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RUGBY REPORTS: Services dig deep to upset leaders, while Ivybridge claim first away win

DEVONPORT Services have moved up to third in the Regional One South West table after becoming only the second team this season to beat Chew Valley.

Services dug really deep in horrible conditions at the Rectory to triumphed 16-10 and knock Chew of the summit of the table.

Chew had arrived in Plymouth sitting pretty at the top of the standings, with nine wins out of 10.

But Services, keen to make up for their frustrating narrow loss against Ivybridge in their last outing, were fired up for the game and went 16-3 up early in the second half.

Chew cut that lead to six points midway through the second period, but Services produced an outstanding defensive display in the final 20 minutes to secure four valuable points.

“It was cracking,” said Services head coach Ben Russell on his side’s win. “Our defence and physicality were awesome – and that’s why we won the game.

“We controlled the ball in the first half – we played the conditions well. Potentially we could have been up by a little bit more, but they had the wind second half and they came back at us.

“In the last 10 or 15 minutes we were camped in our own half. They scored one try and then they just kept and kept on coming but we just defended so hard. The boys were brilliant.

“Our scrum went well and it was a proper, huge defensive performance to win that game.”

Kieran Down, playing at fly-half in the absence of the injured Richard West, kicked three penalties in the first 23 minutes to put Services 9-0 up.

Chew full-back Tom Bryan cut the gap to 9-3 with a penalty of his own six minute before half-time.

But nine minutes into the second half, Devonport went 16-3 ahead with a try from hooker Sam Bennett from a catch-and-drive move and Down added the extras.

However, in the 62nd minute, Chew made it a one score game with a converted try by winger Joe Webb.

Chew threw everything at Services in the final quarter, but the hosts refused to give in and defended their line brilliantly.

Ivybridge finally claimed their first away win of the season with a hard-earned 16-12 victory Drybrook.

The Bridgers had to come back from 12-6 down at half-time to claim the four points, which keeps them in sixth place.

The success in Gloucestershire followed on from a victory over Devonport Services in their last match.

It is the first time since the start of the season that they have claimed back-to-back wins.

“It was our first away win, so we are really pleased with that,” said director of rugby Jamie Tripcony.

“The pitch was in good condition. It was a little bit wet, but not as bad as we thought it was going to be.

“We did go down by a couple of scores but we chipped away with some penalties and then started the second half really, really well and scored the only try of the game through Charlie Briant.”

Tripcony admitted there had been a real desire to try and get that long-awaited away victory.

“We were well aware that we needed to get that monkey off our back and we went there with a game-plan and we really stuck to that,” he said. “Everyone bought into the game-plan and we were able to apply a lot of pressure.

“Even though we went a couple of scores behind we always felt that we could get control of the game and dictate the pace.

“Our kickers really controlled the game for us and our forwards helped us get on the front foot. The guys were just relentless in that, which was really pleasing.”

Drybook took their kicks in the first half to lead 12-6, with Matt Grieveson kicking two for Ivybridge.

Grieveson cut the gap to four points with another penalty before Briant scored in the corner after some good phases by Ivybridge. Grieveson added the conversion to make it 16-12 and Ivybridge did not allow the hosts to get back into it.


PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks have dropped to second from bottom in Western West after they were beaten 45-15 at Wiveliscombe.

It was Oaks’ sixth defeat in a row and they now face three massive games before Christmas against fellow bottom half teams Kingsbridge, Paignton and Penryn.

Oaks were missing a host of players for this weekend’s match and they found Wiveliscombe really up for the contest after losing their last three games.

The tightness of the league shows in the fact that Saturday’s win lifted the Somerset club from seventh up to fourth.

Oaks did manage two tries at the weekend, with Corey Jamieson and Dion Todd crossing the whitewash at the Recreation Ground and Pete Keanie kicking one conversion and a penalty.

Oaks may have dropped to second from bottom but they are only five points behind eighth-placed Kingsbridge, who they host in a big game at Horsham Fields this coming Saturday.


TAVISTOCK have moved eight points clear at the top of Counties Two Devon after seeing off title rivals Honiton 35-27 away in an entertaining contest played in wet conditions.

Tavistock scored five tries in east Devon, with scrum-half George Hillson bagging yet another hat-trick to go with five conversions.

The visitors were 21-6 up at half-time and then went 28-9 ahead early in the second half but Honiton did come back to make a game of it.

“It was a pretty end-to-end game, considering the conditions,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy.

“Every time we scored, we would do something silly like knock-on, be offside or give away a penalty and we let them claw themselves back into it. But the lads to a man dogged it out.

“I’m happy and the lads are happy.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game and they are the best team we have faced this season.

“It was an attritional game, but at the same time very open.

“It should be interesting when they come to our place on hopefully a dry day.”

Hillson scored an early try, which he also converted, before forward Andrew Schuttacker crossed to make it 14-0.

Honiton did kick two penalties to close the gap before HIllson got his second touch-down of the afternoon to give his side a 21-6 lead at the break.

Honiton kicked an early penalty at the start of the second half before replacement Jack Osborne got a fourth try for the visitors to make it 28-9.

But back came Honiton with two penalties and a converted try to close the gap to just six points.

Tavistock captain Hillson, though, pulled his side away with another try to make it 35-22.

Honiton did score a second try late in the game but it was not enough to secure them any points and as a result they dropped down to third in the table, with Torquay moving up to second at the halfway point of the season.

Sixth-placed Ivybridge II are closing in on the teams above them after they earned a hard-fought 24-20 win over Withycombe at Cross-in-Hand in wet and windy conditions.

A converted try by replacement Olly Bragg 10 minutes from time secured the Bridgers the win.

Fourth-placed Withycombe had gone 10-0 up early on with a Harry Symons penalty and then a converted try by Joe Blyth.

But Ivybridge levelled with tries by centre Callum Griffiths and scrum-half Luke Evans.

The hosts then picked up two yellow cards within the space of two minutes and while they were down to 13 men, Withycombe went 15-10 ahead thanks to another Blyth try.

Ivybridge edged two points in front early in the second half with a converted touch-down by forward George Montgomery.

Yet, in a competitive match, Withycombe responded again and went 20-17 ahead with a score from George Doughty.

The visitors, though, were not in front for long as Bragg scored the decisive try in the 70th minute, which was converted by Hayden Coles.

Devonport Services II remain in the bottom three after they went down 33-0 away at Barnstaple II.


SALTASH bounced back from their first league defeat in 15 games with a hard-earned 16-10 away victory at St Austell II.

In tough wet and windy conditions at Tregorrick Park, Saltash sealed the win thanks to a late Lewis Stuart penalty and then a try by forward Lewis Wells.

This was always going to be a tough trip for Saltash, especially following on from last week’s disappointing loss away at title-rivals St Ives.

Fourth-placed St Austell II were unbeaten at home before Saturday and had produced some impressive wins to keep the pressure on the top three.

The victory keeps Saltash in touch with leaders St Ives, who still have to visit Moorlands Lane, as well as go to St Austell and Veor in the final month of the season.

Saltash at least know that they have got two of their toughest away games out of the way in the first half of the campaign.

St Austell, with a lively pack, did give Saltash a difficult time, particularly in the first half on Saturday.

The slippery ball produced mistakes that broke up promising attacks and there was much kicking in the early stages of the game.

Saltash took the lead after 18 minutes from a Stuart penalty, but St Austell soon hit back with a similar score.

The Saints, who have been running in big scores at home, went 10-3 ahead in the 31st minute after scoring a converted try from a drive.

The Ashes continued to defend well as St Austell pressed to extend their advantage.

And Saltash almost got a try just before the interval when Devon Bennett-Murray broke through, only to be tackled just short of the line.

The visitors got a great second half start with a try from Will Morton after 41 minutes following good running from the backs.

After that Saltash slowly took control of the game although St Austell were still a threat.

More determined Ashes play led to a 73rd-minute penalty in front of the posts which Stuart kicked to edged the visitors 11-10 in front.

With the lights on a Treggorrick Park, Saltash drove into the St Austell 22 and eventually Wells sealed a deserved win over a tiring home side with a try on the left wing.

Liskeard-Looe have moved up to seventh in the table after they edged out Helston 7-0 away.


TWO Lewis Swatton penalties in the final 20 minutes secured leaders Tamar Saracens a narrow 14-10 victory over their big rivals Old Techs in horrendous conditions at Weston Mill on Saturday.

Conditions could hardly have been much worse for this eagerly-awaited Plymouth derby. Not only was it incredibly wet and windy and slippery underfoot, but most of the second half was played in darkness.

It was such a shame the weather ruined what was expected to be a really entertaining contest and also reduced the crowd for a game that was marking Techs’ 90th anniversary.

Yet there were still quite a few people that did brave the conditions to watch a game that was always likely to be a tight affair.

Sixth-placed Techs made a good start and took the lead in the third minute with a penalty from Tom Ryan.

Sarries were struggling with their line-out but had dominance in the scrums, which did prove crucial in the second half.

And the visitors managed to score the first try of the game when scrum-half Jacob Blasdale sneaked over from a maul in the 22nd minute of the game.

Techs missed with a long-range penalty five minutes later before Sarries went 8-3 ahead with a kick by Swatton.

However, in first half injury-time, Techs lock James Douglas forced his way over from the close range for try, which Ryan converted to give the hosts a 10-8 lead at the break.

The worry for both teams was that it might get too dark to complete the full 80 minutes and so both were desperate for the next score.

Sarries missed with a penalty on 51 minutes and then wasted a great try scoring chance five minutes later.

The visitors did dominant territory in the second period and Techs, who had lost Billy Evans with an injury at half-time, found it really hard to get out of their half due to the wind and the fact that they were getting pushed off scrums.

Swatton finally edged Sarries one point in front in the 64th minute with a penalty before he added another in the 80th minute.

The referee did decide there was still time for one more play after Swatton’s late penalty but Techs were not able to make it tell.

It was their second narrow derby defeat of the month, having got down 11-7 also in wet and windy conditions to Plymouth Argaum.

“It is sad as that’s another game we have lost narrowly,” said head coach Dean Oram.

“We know we are there or there abouts, but it is just about improving that little bit more so we can actually start winning these games instead of losing them.

“Every game we have lost we have come off the pitch and known where we need to improve.

“We know where we need to get better, but it will take time. As I have said before, we are on our own journey and our time will come.”

He added: “Our scrum struggled so in that second half we couldn’t really relieve any pressure. We won all our line-outs – we were definitely better in the line-outs – but we couldn’t play any rugby in their half because they destroyed our scrum basically.”

Tamar Saracens’ director of rugby Pete Lethbridge admitted he always felt it was going to be a tight game.

“I didn’t expect anything else really, especially in these conditions – they were atrocious,” he said.

“There is never a big margin between the two teams.

“I thought out scrummaging was outstanding – we really put it to them – but our line-outs were a bit hit and miss. The backs did not really have a lot of ball due to the conditions.

“But we are really happy with those four points. We weren’t bothered about the bonus point, it was just about getting the four.

“They (Techs) will do well this season, to be fair, but we just had enough in the end to get over the line.

“The boys put in a good slog – a real good effort – but we have another toughie next week against Argaum. Hopefully, the weather conditions will be a little bit better.”

Second-placed Plymouth Argaum’s game away at Paignton II was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch

Plymstock Albion Oaks II find themselves bottom of the table after they surprisingly lost 38-17 at home to fellow strugglers Totnes, who have now moved above them.

In Counties Two Devon East, second-placed OPMs were surprisingly handed a walkover by Cullompton II, who have dropped from third to fifth after forfeiting the game.

The five points OPMs got keeps them just one point behind leaders Crediton II and they are now 12 points ahead of third-placed Tiverton II.

In the Devon Merit Table, OPM Jesters played out a thrilling 32-32 draw at Torquay Athletic II, while all the other games in that league were postponed.

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