Higher league Tavistock won the warm-up game 19-0 thanks to tries from Martin Budden, Angus Hogg and Jack Osborne and two conversions from scrum-half George Hillson.
But Tamar Saracens, under a new coaching set-up headed by former Devonport Services boss Mike Lewis, gave them a much sterner test than they did at this point last season when they were beaten 42-0 at Sandy Park.
Sarries, despite having a host of players away, looked far more organised than last year and their set-piece stood up well against Tavistock’s. New scrum-half signing Matty Cates also gave evidence that he could be a valuable addition to the Sarries squad.
Meanwhile, Tavistock’s speedy backs always looked a threat on Friday and produced some good breaks and off-loads but just could not finish them all off.
Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy said: “I’m happy enough. We had a hell of a lot of players so I had to make a lot of changes, but they all went on and did their bit and it did not really affect us. We kept doing what we wanted to do.
“We had four colts from last year step up and put in a shift and they didn’t look out of place.
“It was a good hard game. Tamar were better than they were when we played them last year.”
Caddy said he felt his team could have had a few more tries after making some good breaks.
“If that had been us at the end of last season we would have probably converted them as we were in a purple patch then,” he said. “We set that benchmark at the end of last season and that is what we have to live up to.”
Tamar Saracens new head coach Mike Lewis said: “We are really happy with the way we played. Results in pre-season don’t really matter, but the performance was a real good foundation to move on from.”
He added: “One of their tries in the first half was a knock-on on our line and they just fell over the line and the one at the other end could have been a forward pass, but there could have been lots of different calls in the game.
“We have to look at the silver linings. We could have got a couple of scores early on if we had just stuck to the structures a bit more, but we are changing the whole style of how they play and it is going to take a bit of time, which is why we need to get these games going.
“We have got quite a few at a wedding this weekend which meant we knew we weren’t going to have plenty of numbers, but we organised the fixture and got on with it.
“I think the players that played really did emphasise the way we want to play. The energy they played with was fantastic, especially in defence – you could really see them working for each other.
Tavistock nearly scored from the kick-off but Sarries did well to keep them out. The hosts even survived having a man sin-binned in the 13th minute.
But in the 26th minute, just as Sarries were beginning to threaten, Tavistock scored the game’s opening try when Budden crossed on the right after some great play from a line-out on the left near the halfway line.
Early in the second half, Tavistock got a third and final try when Osborne went over from close range after some good off-loading.
Sarries pressured Tavistock’s line towards the end but just could not get the try they wanted.
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