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RUGBY REPORTS: Home agony for Ivybridge, but OPMs and Techs end year with wins

IVYBRIDGE ended 2021 with a disappointing home defeat to in-form Weston-super-Mare.

The Bridgers lost 48-27 at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday as the Somerset club claimed the league double over the South Hams side.

Weston’s win moved them up to fourth in the table, while Ivybridge dropped down to eighth.

“It was very frustrating to ship that many points at home,” admitted Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony. “We are under no illusions – that wasn’t good enough – but we will re-gather and make sure we are ready in the new year.

“Weston-super-Mare took their chances well and showed why they are where they are in the league, but I can’t remember us having a lot of the ball in the first half so it is always difficult to try and put your mark on the game when you defend for long periods of time.

“We did manage to get ourselves in the game a little bit second half but we just coughed up a bit too much ball when we got into good positions.”

However, Ivybridge did manage to score five tries to once again pick up a bonus point. No other team in the league has picked up more bonus points than them this season. In total they have 13 bonus points from 14 games – nine for scoring four or more tries and four for finishing within a score of their opponents.

“We got a bonus point, so at least we got something out of the game,” said Tripcony. “I think the last game we didn’t come away with anything was Weston-super-Mare away. I think that is the only game we haven’t got something.”

The visitors went 22-0 up with tries by wing Chris Young, flanker Jack Woodland and Bristol Bears loan player Dylan Power, who was making his first start for Weston. James Mackay added two conversions and a penalty to become Weston’s all-time leading scorer, beating the previous record of 1,844 points.

Ivybridge did come back and closed the gap to 10 points with tries by backs Archie Bryan and Tom Scoles, but on the stroke of half-time, Ben Tothill added a fourth for Weston to make it 29-12.

Ollie Walrond increased the Somerset club’s lead in the second half before Marcus Prout pulled one back for Ivybridge.

Woodland and Jack Press added further tries for Weston, but Ivybridge finished strongly and captain Charlie Briant and Scoles went over for late tries.

Devonport Services were without a game in South West One, but they did not lose any ground as Chew Valley did not play and St Austell were surprisingly beaten 13-5 at Keynsham.

In the Cornwall/Devon League, Tavistock, Plymstock Albion Oaks and Liskeard-Looe did not play with the RFU allowing clubs to postpone fixtures if they were worried about catching Covid before Christmas.

However, Saltash did play, but probably wish they hadn’t as they were hammered 103-5 by the Pirates Amateurs at Mennaye Field.

The Ashes, who had won their last three games, had travelled down to west Cornwall with a much-changed team to the one that had beaten Newquay Hornets the previous week and the Pirates, who are unbeaten at home this season, did not show them any mercy.

Former Plymouth Albion player Rhodri McAtee, Josh Semmens and Tom Nicholas all got hat-tricks for the hosts, who also had Archie Pilcher (2), Stan Somers, Jake Hole, Tom Hutton, Morgan Holman and Rhys Brownfield touching down. Ryan Cruickshanks got Saltash’s only points with a first half try.

In Devon One, OPMs youngster Fred Smale scored a late converted try to secure his side a 23-17 win over city rivals Plymouth Argaum at King George V Playing Fields.

Argaum had led 17-7 at half-time but the Old Boys, with the wind in their favour second half, slowly cut that gap to one point before Smale snatched it with time nearly up after the visitors had been reduced to 14 men.

OPMs coach Rick Orkney admitted he was beginning to think that his team were not going to get the win, despite dominating territory in the second half.

“It didn’t look like it was going to happen,” he admitted. “Second half we turned around with the wind and it was all us. We had all of the ball and territory but they defended well and we squandered three really good chances out wide.

“I just thought it wasn’t going to happen and that they were going to cling on.”

Argaum, with the returning Joe Walker impressing at number eight, made a great start and were 12-0 up after 10 minutes.

Scrum-half Ellery Jones gave them the lead before Mitch Coles, playing in the centre on Saturday rather than in the back-row, added a second.

OPMs then had a lot of pressure from scrums in Argaum’s 22 but somehow the hosts did not get anything from a series of penalties close to the line.

But eventually the Old Boys did cut the gap when top scorer Smale broke through and ran in under the posts for a simple conversion for Sam Matts.

However, Argaum hit back with a try in the right corner by Dan Smith.

In the second half, Matts cut the gap with three penalties but the home side just could not score a try, despite having some good chances.

But with time running out, Argaum had Jack Franklin red carded after an off-the-ball incident with Billy Garratt and in the last couple of minutes the extra man told as Smale cut through and left everyone in his wake with his speed. The win keeps OPMs in fourth place.

Old Techs ended the year on a high by running in seven tries to beat Totnes 43-7 at Weston Mill.

Techs stay in seventh spot but just 10 points separate the top seven teams in a really close league.

Despite missing a number of key players, Techs were always in command against Totnes and were thrilled to get back to winning ways after losing 10-7 to a controversial last-gasp New Cross try last week.

“We did really well, we were chuffed,” said chairman David Evans. “We had to move on from feeling hard done by last week and we did, with a lot of changes.

“It was a good way to end the year.

“And I have to say the referee was really, really good.”

Techs, who were also full of praise for Totnes for honouring the fixture when lots of other clubs didn’t travel on Saturday, had Derek Ingleson scoring two tries and Danny Bond, Billy Evans, Ben Lynch, Mike Walkden and Tom Lawrence also touching down to go with four conversions from Tom Ryan.

Techs were without a host of players including the likes of Matt Simmonds, Will Booth, Rudi Baker, James Douglas, Ben Hockey, Dan Pullen, Kyle Hookway and Peni Turua, but Evans says Saturday’s result shows the strength they have in their squad now.

Fifth-placed Tamar Saracens had an afternoon to forget at Exeter Saracens on Saturday, losing 62-0.

Everything that could go wrong seemed to go wrong for the Ernesettle-based club.

They lost fly-half Lewis Swatton in the first 10 minutes with concussion, picked up two yellow cards in the space of a minute in the first half, lost Ryan Deacon also to a head injury and then had Chad Smith sent off for two yellow cards after the referee appeared to mistake him for his brother Blake.

“They had probably the strongest side they could put out this season and to be fair to Exeter Saracens they played really, really well,” said Tamar Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge.

“We went up with 18 players and Lewis Swatton got concussed in the first eight minutes and so we lost our fly-half which didn’t help.

“We then had two yellow cards within the space of a minute so we were down to 13 players,”

Lethbridge, who was frustrated by some of the decisions that went against his side on Saturday, added: “We had a depleted side going up and we didn’t have enough subs to cope with the injuries. When we went down to 14 we had a couple of players on the pitch injured who weren’t doing anything apart from being on the pitch, but I wouldn’t taken anything from Exeter Saracens – they have a very good side.

“The only positive we had I would say really was Sini Manu playing a full game after his injury.

“But we’ve got the game out of the way and so we don’t have to go up there again this season.

“It is done and dusted now. We will lick our wounds and regroup for after Christmas. We can learn from it like we did against South Molton.”

Sarries, like Techs, know that in the new year most of their games will be at home rather than away and they are only four points behind Exeter Saracens, who are the new leaders of the division.

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