prop Jon Morgan scored from close range after Ivybridge turned Brixham over at a set-piece in their own 22 after Cameron Setter had just been pushed into touch a metre away from the try-line.
But parity did not last long as Ivybridge gave away a penalty at the re-start and Ashworth kicked to edge Brixham 13-10 in front, which was how it started until the break.
Ivybridge could not have got a better start to the second half as straight from kick-off influential centre Charlie Briant went over in the clubhouse corner after some great play.
And four minutes later flanker Sam Furse went over for try number three.
Ivybridge kept the pressure on and had two or three chances to score a fourth try before they got a penalty in front of the posts that Grieveson kicked to make it 25-13.
And two minutes later it got better when Ben Watts scored after Brixham lost a line-out.
After conceding 20 unanswered points, Brixham did regroup and Ivybridge had lock George Wilson yellow carded and while he was off the field, former Plymouth Albion back Matt Crosscombe pulled a try back for the visitors.
Ivybridge, though, responded instantly with a second try by Briant in the right corner after a great break by Tom Scoles on the left and then some brilliant passing across the line. That made it 35-18.
Crosscombe got a second try to reduce that to 35-23 and then with five minutes to go former Ivybridge forward Scott Puleston went over from close range and Ashworth converted to suddenly liven up the large crowd up.
Brixham threw everything at Ivybridge looking for a late winner. The hosts had Matt Finn yellow carded for stopping a quick tap penalty, but with time up the visitors tried a kick to the corner that Ivybridge collected and ran the ball out of the play to secure the full five points in the joint league and cup match.
SOUTH WEST ONE (WEST)
DEVONPORT Services suffered only their second defeat of the season as they were beaten 27-12 by fourth-placed Lydney at Regentsholme.
The visitors were leading 12-7 in the Forest of Dean at half-time thanks to tries by backs Matt Neyle and Dylan Daley, but the game completely changed after the break.
“We dominated the first half and were really good, but we came out in the second half and things went against us and they (Lydney) gained momentum,” said fly-half Richard West.
“We had a try disallowed and then they just killed the game off really.
“It was disappointing considering our first half.
“And it was very frustrating that we didn’t even get a bonus point. We went there to win and our first half performance showed we could win there.
“In the second half decisions went against us and unfortunately they came away with it.
“It is always disappointing to lose a game, but it is a hard place to go and when things go against you it makes it even harder.”
The loss was Devonport’s second in a row on their travels after narrowly losing at Crediton.
“We want to go away and win games and our first half performance showed we can do that,” said West.
“We have a week off now, but the twos have got a game and they had a big win this week so there are guys putting their hands up.
“It would be nice to get out there and go again next week but at the same time it gives us an extra week to put this right.”
West did have praise for youngsters Matty Richards and Toby Lean, who made their debuts at Lydney having come through the club’s colts set-up, and for scrum-half Dylan Daley who claimed the man of the match award on his 50th appearance for the first team.
“Dylan Daley was outstanding,” said West. “He has come through the colts as well and been outstanding every week. He has become a quality player.”
TAVISTOCK returned to winning ways after back-to-back defeats as they beat Cornish side Veor 43-14 at Sandy Park.
The hosts had lost 19-7 away at Torquay last week and 72-0 to Topsham in their last home outing.
But they restored some pride for that heavy loss by running in seven tries in front of their own supporters on Saturday.
They did the damage in the second half. They only led 19-7 at the break and sixth-place Veor cut that to 19-14 at the start of the second period before Tavistock eventually blew them away.
Hooker Jack Lewis and centre Conor Packwood both got two tries, with number eight Andrew Schuttkacker, flanker Martin Budden and centre Jake Le Gassick also crossing the whitewash. Fly-half Jack Easton kicked four conversions.
“The lads certainly turned it around from the last couple of weeks,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy. “They were pretty bloody good at times. Our support play was outstanding.
“There’s a few lads starting to come back from injury and it is making a difference.
“Everyone put in a decent game – all the lads really stood up to be counted this week, so I’m quite a happy coach.
“It was good and it is just a shame we are not playing next week.”
Plymstock Albion Oaks were also happy after continuing their 100 per cent winning record at home with a 27-22 victory over Cullompton at Horsham Fields.
Oaks ran in five tries, with Corey Jamieson scoring the decisive one. He ended the afternoon with two, to go with further touch-downs from winger Reegan Spencer, number eight Ryan McKibbin and flanker Kieran Jamieson.
“It shouldn’t really have been that tight,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor. “But it felt like every time we tried to compete at a breakdown we got a penalty against us and their kicker was smashing them over.
“At half-time it was 15-3, but they came back into it second half and were in the lead at one point.”
He added: “We have won all our home games but lost all our away games, which is a bit of a joke.
“Looking at the fixtures we have coming up, we have a week off, which will do us some good, then we have an away game at Hayle and then we have four home games on the trot going into Christmas. Looking at our home form you would think we would win those, but you never know.”
Oaks felt there had been positive signs that their away form might be changing last week when they battled hard with Bude before going down 37-20.
“Last week I don’t think the score reflected how we played,” said Taylor. “Normally when we go to Bude we get bullied, whereas last week we actually bullied them in the scrum and stuff. Our backs are just not clicking.
“But we had an old head at 10 this week – Ash Parsons, who has come out of retirement – and he did a really good job and kicked us into the right areas. We have been missing a 10 as we haven’t replaced Tom Richards.”
A depleted Saltash side produced a spirited display against second-placed Bude before going down 36-12 at Moorlands Lane.
Their long list of absentees included Ryan Cruickshanks, Kieran Down, Steve Hillman, James Moriaty, Lewis Wells, Ryan Rayner, Devon Bennett-Murray, Chris Carpenter, Lewis Woolaway and Ryan Simmons.
Head coach Steve Down started at fly-half with fellow coach Albert Hall at number eight but the makeshift team did not make it easy for Bude.
The visitors had gone 17-0 up but captain Phil Eatwell scored a try, which Steve Down converted to bring the half-time score to 17-7.
Bude went 24-7 ahead 15 minutes into the second half before Saltash, with Devan Marshall and Ryan Wilson producing some sterling work, responded again and Max Dennison, who impressed at prop, crashed over to reduce the deficit.
But the last word went to Bude who scored a final try four minutes from time.
Liskeard-Looe’s wait for a win this season goes on after they were beaten 31-10 at North Tawton.
DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
MASON EDWARDS scored two tries as Plymouth Argaum claimed their second win of the season with a 29-7 home victory over struggling Buckfastleigh at Bickleigh Down.
Argaum once again showed they a much better team at home than they are on their travels.
“The boys played well,” said head coach Brett Stroud. “We also got the bonus point which was good. Our set-piece was really good, our scrums went really well. We just played really well.
“Our pack dominated. It is starting to come along well; things are starting to click.”
Argaum played uphill first half and led 10-7 at the break thanks to a try by Mason Edwards and a conversion and penalty from Cheyenne Edwards.
Playing down the hill second half, Argaum took control. Isaac Honey scored a fine try after good work by Tom Holliday and Dan Smith before Mason Edwards got his second.
Holliday then capped the win with Argaum’s fourth try when he ran in under the posts.
Tamar Saracens suffered an afternoon to forget as they were beaten 49-0 away at South Molton.
It was only their second loss of the season but it was their biggest league defeat in a long while.
“It was one of those days at the office that we wish we didn’t have,” admitted Pete Lethbridge.
“They (South Molton) had a corporate day there so I think they had their best 20 they could get out.
“We only had 18 and had a lot of players playing out of position.
“You can’t fault the commitment from our guys or their enthusiasm to play but we were just beaten by a better team.
“It was 20-0 at half-time and I thought we might be able to claw something back, but they were a little bit too streetwise for us outside. We had a flanker on the wing and then our full-back went off injured.
“It was a mishmash team, but no excuses. They were very good.
“To be fair, I don’t think many teams are going to go to South Molton and win. At home they are very strong. They are a decent side.
“We had a lot of guys not available this week – I think we had 18 unavailable, but we wanted to fulfil the fixture. We had guys who had either not played for a while or were playing out of position.
“We will lick our wounds this week and then hopefully we will be ready to face our old foes (Old Techs) again next week.
“At least we have got that trip out of the way. It’s a long trip and it would have been better if we’d had a better result, but it is out of the way now.”
Old Techs were handed a walkover by Dartmouth but managed to arrange a friendly at Weston Mill with Launceston IIs, who they beat 34-14.
Wingers Dan Pullen and Watisoni Raduabale both scored two tries, with Ben Lynch and Ben Hockey also touching down. Tom Ryan kicked three conversions and Billy Evans one.
Techs handed a debut to new prop Connor McQueen, who has joined them from Plymstock Albion Oaks.
“Our backs were really good again,” said chairman David Evans. “That’s two weeks on a track we have had a real edge in the backs.
“It is exciting now because we are getting some players together and people want to sign for us.”
OPMs were also handed a walkover on Saturday after Exeter Athletic surprisingly pulled out of visiting King George V Playing Fields.
But OPMs did play Plymstock Albion Oaks II in the Devon Merit Table and won 21-8 after coming back from 8-7 down at half-time.
Pete Keanie had scored a try and a penalty for Oaks in the first half to go, while Shaun Grundy scored a try that Sammy Matts converted for OPMs.
After the interval Matt Morgan and Grundy scored further tries that were converted by Matts.
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