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RUGBY REPORTS: Ivybridge, Tavistock and Tamar Saracens get back to winning ways

IVYBRIDGE ended their losing run in style on Saturday by beating Old Centralians 50-24 away in the South West Premier League.

The Bridgers ran in eight tries to claim their first win since the end of November.

“We weren’t hiding away from the fact that we needed a win but first and foremost you need to perform well to win,” said director of rugby Jamie Tripcony.

“Our focus was on performing well and making sure we put a bit of pride back into the shirt.

“We were very frustrated and very aware of our performance last week (against Launceston) and we just wanted to put those things right.”

He added: “Scoring the points is really pleasing and it is something we have done most weeks.

“Scoring points comes naturally to us and we have been able to do that in most games we have played this year. We are quite confident in our attack.

“But our big focus this week was our defensive display and the first half particularly was really pleasing.

“The guys put in a really big defensive shift and ultimately applied the pressure that saw them (Old Centralians) cough-up possession that we were able to counterattack with.”

Tripcony is now hoping the team can build on their first win of 2022.

“We have come away and put in a good performance but it is about time we do that on our pitch now,” he said.

Ivybridge, who welcomed back Jay Geraty, Adam Northcott, Charlie Briant, Ben Watts and George Wilson to their team, had been 29-14 up at half-time in Gloucestershire and they did not let up in the second half.

Northcott marked his return from a thumb injury by scoring Ivybridge’s second try.

Harrison Legge had opened the scoring for the South Hams side and he also bagged their fourth try, with powerful centre Sam Brown also bagging two and kicking four conversions.

Briant, Wilson and replacement Henry Trudgill all crossed in the second half for the Bridgers.

Meanwhile, Ivybridge’s second team beat a well-drilled Okehampton side 26-10 at Cross-in-Hand in the Devon Merit Table thanks to tries by Luke Martell (2), Craig Julians and Ryan Cox.

SOUTH WEST ONE WEST

DEVONPORT Services dropped down from first to fourth in the tight South West One West table after going down 30-14 away at title rivals Chew Valley.

With Lydney beating Thornbury and St Austell returning to winning ways against North Petherton the top of the table has completed turn around again.

St Austell jumped from fourth back to the top, with Chew moving second, Thornbury slipping to third and Services down to fourth, with Lydney now only three points behind in fifth with two games in hand.

If Services are going to be challenging then they do need to start picking up more points away from home. They are unbeaten at home but have lost four of their seven away games, although apart from St Austell, they have visited all their top five rivals. They have also played Chew and Thornbury twice and so have quite a few fixtures against lower half teams coming up in the next couple of months.

Devonport did start reasonably well at Chew Valley, who they had beaten at home. They put their hosts under a lot of pressure in the first 10 minutes but Chew defended well and finished the half strongly to take a 17-0 lead into the interval.

A try by number eight Dan Brooker on 23 minutes but the hosts ahead before Tom Bryan kicked a penalty and Joe Webb scored a converted try.

After the interval Bryan kicked another penalty to make it 20-0 before Services got going.

Toby Knowles made a good break and Services got a penalty. They went for the corner and Michael Rickard got the ball down from the maul and Richard West converted.

Devonport were putting Chew under pressure but the home side relieved that with a penalty before Charlies Shallcross scored a try.

But Services upped their game again and Joe Daley went down the blindside and scored and they had other chances but could not get anything of the game.

“We were disappointed to not get a bonus point at the end,” said West. “We played well in the second half but they played well in the first half and put us under pressure. They did capitalise on all our mistakes really. Every time we made a mistake they scored from it.

“But we just have to move on to next week and playing at home against Crediton. We are looking forward to that already.”

CORNWALL/DEVON LEAGUE

TAVISTOCK secured their first win of 2022 in impressive fashion with a 41-26 home victory over Plymouth Combination rivals Saltash on Saturday.

The hosts, with scrum-half George Hillson pulling the strings, were almost unplayable in the opening 30 minutes. They never allowed Saltash the ball. Their passing, off-loading and forward play were outstanding and they had the try-scoring bonus point in the bag by the 29th minute.

They probably could have had more tries but for some impressive defence by Saltash.

Tavistock went in at half-time 33-7 up, but, credit to Saltash, they really upped their game second half, with replacement Lewis Wells driving the young team forward.

Despite having to go down to 14 men when they ran out of front-row forwards and then found themselves down to 13 players, Saltash really made a game of it and deservedly got a try-scoring bonus point for the efforts.

“It was a very slow start from us and we gave ourselves too much to do,” said Saltash head coach Steve Down.

“We were rushing and panicking and just not settling into our patterns, but they (Tavistock) started really well. They played very well. Their nine was very lively and their off-loading was very good as well. They kept the ball alive really well.

“When we did get the ball we had to force things as we were already two scores down.

“We just needed to relax and trust our structures, but we are a young side who are trying to fight our way up the league.

“But I was really pleased with the second half. After getting three tries we knew we just needed one more for the bonus point. And, despite going down to 13, we were still fighting for that bonus point and we got it near the end.

“Credit to the lads for getting that four-try bonus point.”

He added: “Our back on the bench got injured in the warm-up and then we had two concussions. In the end I think we broke about four or five players and ended up playing with 13 men. It just wasn’t our day.”

Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy admitted his team were on fire in the first half.

“I said to the lads at half-time that the first half was as good as we have played probably since pre-season,” he said.

“But we just had that short stint (near the end of the half) of giving away penalties in quick succession and they scored a try.

“We didn’t start the second half great and again gave away several penalties in quick succession and they got back in the game, but I am not going to grumble as we had a bonus point before half-time.

“When we didn’t give penalties away we kept them out of the game. They just couldn’t do anything, but our penalties got them back into the game.”

He added: “We were probably on top of them in the scrum before it went unopposed so that probably levelled that out. We lost an attacking weapon there, but I am not going to complain.

“The only thing for us to maybe work on is our penalty count, which was quite high. If we can knock that on the head or half it, then we will be in a really good place.”

Tavistock came out firing and were held up over the line by Saltash twice before they did finally get a try courtesy of fly-half Jack Easton after some great passing.

That was quickly followed by a catch-and-drive try by fit-again hooker Hammy Kerswill after a 50-22 kick. Hillson brilliantly converted that effort from the touchline.

Hillson was at the heart of everything for Tavistock and he got their third try as by managing to bounce off three tackles to score for a try he also converted.

Their fourth try came in the 29th minute when Charlie Brown jumped over a load of bodies to get the ball down from close range.

When Saltash did get the ball they looked dangerous. The problem was they didn’t get any possession in the first 30 minutes but finally they did and they put Tavistock under some intense pressure and eventually centre Kieran Down forced his way over under the posts from a quick tap penalty.

But the last word of the half did go to Tavistock with number eight Martin Budden scoring from a five-metre scrum.

However, straight from the second half whistle, Saltash nearly scored through exciting youngster Andrew Walsh. He was pushed into touch just short of the line but they kept the pressure on and three minutes later Wells scored.

The Cornwall forward then added a second six minutes later to make it 33-19.

But Saltash then had to go down to 14 men and the quick-thinking Hillson realised they did not have any cover at the back and so kicked forward and won the race to the ball to score his second of the game.

Hillson then kicked a penalty as Saltash had a player sin-binned. But the visitors, with young fly-half Kristian Davis impressing, were determined not to leave empty-handed and in the last minute young winger Walsh managed to score their fourth try in the corner to secure them a bonus point.

Plymstock Albion Oaks also picked up an away bonus point as they scored four tries in a 52-28 defeat to title-chasing Topsham.

Topsham’s home record is outstanding this season. No team has won there and Oaks were the first side to score a try-scoring bonus point there.

“We got a bonus point, which we are happy with,” said player-coach Aiden Taylor.

“They (Topsham) had a full strength side out but we had key forwards like Timmy Coats, Sam Jailer, Andy Porter and Mike Hunt – our big lads – all missing.

“We didn’t really have a scrum, but we found ourselves level at 21-21 at half-time. We defended for most of the half but scored some really good tries.

“Second half we come out and kicked off but kicked out on full so they got a scrum and within five minutes of second half they were two tries up.

“I felt first half we were really good but second half we let ourselves down a bit, but I am not going to take anything away from the lads as everyone fronted up.

“We didn’t have a particularly strong team out and yet we got a bonus point.

“Their backs to be fair to them were really good. It was a hard day at the office but we got a bonus point and weren’t a million miles away despite the team we had out and them being a full strength.”

Number eight Ryan McKibbin and centre Corey Jamieson both got two tries apiece, with Pete Keanie, playing at centre, having a great afternoon with the boot, converting them all.

Liskeard-Looe will have taken encouragement from their display away at fourth-placed Cullompton. The Lions lost 16-8, but in-form Cullompton are the league’s top scorers and have won all their home games, the majority by big margins.

DEVON ONE AND DEVON MERIT TABLE

TAMAR Saracens got back to winning ways with a 18-5 derby win over OPMs at the Parkway on Saturday.

Sarries had suffered heavily losses away at title-chasing New Cross and Exeter Saracens in their previous two games but showed they are far better at home to leap-frog above OPMs in the table.

The hosts, with Lewis Swatton moving to scrum-half, were 13-5 up at half-time, with Tommy Pullinger kicking two penalties before Dan Best scored a converted try down the left wing.

OPMs, who were missing a number of key players including top try scorer Fred Smale due to Devon U20 commitments and injured goalkicker Sam Matts, did pull a try back just before half-time courtesy of Lewis Harmer.

There was little in it in the second half, but Sarries player-coach Davy McGregor came on to score a try and make the game safe.

“It was a good win; we played well,” said Tamar Saracens’ Pete Lethbridge.

“It was a good hard battle as it usually is against OPMs.

“Our line-out went well but our scrum creaked a little bit as they had a bigger pack than us but our backs played really well.

“It was a good win, a good old contest and a good warm-up for Techs next week.

“We were really happy. The boys put a good shift in to get over last week. The buzz is back again now and hopefully we can kick on a bit now.”

OPMs head coach Rick Orkney said: “The boys are disappointed to have lost, but we only had two backs from our normal starting backline. We were a real mishmash and then both centres went off as well.

“We just didn’t have any cutting edge in the backs. We had enough ball but we just weren’t able to do enough with it.

“We kicked the ball quite well, chased very well, tackled amazingly because they are not a bad side.

“We were 13-5 down at half-time and we were pressing deep in their 22 and we could have potentially made it 13-12 had we scored but after phase after phase after phase we eventually spilled the ball and they managed to exit. They scored one more try but couldn’t break us down again although we didn’t really look like scoring another try after that.”

There was disappointment for Plymouth Argaum, who were beaten 36-23 away at rejuvenated Salcombe.

Argaum, who had beaten Totnes 102-0 at home the week before, were again missing some key players for an away trip and also felt they did not get the rub of the green in South Devon.

“We were all over them in the first 10 minutes,” said Argaum coach Brett Stroud.

“We had two tries but the ref did not see them. He said held up as he couldn’t get to the other side to see if we had put the ball down or not.

“But I can’t really knock the lads that went away.

“Our scrums went really well, but they (Salcombe) won on will and by mistakes by us.”

Tom Holliday was Argaum’s man of the match and got two tries to go with ones from Dan Smith and Chris Perkins.

Argaum, though, were just short of strength in depth on the day, particularly in their second-row.

Title-chasing South Molton were full of praise for Old Techs for making the long trip to visit them, despite only having 10 players.

Techs, who had more than 20 players unavailable, lost 70-0 at Unicorn Park but the hosts were grateful they did visit and stayed until late.

“They were really happy we came up and fulfilled the fixture,” said Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith, whose side had beaten South Molton at home.

“We only had 10 players, but they lent us some and everyone had a good day and played some rugby, which is what it is all about.”

Another game that followed the RFU’s ‘Game On’ guidance was at Brickfields where DHSOB and Plymouth Fijians met in the Devon Merit Table.

The Fijians only had 12 players and the game did not go the full 80 minutes, but the Fijians scored five tries to claim a 33-0 win. Centre Topaki scored two tries, with full-back Ben Turua touching down for one try and kicking three conversions, winger Lemeka bagging a try and one conversion and Atu Kovula also crossing the whitewash.

Plympton Victoria were not in league action but played a Plymouth Merit Table game with Saltash II at Moorlands Lane. Saltash II triumphed 36-20.

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