IVYBRIDGE’S three-match winning run came to an end on Saturday when they lost 34-25 to struggling Camborne after having to play most the game with 14 men.
The Bridgers had long-serving scrum-half Ben Watts surprisingly sent off in the opening 10 minutes at the Recreation Ground.
But Ivybridge still made a good game of it and Camborne needed a try in the dying minutes to seal the win and move off the bottom of the table.
“It is always disappointing to be on the wrong side of the scoreboard,” said Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony.
“The guys worked really hard to claw back into the game. Camborne got away from us early on with a couple of quick scores, but we managed the game really well for the second part of the first half and that got us back on the scoreboard.”
Ivybridge had trailed by just four points at half-time and then went 25-19 up but, having put so much effort in with a 14 men – and twice going down to 13, they just ran out of steam a bit in the final quarter.
“We knew what we were going into as playing down there is always really tough no matter what run of form they have had,” said Tripcony.
“It is always a tough place to get a result and getting a red card early doors did have an impact. The lads adapted extremely well and their work-rate really soared, but come the end it does take it out of you when you have been a player down for so long.”
Cam Setter, Seb Musgrove and Adam Northcott scored tries for Ivybridge, with Matt Grieveson kicking two penalties and two conversions.
SOUTH WEST ONE
DEVONPORT Services’ driving maul proved an unstoppable weapon as they beat Newent 42-21 at the Rectory to close the gap on second-placed St Austell in South West One (West).
Newent started really well and for the first 30 minutes Services hardly got out of their half as the visitors, who began the day in fifth spot, led 7-0 with a converted try by Doug Long. They could have led by more had they not missed two kickable penalties.
But once Rhys Williams scored a try for Services on 33 minutes after a poor Newent drop-out kick, the game changed.
And two catch-and-drive tries following penalties in the last four minutes of the first half through Sam Bennett and captain Matt Gregory put Devonport firmly in control.
Newent will have been kicking themselves for giving away those penalties at the end of the half as they presented Services with line-outs closed to the line as they had no way to stop them.
The visitors did cut the gap at the start of the second period with a try by Dan Fletcher, but they then gifted Devonport’s Liam Jarvis a simple try after messing up a line-out on their own line.
Services did have Gregory sin-binned on 48 minutes and Newent added a third try through Long, but then Devonport’s pack took control again.
Andy Pond had a try ruled out on 18 minutes but Services kept up the pressure from a five-metre scrum and eventually as they drove again they were awarded a penalty try to go 35-21 ahead.
Newent then got a yellow card for giving away too many penalties trying to stop the home side’s forwards and Services got a sixth try when Gregory went over for his second from the back of a scrum.
Devonport thought they had got a seventh in injury-time but the referee ruled they had knocked on.
Although the game did produce nine tries it was not the best spectacle seen at the Rectory this season, but it was another five-point victory for the hosts who keep their long unbeaten home record going.
With St Austell losing at Thornbury, third-placed Services are just four points behind them.
Afterwards Devonport’s Stuart Busfield said: “Over the last two or three weeks we have been working on cohesion and how we deal with each other and what was pleasing this week is that there were some very frustrating parts of the game, but the boys tended to keep their cool and communicated a bit better.”
He added: “There were a couple of points in the game where I thought we were going to really pull away, but every time we started to do that Newent, who are well structured with some big ball carriers, kept coming back into the game.
“When we dealt with our exit strategy well we came away from our own line pretty quickly, but when we didn’t we invited them on to attack us. They have got some good players and some big ball carriers. That first 10 or 15 minutes they had really good ball retention and looked like a really strong team.
“We started under pressure for a change when we have been coming out fast most weeks. We came out a bit slower this time but accelerated into it.
“In the end it was a good win and just what we needed after the last game (at Lydney).
“I have said to the guys what we need to try and concentrate on now is driving a big gap between us and fourth place and chasing down one and two. Our eyes don’t need to be behind us, they need to be on Chew and St Austell.”
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks finally got an away victory on Saturday as they beat bottom side Hayle 20-13 in Cornwall.
Winger Joe Brearley bagged a hat-trick of tries for Oaks, who also had fellow back Corey Jamieson going over as they also picked up a bonus point.
The visitors did out-score Hayle four tries to one, but the home side did grab a bonus point with a penalty right on full-time.
“It was never really close,” said Oaks player-coach Aiden Taylor. “The scoreline didn’t reflect the game.
“It was just great to go away and finally win. We are marching up the league finally.
“To be fair we dominated the game. We scored two tries before the break and then second half we bagged two more tries before they scored a late try, which they converted, and right on full-time they kicked a penalty to get a bonus point.”
Oaks sit in sixth spot now and are only three points behind fifth-placed Torquay. They now have four home games on the spin before Christmas and so they have a good chance to move up the table further before the end of the year.
There was no joy for the other Plymouth Combination sides in the Cornwall/Devon League.
Tavistock were forced to field an unfamiliar side away at second-placed Bude. Although they battled hard they went down 29-7 to the Cornish club, who are unbeaten at home.
Martin Budden scored Tavistock’s only try on the day.
“With three late withdrawals in the pack and arranging replacements whilst en-route to the match, it was a good performance,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy.
“It was 22-7 at half-time after we conceded a couple of early tries.
“It was definitely a backs-to-the-wall effort from the lads with new combinations and a lack of cohesion because of it, but the lads stuck at it and made Bude work hard for the victory.
“Some poor decision making on a few occasions possibly cost us some points in attack, but overall, considering where we were at regarding injuries etc and who we were playing, we put in a decent performance.”
Tavistock did pick up a few more injuries on Saturday to add to their woes, but they do hope to have some other players back this coming weekend for their home game with Cullompton.
Saltash suffered another disappointing result as they were beaten 50-14 away at Cullompton.
The Ashes were another team not helped by last minute changes to their team.
Cullompton, who like Saltash have come down from Western Counties West, dominated the early exchanges and scored a pushover try which was converted after 11 minutes through Jacob Unwin with a repeat coming 10 minutes later to make it 12-0.
Kieran Down kicked a penalty for Saltash after 26 minutes and also produced some good clearances at critical times throughout the game.
Andrew Hayball added a third try for Cullompton on 28 minutes before another Down penalty reduced the home lead at the interval to 17-6.
The second half started well for Saltash and they cut the gap to 17-14 with a penalty and a try by Jay Moriarty following a kick ahead.
But the game swung back to Cullompton with tries by Unwin, Josh Mamola, Devlin Welch, Sean Mardell and Tom Frankpitt in the final 20 minutes.
Max Dennison, Fin Jones and Simon Nance played well in the pack for Saltash, with Jay Moriarty and Kieran Down prominent in the backs.
Winless Liskeard-Looe battled hard against high-flying Pirates Amateurs but lost 18-7. However, Liskeard did at least deny their third-placed visitors a bonus point.
PLYMOUTH Argaum managed to finally get an away win as they beat Dartmouth 24-7 at Wessex Way on Saturday.
It was their second victory in a row after overcoming Buckfastleigh in their last outing.
Two tries by Tom Holliday, one by Dan Smith and a fourth by Louie Langman helped them secure the full five points in south Devon.
“It was our first away win and we now have two wins in a row and I have said to the boys it would be nice to make it three,” said coach Brett Stroud.
“Our set-piece went really well. I thought it was going to be a bigger score than it was but second half there were a lot of knock-ons and mistakes, but the positive was that we had 70 or 80 per cent possession.
“We got a five-pointer and that’s what I wanted, so happy days. It was good.”
Argaum might have got more points had the game not gone to uncontested scrums.
“We were all over them,” said Stroud. “But it went to uncontested scrums and they went down to 14. We’d had quite a lot of joy in the scrum but they had no front-row replacement so we had to go uncontested.”
Tamar Saracens also returned from a trip to south Devon with five points after they beat Totnes 42-20.
They had the bonus point in the bag at half-time as they led 28-10, with player-coach Davy McGregor going over for a hat-trick and Tommy Pullinger, who had a good game at fly-half, also bagging one to go with four conversions.
After the break Joe Staniforth, who impressed at prop, and Reece Boarse added further tries that Pullinger converted.
“We played really, really well with a lot of players playing out of position,” said Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge. “It just seemed to click this week. We just told them to go out and enjoy it and they did to be fair.
“I think it was 28-10 at half-time. Second half they came back into it a bit, but we gave them bits and pieces with silly handling errors and mistakes.
“But overall it was a good, well-worked win. Getting an away bonus point win was nice. I’m happy for once this week.”
There was disappointment for both OPMs and Old Techs who had to make tough trips to Exeter with makeshift teams and came away empty handed.
OPMs were beaten 39-17 at fourth-placed Exeter Saracens. The defeat has seen OPMs drop down from second to third.
Despite the loss, coach Rick Orkney was proud of the way his makeshift team performed when they were struggling to even get 15 players out and were 34-7 down at the break.
“At 7pm the night before we didn’t have a team,” said Orkney. “We have a lot of injuries and unavailabilities at the moment.
“Billy Garratt and Mark Hardie spent all Friday trying to get a team together. They tried everyone. We thought about conceding but Billy didn’t want to as he said it’s not the OPM way and so we were prepared to go up there with just 13 or 14.
“In the end we managed to get people out of retirement – out of the old people’s home – and when we got there we competed really, really well.
“Exeter Sarries have a young, fast set of backs and they ran the ball around. As we had so many people playing out of position in the backs, including three forwards in the backline, we were a bit clueless positionally and they went through us a couple of times and outside us quite a few times.
“It was 34-7 at half-time and it looked for all the world that it was going to be a 60 or 70 pointer.
“To compound things we had Callum Morgan taken to hospital with a back injury and Mark Hardie we think has ruptured his bicep tendon. So we lost two key players.
“But we turned around and we actually won the second half 12-5. We were just brilliant in the second half.
“We just ran out of time to get a bonus point. The team were just brilliant second half, absolutely brilliant.”
Orkney had special praise for former second team scrum-half Jon Charlick who came out of retirement having not played for three year to help out and Matt Glastonbury, who also came on and made his mark.
“We were magnificent second half,” said Orkney. “They would have got a standing ovation had there been a grandstand full of people.”
Old Techs also had similar issues trying to get a side out to face Exeter Athletic. They ended up losing 38-12 at Oil Mill Lane to a strong home side.
Techs had to play loads of players out of position and coach Shaun Bedford-Smith was named among their replacements.
They did still manage two tries against a side who have only lost to leaders New Cross this season.
Danny Bond and Sam Courtney got Techs’ tries at the weekend, with the prolific Ethan Barnaschone bagging a hat-trick for the hosts, who were previously in the Cornwall/Devon League.
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