Rugby

Saltash progress in Lockie Cup by overcoming Devonport Services II at Keyham

SALTASH progressed through to the semi-finals of the Lockie Cup after they overcame Devonport Services II 21-10 in heavy rain at Keyham on Tuesday evening.

Two tries by full-back Danny Snook – one in each half – and 11 points from the boot of Kieran Down were enough for them to see off their hosts in the Plymouth Combination competition.

“It was nice playing under lights and it was a competitive game,” said Saltash coach Steve Down.

“We enjoy the Lockie Cup, but it has been a little while since we played in it due to lockdowns and having been in Western Counties the previous two seasons before that.”

Down had no worries about playing most of his first team squad, despite having had a tough league game at Torquay at the weekend and with another likely hard battle ahead this Saturday against Veor.

“It (the cup) is something for the guys to look forward to,” said Down. “It has been a tough league season and with the restructure happening we are comfortable just playing some rugby and trying to enjoy ourselves.”

Services coach Mike Lewis, meanwhile, had no qualms about the result.

“Saltash are a really good side – they are defensively strong and quite good in attack. They tested us and, let’s be realistic, they thoroughly deserved the win,” said Lewis.

He added: “This week we have 20 injuries across both our squads, so are we weak? Yes. But did the boys go out and do enough? No. They were the first to admit that in the huddle afterwards. They were quite honest with each other.

“At the moment because we have a few injuries we are having to put people into different positions that they are not used to. We started with a nine playing 10 and then had another nine playing 10 in the second half and had a nine on the wing. When you are like that it is going to be a bit disjointed, but we thought we would be a bit more vocal and offensive in attack.

“The conditions were bad for both teams but they adapted quicker and better than us.”

In front of a decent-sized crowd, Saltash took just seven minutes to go in front when Snook scored in the left corner and Kieran Down brilliantly converted.

But Services hit back straight away. They won the restart kick and after pressure scrum-half Dylan Roberts touched down for an unconverted try.

Down then kicked two penalties to put his side 13-5 ahead, but Services got a lifeline when the visitors messed up trying to ground the ball in their in-goal area and Joe Vatther was there to take advantage.

Six minutes before half-time, Down kicked a third penalty to give his side a 16-10 lead at the break.

The Cornish club started the second period strongly and camped on Devonport’s line but three times knocked on the wet ball on when close to the whitewash.

But they did get another try when Snook showed his pace to score a second try.

Down did miss a late penalty but it did not matter as the Ashes booked their spot in the next round where they will face either Plymouth Argaum and the Peninsula Medical School, who did knock Plymstock Albion Oaks out of the competition earlier in the season.

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