In-form Tavistock and Saltash ready to battle it out for the Lockie Cup

THE eagerly-awaited Lockie Cup final between Tavistock and Saltash takes place at the Rectory tonight (7.30pm).

Both Cornwall/Devon League clubs go into the top Plymouth Combination final, which is returning after an absence of three years, in fine form.

Saltash are unbeaten in six league and cup games, while Tavistock have only lost once – by just one score away at high-flying Cullompton – in their last five matches.

Both sides have also been running in lots of tries in recent weeks, with their backs particularly prominent.

“I don’t think we will see much nine-man rugby, if I’m honest,” said Tavistock’s head coach Joel Caddy ahead of the final.

“Let’s hope and pray we can stick on a final that suits the occasion.

“It should be an interesting night and a good end to the season.”

Both Tavistock and Saltash have named strong sides for the showpiece event.

Tavistock, who beat OPMs 80-28 on Saturday in their semi-final, bring co-captain Martin Budden and full-back Rob Grove back into the starting line-up, with George Hillson and Jack Easton continuing their dangerous half-back partnership.

Saltash, who beat Plymouth Argaum 50-27 away in their semi-final, are missing goalkicker Kieran Down, but they do welcome back experienced full-back Ryan Cruickshanks, scrum-half Jack Pritchard and Cornwall forward Lewis Wells.

Highly-rated youngster Kirstian Davis, who has made a big impression since coming into the team, keeps the number 10 jersey, with Ollie Crawford, who made his debut against Argaum at the weekend, named on the bench.

Tavistock won both league meetings between the sides, triumphing 41-26 at Sandy Park in January and narrowly winning 10-6 at Moorlands Lane in October.

Tavistock team: Rob Grove, George Cole, Jake Le Gassick, Andrew Craddock, Conor Packwood, Jack Easton, George Hillson (cc), Darren Guppy, Hammy Kerswill, Josh O’Neill, Charlie Brown, Seb Cox, Jack Osborne, Martin Budden (cc), Jamie Legg. Reps: Jack Lewis, Richard Cann, Rob Hockin, Hallam Bourton.

Saltash team: Ryan Cruickshanks, Andy Walsh, Will Morton, Danny Snook, Jay Moriarty, Kristian Davis, Jack Pritchard, Simon Nance, Dale Thompson, Adam Coutts, Lewis Woolaway, Liall Honey, Lewis Wells, Fin Jones, Phil Eatwell ©. Reps: Ben Simmons, Colm Rich, Chris Carpenter, Ollie Crawford.

Tavistock will have a busy night as their second team are also in the Ellis Trophy against Devonport Services III at 6pm.

The Tavistock II were unlucky not to reach the David Butt Trophy semi-finals in the Devon Merit Table but will be unsure what to expect from Devonport Services III, which will be a mix of veterans and youngsters.

Admission in the cup finals night is £5 for adults (cash only), with under-16s free.

The Plymouth Combination have asked spectators not to part on the streets next to the ground to avoid problems for residents.

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