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RUGBY REPORTS: Title-chasing Services claim crucial away win, while Ivybridge keep run going

IVYBRIDGE extended their unbeaten run to four games as they saw off Camborne 40-17 in wet and windy conditions at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday in the South West Premier.

The Bridgers scored six tries in total – three in each half – to claim their first win over their Cornish rivals since September 2018.

Although they stay in seventh place despite the victory, they are level on points now with sixth-placed Launceston and have a seven point gap between themselves and teams in the bottom half of the table with four games to go.

They started brightly and had chances to score in the opening 10 minutes with Sam Brown missing a penalty and then the team getting penalised right on the try line after a good attack.

But on 20 minutes they did finally go in front when hooker Jay Geraty got the ball down from a good driving maul.

Within seconds of the restart, Camborne picked up a yellow card and Ivybridge took advantage with two quick tries.

The first came from centre Charlie Briant after Ivybridge had opted for a scrum in front of the posts from a penalty and attacked quickly from it.

Three minutes later lock George Wilson burst through to score next to the posts after a good run by prop Wes Vermigle. Brown converted to put Ivybridge 19-0 up.

That finally seemed to wake Camborne up and in the final 10 minutes of the half they did have quite a bit of pressure and just before half-time centre Jordan Sidwell scored after a good cross-field kick by scrum-half Liam Jolly.

And it got better for the visitors straight after half-time when prop Callum Locker scored from a driving maul to make it 19-12.

However, Briant took the wind a bit out of Camborne’s sails with a breakaway try that secure Ivybridge the try-scoring bonus point and put them 26-12 ahead.

Yet just when Ivybridge were looking comfortable again, they had Wilson yellow carded and Camborne scored from the resultant penalty. They went for the corner and hooker Aden Muirhead got the ball down from another maul.

But with conditions worsening and Camborne having to take more chances Ivybridge finished the game off with two quick-fire tries.

In the 69th minute, flanker Sam Furse scored under the posts after Camborne had lost the ball in their own half following a scrum.

And almost straight from the re-start, centre Brown made a 75-metre break down the right wing to score a fine try and also brilliantly add the conversion from the touchline.

Afterwards director of rugby Jamie Tripcony said: “We’re very pleased with a five-point win, you can’t ask for much more than that.

“We were happy with the performance from the guys for large periods. I felt we were in control of the game.

“We did leave a few points out there and we probably just need to look a little bit at our discipline as that allowed Camborne into the game. We gave them opportunities to kick into the corner and drive, but overall we’re very pleased.”

Ivybridge have only lost one of their last six games and that was a narrow 26-22 loss to title-chasing Old Redcliffians.

“We are pleased with our recent form,” said Tripcony. “It is just about making sure we knuckle down and keep getting numbers to training and try to keep it going.”


DEVONPORT Services managed to do what no other team has been able to do this season – win away at Newent.

Mike Lewis’ side triumphed 47-30 in a thriller in the Forest of Dean on Saturday to really keep alive their title hopes.

Going into Saturday’s game Newent had won all 10 of their previous home games this season and had seen off other title-hopefuls Chew Valley, St Austell and Thornbury there.

But Services turned on the style second half and their six-try victory has moved them up to third with four games to go.

Although leaders Chew Valley are nine points clear of them, the Somerset side have played a game more and have to visit second-placed St Austell on April 2, while Service will play St Austell on the final day of the campaign.

Devonport certainly know it is all to play for now going into the final month of the campaign.

“The boys know now that they are really in it and that it is going to take a good team to stop us,” said Services’ Stuart Busfield.

Services did lead 20-18 at half-time but they were not happy with their display in the opening 40 minutes.

“We played some of our worst rugby of the season and some of our best rugby all in one day,” said Busfield.

“It’s a very awkward pitch, but we started quite well. However, about 15 minutes before the end of the first half they just went from strength to strength.

“Even though we went in at half-time in the lead by a couple of points, Newent had the ascendancy.

“They are a very good side at home and they know how to play that slope very well.

“But we had some pretty tough words to say to each other at half-time. We talked about where we are in the season and how important the second half was.

“And I couldn’t ask any more of the guys with the way they came out of the blocks second half. We really did show some of our best rugby.

“I would argue that in the second half it was the first time this season where we really did play the right blend of forward power and backs pace and skill. We took our time to dominate up front and that in turn freed up the space for the backs and we unleashed some pretty devastating attacking play which I think was pretty demoralising for them.

“Their coaching team said they had not seen anything like that this season. They congratulated us on our skill set.”

He added: “Because they had not been beaten there, the first and foremost point was for us to focus on just getting the win. Because we did that, we made good decisions and then just built.

“There was some excellent decision-making from Westy (Richard West). He kicked two beautiful drop-goals. When the game was close and was in the balance those two drop-goals just took us that extra score clear.

“I think James McQuillan stole four line-outs and against a really good side like that makes a difference.”

Busfield also has big praise for Devon under-20 prop Oli Symons, who came on in the first half and really impressed in the scrum.

He was also delighted with the team’s discipline in the second half as Newent tried everything to get back into the game.”

Scrum-half Dylan Daley bagged two tries for Services on Saturday, with Toby Lean, Matt Scott, McQuillan and Harrison Reburn also crossing and West kicking the rest of the points.


TAVISTOCK finally ended their long wait for a victory over Bude on Saturday.

Tavistock had lost their last eight meetings against north Cornwall side, but they put that record straight with a 24-19 win in tough conditions at Sandy Park.

It was the first time this season they had beaten a top four team and the win has moved them up to sixth in the standings with four games to go.

“Getting a bonus point win was a great result,” said Tavistock’s Hammy Kerswill.

Tavistock took the lead on five minutes when a gap opened up for Jake Le Gassick to score from nowhere.

Bude did hit back with a driving maul try and Tavistock also lost two front-row players in the opening 38 minutes, with prop Josh O’Neill having to go off with an eye injury and then hooker Kerswill having to leave the field after taking a bang to the head.

But Tavistock got two converted tries before half-time to take a 19-5 lead into the break.

First, replacement hooker Jack Lewis scored a well-worked touch-down influential scrum-half George Hillson claimed an inception try with the last play of the half.

After the interval Bude scored with another driving maul to make it 19-10.

Tavistock found themselves playing against the conditions second half and so chances were few and far between.

But they did produce a good move to enable winger Ed Tait to score in the corner.

“The rest of the game was error-ridden with possession changing hands,” said Kerswill.

Bude did score with three minutes to go to set up a nervous ending for Tavistock, but they were able to hold on for a memorable win.

Fifth-placed Plymstock Albion Oaks ran in 11 tries to ease to a 63-0 win over bottom side Hayle.

It was their biggest win of the season and a good way to celebrate their old boys’ day in their penultimate home fixture of the campaign.

Hayle have really struggled this season but Oaks were pleased that they did make the trip over the Tamar.

“Fair play to them,” said Oaks’ Aiden Taylor.

“But it was a good result for us, especially not conceding any points. It was a good day all-round.”

Backs Corey Jamieson and Alex Chapman both scored hat-tricks for Oaks, with forwards Taylor and Kieran Jamieson both bagging two and George Dunn also going over for a touch-down. Pete Keanie kicked the rest of their points.

Saltash came agonisingly close to beating third-placed Cullompton at Moorlands Lane on Saturday.

The Ashes were leading 19-7 at one point in the second half, but in the end had to settle for a 19-19 draw as conditions deteriorated.

Although they probably felt they should have won they should take great confidence from holding a side who have only lost once – against leaders Pirates Amateurs – since early November.

Saltash took the lead in the seventh minute when Jay Moriarty went over after some good early pressure. Kieran Down added the conversion.

Cullompton gradually worked their way back into the game and were rewarded after 25 minutes with a converted try close to the posts by Archie Stoneman.

The score stayed at 7-7 until the second half.

Saltash opened the second period at pace and Lewis Woolaway raced in for a 49th-minute try which was closely followed four minutes later with a try by Andrew Walsh which again was converted by Kieran Down.

The Ashes, with forwards Ryan Simmons, Ben Simmons and Liall Honey impressing, seemed to be getting a firm grip on the match, but on the hour mark Sam Budgett got a touch-down for the visitors to reduce the home side’s lead to 19-12.

A missed penalty which hit the post on 65 minutes by Saltash seemed to give Cullompton a lift and from a penalty close to the home line Jacob Unwin got a try which was converted by Josh Luxon to bring the score level.

Cullompton pressed late on but good defending by Saltash kept them out.

Liskeard-Looe battled hard at Mennaye Field against leaders Pirates Amateurs but went down 45-3, with James Noel-Johnson scoring their only points from a penalty. Former Plymouth Albion player Rhodri McAtee was among the Pirates’ try scorers.


OPMs were the only Plymouth Combination team in Devon One to play a full 80 minutes of league rugby on Saturday, but they were beaten 34-7 at home by title-chasing Exeter Saracens.

The visitors scored four tries in the opening 23 minutes to lead 24-0 before OPMs made a game of it.

“We were rubbish – absolutely rubbish – for 15 minutes and we let them score three quick tries,” said head coach Rick Orkney. “We simply didn’t tackle and found ourselves 19-0 down before we even started playing.

“They then scored another try about eight minutes later..

“But we finished the first half the stronger and then we turned around with the wind and played well second half. We scored one try and pressed and pressed but they scored a couple of break-out tries – one with the very last move of the game.

“They had two really good players – their number eight and number 13 – and they caused all the damage. We just dropped off tackles, which is our Achilles heel at the moment.”

But Orkney was full of praise for teenage prop Aaron Trinder who came on for his debut.

“He came on at half-time for his debut and he tackled everything and showed everyone how to do it,” said Orkney.

Tamar Saracens’ home league match against Totnes at the Parkway was abandoned after 35 minutes due to a knee injury suffered by a visiting player.

Sarries were already three tries in front and Totnes, who had only travelled with 15 players and had already lost another player with a suspected broken nose, said they wanted to concede the game.

It will now have to go to a panel but it is likely Sarries will be awarded the bonus-point win.

The hosts had taken the lead with a try from close range by Conor Cooper after a great break by James Barlow. Lewis Swatton added the conversion.

And Sarries thought they had scored again straight from the restart through captain Joey Pook, but he was ruled to have been held up.

But they did get a second try on 15 minutes when fly-half Tommy Pullinger powered his way through three defenders to touch-down.

Totnes then had a good spell but lost a player and then Sarries started to turn the screw and Jordan Wilds scored a third try after good play by Pook and scrum-half Rikki Brandham.

However, minutes later the game was brought to an early end.

Old Techs and Plymouth Argaum were both handed walkovers on Saturday.

Exeter Athletic, who had beaten OPMs away last week, surprisingly pulled out of visiting Old Techs, while struggling Dartmouth were unable to raise a team out to face Argaum.

Techs had a sponsors and former players’ day planned and were grateful that Plymstock Albion Oaks IIs agreed to play them after they were also left without a fixture in the Devon Merit Table.

Techs won friendly at Weston Mill 27-5 after initially going 5-0 down.

The hosts ended up scoring five tries courtesy of Ben Hockey (2), Rudi Baker, Ben Lynch and Dan Pullen, with Peni Turua kicking a conversion.

“We were very grateful to Oaks for coming down,” said Techs chairman David Evans.

“It was our sponsors and old boys’ day and they (Exeter Athletic) rang up on Friday night (to cancel), which was really disappointing. But Shaun (Bedford-Smith) did really well to get us another game.

“We needed a game having not played for a month and we also had food laid on, so, like I said, we were grateful to Oaks.”

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