REGIONAL ONE SOUTH WEST
IVYBRIDGE claimed their biggest win of the season as they saw off Devon rivals Okehampton 42-18 at Cross-in-Hand on Saturday in Regional One South West.
The victory has moved the Bridgers back up to fifth in the table and was the perfect way to make up for their narrow 28-27 Devon Cup defeat Okehampton earlier this month.
The first half was tight on Saturday, with the hosts just edging the opening 40 minutes 13-10.
But Ivybridge turned on the style second half and ran in four tries after the interval.
They were boosted by the return to the starting line-up of Ben Watts, Charlie Briant and Adam Northcott, who all had big games.
But also catching the eye were summer signings Kristian Davis and Will Peakman, who both scored tries and were highly influential in attack and defence.
Young centre Davis produced the type of performance that he regularly produced for Saltash last season and he seemed to grow in confidence after scoring his first try in Ivybridge colours.
Director of rugby Jamie Tripcony was certainly delighted with the victory – his side’s fourth in five games at home.
“It was very pleasing as we needed that win,” said Tripcony.
“We pride ourselves on playing well at home and we have certainly targeted that.
“We were pleased with the intensity we showed. It was close in that first half. We had a good 10-minute spell with the ball and we managed to get some points, which was pleasing, but so to was our defensive effort to keep them out. They did chuck the kitchen sink at us at times.
“But we had a feeling that if we kept the ball and went multi-phase we would stretch away, but we also knew that was not going to happen within five minutes.”
He added: “It was a good performance and I think the guys really deserved that with all the effort they have been putting in.
“The guys have been training hard and we have been talking about how performance is all about preparation. We have been feeling that the preparation has been there, but maybe we just haven’t always been getting the results. So it was pleasing to see all the guys’ hard work really pay off.”
Ivybridge started well and had plenty of early pressure but could not make it tell and Okehampton took the lead with a Dan Fogerty penalty on their first real foray into the opposite half.
But straight away the Bridgers pulled level with a Matt Grieveson penalty after pressure from the restart.
And it got better for the hosts two minutes later when, after a great 50-22 kick, hooker Ben Collins scored from a catch-and-drive move and Grieveson added the conversion.
Ivybridge extended their lead to 13-3 with another Grieveson penalty, but just before half-time the hosts had the energetic Jacob Gaskin yellow carded and Okehampton’s experienced scrum-half Richard Bolt scored a converted try from a quick tap penalty.
The visitors had the chance to pull level on the stroke of half-time with a long-range penalty but Leon Horn’s effort fell short.
However, straight after the interval Fogerty did kick a penalty to equalise, but then suddenly Ivybridge came to life.
Six minutes into the second period Grieveson, who had an influential game at fly-half, scored a try in the left corner, which he also converted, after good play by Briant.
And nine minutes later Ivybridge scored a really well-worked try from a line-out in the middle of the park. They left number eight Northcott out of the line and when the ball came to him, he burst through the middle before feeding Davis, who beat the last man and ran in from 35 metres to score his first try at level five.
That was quickly followed by a great effort from Peakman, who produced an outrageous dummy to beat the full-back and run in under the posts. Grieveson continued his good form with the boot with another conversion before adding a penalty.
Bolt did get a second try for the visitors four minutes from time after they had been reduced to 14 men.
However, the final word went to Ivybridge with winger Cameron Dale scoring in the left corner and Grieveson adding the conversion.
Devonport Services have moved up to third in the table after beating Drybook 31-20 away on Saturday.
It was Services’ sixth win in eight matches since their promotion to level five – and impressively it was their fourth in five games on their travels.
They have now made their three longest trips of the season to Drybrook, Old Centralians and Lydney. The furthest journey they will have to make now until March is to Camborne.
Head coach Ben Russell says his team have been enjoying their travels this season and he was happy to return with another five points on Saturday.
“It was good,” he said. “I’m very happy.
“To win away from home you need good defensive and good discipline and we got most of that right for most of the game.
“I did say beforehand that if we got most of it right we would win and we did. It was nowhere near our best performance of the year, but we did enough – we got the right things right to win the game.”
Services, though, made a terrible start in Gloucestershire and conceded a try after just 35 seconds.
But they pulled level with a Rhys Williams try, which Kieran Down converted.
Down then kicked a penalty before scrum-half Dylan Daley added a second try for Devonport, who led 17-14 at half-time.
Matt Gregory and Matt Neyle added further touch-downs to give Services the bonus point and move them clear of Drybrook.
“They (Drybook) kept on coming,” said Russell. “But we are doing really well on the road at the moment and we really knuckled down and we never give in. That’s what we are doing well at the moment.”
He added: “We scored some good team tries. We moved the ball really well and found the space and we were also very dominant in the scrum.”
Down continued his 100 per cent record since taking over the kicking duties for Services, with four conversions and a penalty on Saturday.
COUNTIES ONE WESTERN WEST
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks picked up two bonus points in a narrow 31-24 home defeat to high-flying Topsham on Saturday in Western West.
The visitors went 24-12 ahead at half-time but Oaks kept going and managed to get four tries courtesy of Corey Jamieson (2), Aiden Taylor and Pete Keanie and finished within a score of the east Devon opponents.
“It was a close game towards the end,” said player-coach Taylor, who has scored 10 tries in eight games this season. “But they scored a few quick tries and we were always trying to claw back points.
“They are a good outfit – their backs are electric and they can move the ball so well. We weren’t good enough in the wide channels and kept giving them opportunities to break the line.
“We just weren’t very disciplined and had a lot of penalties against us and we just switched off at times.
“But it wasn’t a massive defeat and we picked up two points, which we are happy about. We worked hard to get back into the game.
“We were disappointed with how we gave them points – we did gift them a couple. If we hadn’t done that it would have been even closer at the finish.”
He added: “We were camped in their half for most of the game but their tries came from breakaways.
“We beat them in the first half in the scrum and we had them all game in the line-out, that’s what’s frustrating.
“But after the game, on reflection, we know these two points could be massive for us in terms of the league.”
COUNTIES TWO CORNWALL
SALTASH produced possibly their best performance of the season to destroy previously unbeaten Veor 70-10 in a top-of-table clash at Moorlands Lane on Saturday.
The Ashes, who have not failed to score more than 50 points in a game this term, ran in 12 tries, with both Will Morton and Ryan Rayner bagging hat-tricks.
The south east Cornwall club are a third of the way through the season and are still averaging more than 67 points per game and have only conceded an average of eight.
But, despite the ease that they have seen off Veor and Redruth II in their last two games, they will know that they will probably face their biggest test of the campaign this coming week when they visit St Ives, who have an almost identical record and who beat Redruth II 62-10 away on Saturday.
Saltash, though, will head to west Cornwall in confident mood.
They were 41-3 up at half-time against Veor following a dominant first half display.
Winger Morton continued his recent fine form with the opening try after just seven minutes which Ryan Cruickshanks converted and four minutes later Morton crossed the field to touch down for another on the left wing.
Veor cut the gap to 12-3 with a penalty on 16 minutes but then Saltash just ran away with the game.
Greg Eatwell increased the home lead with a well-worked try on 19 minutes before Ryan Simmons went in for a converted touch-down after some good team play.
Number eight Rayner then charged in for his three tries just before half time.
The Ashes dominated Veor with their open style of rugby that gave the visitors little chance to threaten the home line.
The second period started with Veor pressing the Ashes line but without managing to get any points on the board before Morton and Cruickshanks took the score to 51-3.
Saltash continued to dominate and forward Lewis Wells picked up a loose ball and ran though from the halfway line to score under the posts on the hour.
Jay Moriarty was next to score on the left wing but Veor managed to cross the home line with a converted try during a rare visit to the Saltash half.
Phil Eatwell completed the scoring for the Ashes four minutes from time.
Once again the Saltash forwards combined well with the backs and Axel Nicks had an outstanding game, having come in to the starting line-up at hooker, and full-back Cruickshanks kicked five conversions.
Elsewhere in the division, Liskeard-Looe were beaten 40-5 by fourth-placed St Austell II, who appear to be finding some strong form and could threaten Saltash and St Ives.
COUNTIES TWO DEVON
LEADERS Tavistock got back to winning ways on Saturday but they had to dig deep to see off Ivybridge II 34-26 at Sandy Park.
Tavistock, who had suffered their first defeat of the season at Withycombe the previous Saturday, trailed 18-10 at half-time, but they found their form in the second half and had George Hillson scoring four tries as they claimed the full five points.
“They (Ivybridge) are probably the best team we have played this season,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy.
“The wind did make it a bit one-ended and they had a 10 that made us pay with a few kicks – I think they got three 50-22s.
“It was 18-10 in the first half to them and you could almost argue we were lucky it was that close.
“We made a lot of unforced errors at times, just silly little things. Early on we didn’t look after the ball.
“But at the start of the second half we tightened it up and got back into it and didn’t make those silly little errors.”
Tavistock had gone 10-0 up early on with a Hillson penalty before he added a converted try.
But Ivybridge hit back with two Luke Martell penalties and tries from Matt Dayment and Harrison Legge.
After the interval Seb Cox closed the gap for Tavistock with a try before Martell kicked another penalty for the visitors to make it 21-15.
However, then Hillson, who switched from fly-half to scrum-half, took charge and he went over for three second half tries that put his side 34-21.
Sam Wilmington did get a late try for Ivybridge, but it wasn’t enough to secure them any points.
“I hate to think how many scrums there were,” said Tavistock’s Caddy. “That might make it sound like a dour affair but it was fairly end-to-end and quite an entertaining game. Both teams wanted to play with it rather than just stick up the jumper.
“We improved on most of what we wanted to improve on from last week, but there were a few things that went a bit pear-shaped at times.”
Devonport Services II are beginning to find some form in the league and beat Exmouth II 42-5 at the Rectory on Saturday.
That followed on from a victory over high-flying Torquay Athletic the previous week.
Services did the damage against Exmouth in the first half as they stormed into a 37-0 lead.
Jack Darragh (2), Cieran Poat, Joe Brearley and Sam Bennett scored first half tries, with Matt Richards kicking three conversions and two penalties.
After the interval, Matt Richards bagged a try, while Elliott Fielding went over for a consolation effort for Exmouth II.
COUNTIES THREE DEVON AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
OPMs are continuing to set the pace at the top of Counties Three Devon East after convincingly beating Tiverton II 62-0 at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.
It was the Old Boys’ sixth straight win of the season and keeps them top of the table.
The season may only be a third of the way through but it is already looking like a three-horse race in that division with OPMs, Cullompton II and Crediton II well ahead of the rest.
OPMs, who were 27-0 up at half-time, ran in nine tries on Saturday, with influential full-back Fred Smale bagging four to add to a penalty and a conversion. His younger brother Matt also chipped in with six conversions, while Billy Garratt, Ben Neville, Jake Aquilina, Adam Jarrod and Ethan Millard also went over for tries.
“We just snuck a win last week, but we deserved it, although it wasn’t pretty. However, this week we played really well. I’m really pleased and the boys are happy,” said OPMs head coach Andy Williams.
“Everything we have talked about for weeks and trained for came together.
“They (Tiverton) weren’t a bad team – they came at us for the first 15 minutes – but we stepped up and defended really well and then used the ball really intelligently – we didn’t throw it away or force passes like we have been doing in other games, trying to make that wonder pass. It was just really simple and straight forward.
“We had a strong bench out and were able to use those players really well.
“It is all coming together, but we still have to play Crediton and Cullompton.”
In Devon West, Old Techs’ impressive five-game winning run came to an end on Saturday as they were beaten 15-3 away at leaders Topsham II.
Tom Ryan had given Techs the lead at Bonfire Field but Topsham scored just before half-time and then after it through Will Collins and Sean Harrison to take a 10-3 lead. Ed Farmer then sealed a tight game late on.
“To be fair, we played really well,” said Old Techs chairman David Evans.
“We were away against a good side, who are coached by the Chiefs and whose coach (Ricky Pellow) played. You could tell they are coached well and they are a good side.
“It was a tight game and I am really proud of the boys. We played really well, despite having a lot of boys out and a few making their debuts.
“Obviously, we are a little disappointed, but at the same time we know we played well.
“In a season you are going to lose matches but it is about how you lose and I was proud of how we played.
“You can see there is a structure to our game now and there is a really good camaraderie around the club.”
Techs, missing the likes of Will Booth, Joel Dickin and Ben Hockey, handed debuts to James Bothma, Al Murray and Nathan Webb, who is new to rugby.
They will be looking to bounce back next week when they host city rivals Plymouth Argaum at Weston Mill.
Argaum were handed a walkover this week by Plymstock Albion Oaks II, while Tamar Saracens were also handed a walkover by Teignmouth II.
Sarries, Argaum and Techs are all in the top five of the division and are separated by just five points.
In the Devon Merit Table, Plympton Victoria made it three wins in a row with a hard-earned 14-12 victory over Tavistock II at St Mary’s Field.
Jordan Blair and Frazer Tatchell scored their tries, with Blair crucially converting both to help his side to four points.
They have now won three of their opening four games and sit in the top three behind Kingsbridge II and Torquay II.
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