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RUGBY REPORTS: Services lift Devon Senior Shield in Lewis’ final home match

MIKE LEWIS got the home send off he wanted as Devonport Services lifted the Devon Senior Shield on Saturday by beating Crediton 36-21 at the Rectory.

Lewis is stepping down from his role as Devonport’s head coach at the end of this season due to work and family commitments.

Saturday’s cup final was his final match in charge at the Rectory, but he will have one more game as head coach – a South West One West promotion and possible title-decider at St Austell this coming Saturday.

Services’ celebrations for lifting the county cup at the weekend were quite muted and Lewis thinks part of the reason for that was because his team’s main focus is on trying to get that vital victory at St Austell.

“It is great to win a cup, but I think we were all exhausted trying to make sure of the win, hence the muted celebrations. Plus, I think everyone has an eye on next week,” said Lewis.

“This cup win does mean a huge amount to the club, but everyone knows if we do the same next week we will be as high as kites. That would just be fantastic and would trump this.”

Saturday’s win was a lot harder than the final scoreline appears. Services did look quite comfortable leading 25-11 at half-time, but they lost their way after the break and Crediton pulled it back to 25-21 early in the second period. However, two Richard West penalties and a try with the last play of the game made sure of the victory.

“I think in the first 20 minutes of the game we looked unstoppable,” said Lewis. “We were fantastic – we ran around them and got a few points on the board.

“But they then spoilt a couple of our balls and got a couple of turnovers and really put us under pressure towards the end of the first half.

“It just went backwards and forwards then – it was a typical cup final, which I thought was great.

“I thought the way both teams applied themselves that either could have won it at any point.”

He added: “But in that second half we just didn’t come out of the blocks. We let them into the game and when we did get the ball we just kicked it straight back down their throats. We put ourselves under pressure and they took full advantage of that.

“Yet as we have shown all year, we are quite a resilient team even when our backs are against the wall and we do dig in really well. And we did that and then in the last 10 minutes we had a bit of flurry and scored that try at the end which finished the game off perfectly for us.”

Services took the lead in the fourth minute with a try by Andy Pond following a catch-and-drive move. West brilliantly converted from the touchline and then he added a penalty two minutes later to put his side 10-0.

Crediton fly-half Ollie Avery-Wright cut the gap with a penalty on 13 minutes before visiting winger Bobby Saunders scored in the corner after Services had messed up a line-out in their own 22 and Crediton attacked quickly across the line.

Devonport, who were looking dangerous with scrum-half Dylan Daley and centre Tom Richards making strong runs, did get a second try on 24 minutes. They were awarded a kickable penalty but opted for the corner and it proved the right decision as prop Greg Thomas got the ball down over the whitewash to make it 15-8.

Avery-Wright and West exchanged penalties before Services centre Harrison Reburn scored a fine team try in the left corner. The move was started with a break by scrum-half Daley down the right before some good recycling and passing saw the ball come out to Reburn on the left. West again brilliantly converted from the touchline to make it 25-11.

But second half, Services just could not get going and after they were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes, Crediton took full advantage with pacy winger Devon Hosegood, who was celebrating his birthday, scoring two fine tries in the left to make it a one-score game.

Avery-Wright then missed a penalty that could have put his side just one point behind and five minutes later West kicked one at the other end to put his team 28-21 ahead.

The experienced Devonport fly-half then kicked another three-pointer to make it 31-21.

Crediton continued to press and Devonport were reduced in numbers again when full-back Rhys Williams was yellow carded, but Services defended well and with the last play of the game Reburn bagged his second try of the afternoon to end the final on a high.


TAVISTOCK and Saltash will battle it out for the Lockie Cup on Wednesday night at the Rectory after they both saw off lower league sides on Saturday.

Tavistock turned on the style to beat Devon One team OPMs 80-28 at Sandy Park, with scrum-half George Hillson amazingly bagging 40 of the home side’s points, while fellow Cornwall/Devon League outfit Saltash overcame a spirited Plymouth Argaum side 50-27 at Bickleigh Down.

It should be a good final on Wednesday between two in-form teams.

Tavistock did the damage against OPMs on Saturday in the first half where they ran in 54 answered points.

OPMs did come back in the second period and scored four converted tries, to win that half 28-26, but it was too little too late.

The game at Sandy Park, though, was marred by a worrying back injury to young OPMs flanker Aaron Trinder just before half-time. He was taken to hospital but fortunately an MRI scan did come back clear.

Tavistock coach Joel Caddy was full of praise for his team’s first half display in the cup semi-final.

“In the first half we were scary,” he said. “We played probably the best rugby we have played this season.

“But all credit to OPMs, they were 54-0 at half-time but they came back in the second half and scored four tries and took it to us.”

Tavistock scored 12 tries and 10 conversions. Hillson got four of the tries and all the conversions. Conor Packwood got a hat-trick and Darren Guppy got two touch-downs, while George Cole, Richard Cann, and Charlie Brown also scored tries for the hosts.

OPMs’ second half tries came from James Robinson, Pete Regan, Billy Garrett and Alex Jewell, with Fred Smale converting them all.

OPM’s head coach Rick Orkney said: “We didn’t have a bad side out, but we didn’t really play in the first half. We did win the second half 28-26. But first half, against the wind, we just didn’t play. I think we gave them a bit too much respect and sat off too much.

“We were poor first half, but they were so much better than us so you can’t really be too critical of our players.”

Meanwhile at Bickleigh Down, Saltash did not quite have it their own way as Argaum pushed them hard for 50 minutes. However, Saltash’s fitness and speed told late in the game as they made sure of another Plymouth Combination cup final appearance.

Kristian Davis kicked an early penalty for Saltash, but Argaum hit back with one of their won.

Will Morton then went in for the game’s first try before the influential Davis bagged one to make it 17-3.

But Argaum came back with a try by Darren Ewers to make the half-time score 17-10.

And the Devon One hosts caught their higher league opponents sleeping at the start of the second period as they levelled the game with a converted try by Ellery Jones.

But this seemed to spur on Saltash and they immediately responded with a flurry of tries through Will Morton (2), Lewis Woolaway and Kieran Down to take a 45-17.

Mistakes were made by both sides and Saltash held Argaum out with some determined tackling until Tom Worboys got over after some good forward work to make it 45-22

Jay Moriarty completed the Saltash scoring eight minutes from time with a well-worked left wing try before Tom Holliday scored a fourth try for Argaum in the final minute.

“It was a good effort from us to be fair, but they were just younger and fitter,” said Argaum’s Brett Stroud.

“They deserved to win in the end, but for a cup semi-final I would have liked my best team and I didn’t quite have that.

“We probably had the upper-hand in the arm-wrestling and contact situations – the bigger hits were coming from us and we were mixing it up with them – but they had some speedy, athletic players and they did us on the outside.

“It was just the last 20 minutes when they pulled away.

“The squad we have is good and the boys have been good to me this year but compared to them we are not quite fit enough. They are a higher league up, but that’s where we want to be and I think we have got the players.”

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