Rugby

RUGBY PREVIEWS: Tavistock look to keep run going under North Tawton’s floodlights

TAVISTOCK will be looking to make it three wins in a row when they travel across Dartmoor on Friday evening to play North Tawton at Taw Meadow in the Cornwall/Devon League.

Tavistock have scored more than 40 points in their wins over Withycombe and Saltash in their last two matches, but both were at Sandy Park.

They will now be hoping to show that they can keep up their form on the road.

They will know that North Tawton are much better on their own patch. All but one of the mid-Devon side’s victories this season have come at Taw Meadow and the hosts have named a strong side for Friday’s game under lights.

Tavistock, though, are also strong. Only Andrew Craddock and Joe Hair are missing from last week’s squad.

“We have been able to pick almost the same side three weeks on the trot now, which is great,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy.

“We have a couple missing from last week with niggles, but we still have picked a decent squad.

“We are looking forward to the game. Hopefully, the weather will hold off and there will be a decent crowd.”

Tavistock were happy to agree to North Tawton’s request for a Friday night match, especially with the Six Nations starting on Saturday.

When the two teams met earlier in the season at Sandy Park they played out a thrilling 26-26 draw, with Tavistock scoring right at the death.

Strangely that was the third league game running between the sides that North Tawton had scored 26 points against Tavistock, having beaten them 26-0 in both their previous two home games.

On Saturday in the same division, fifth-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks will be looking to pick up another home win when they host Withycombe at Horsham Fields.

Oaks have only lost one of their eight home league games this season, whereas Withycombe have only picked up two wins from nine on their travels.

It will be Withycombe’s third trip to a Plymouth Combination side in four weeks, having lost heavily at Tavistock and Saltash in their last two away games.

Oaks, who beat Torquay 45-5 at home last weekend, were frustrated at having to settle for a 15-15 draw at Withycombe away early in the season.

In Devon One, the big game is at Bickleigh Down, where in-form Plymouth Argaum host city rivals Old Techs.

Argaum have won their last four home games, including beating South Molton and Exeter Athletic, and are hopeful they can claim their first league derby win of the season.

When the sides met at Weston Mill early in the season, Techs won 20-10.

“We beat them in a testimonial (in pre-season) but then played them in the league at their place and we did not really show up,” said Argaum head coach Brett Stroud.

“We had the usual selection issues then but this weekend I have had to let several players down. People can’t just get into the starting line-up now as there is real competition for the shirt.

“We are really looking forward to this weekend. We have got a good side and it should be a good game.

“Our set-piece has been going really strongly and we have been sticking to the game-plan. We just have to keep that going.

“It is about turning up on the day and putting our game-plan into practice and playing at a high tempo.”

Techs hope to be able to field a stronger side than in their last two fixtures against South Molton and Tamar Saracens.

Last week, they called up their ‘Dad’s Army’ to play against Tamar Saracens but they battled well and it took two late tries for Sarries to beat them.

“We just ran out of steam at the end after picking up two yellow cards,” said Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith.

“We just didn’t have the legs in the last 10 minutes.”

Bedford-Smith admits Techs are again still struggling to get a recognised side out due to injuries and unavailabilities.

“We have got five back, but are missing nine from last week,” said Bedford-Smith.

“It is a bit of a struggle at the moment, which is a shame as we could have a really good side.

“We started off really well with players and Argaum were the other way but it it has turned around and they seem to be in-form and have lots of players available. But that is what it is like at this level of rugby. You just have to try and ride out the times when you are struggling for numbers.

“The players that have been available have been really digging in and hopefully in the next few weeks we will start getting more back.”

OPMs are also in action on Saturday in Devon One when they host struggling Totnes at King George V Playing Fields.

The Old Boys will be big favourites with Totnes having lost their last four games and having only won once away from home this term.

But OPMs will be wary as Totnes have proved when they can get a full team they can get some wins.

OPMs were a bit frustrated with their performance in a 21-3 away win at Torrington last week and so will be hoping to hit better form on Saturday.

In the Devon Merit Table, leaders Plymouth Fijians will be hoping to continue their good form when they visit third-placed University of Plymouth.

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