IVYBRIDGE made it three wins in a row in Regional One South West with an impressive 42-24 victory away at Weston-supre-Mare.
Their success on Saturday followed on from an away victory at Drybook last weekend and a derby home triumph over Devonport Services.
Although they stay in sixth spot despite the five points at the weekend, they only three points behind fourth-placed Services and six behind third-placed Brixham.
“We’re very pleased,” said Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony after Saturday’s win in Somerset. “We are building momentum nicely and have had two big wins away from home.”
Ivybridge were 10-7 down at half-time but pulled away in a 10-minute spell towards the end of the game.
“We were first on the scoreboard but we then allowed Weston into the game,” said Tripcony.
“I think the half-time score was 10-7 to them and we didn’t really have control of the game.
“But we got in at half-time and discussed how we needed to keep our composure and work at keeping possession and we absolutely did that.
“It was still a bit up and down in the second half – we would score and then Weston would score.
“We had to use our whole bench within 30 minutes as we picked up a couple of injuries so that was difficult to manage but the guys really stuck at it and we controlled territory a lot better in the second half and used the wind well. We also played some good attacking rugby that allowed us to pull away and score three tries in the space of 10 minutes.”
Flanker Ben Mallett had given Ivybridge an early lead but they then lost Sam Brown and Seb Musgrave with injuries and also found themselves down to 14 men for 10 minutes with Ben Watts picking up a yellow card. While the Bridgers were a man short, Weston scored a try through number eight Ben Cox and James MacKay kicked a penalty.
Ivybridge went back in front 10 minutes into the second half when debutant prop James McFarlane, who has signed on-loan from Plymouth Albion after a spell at Devonport Services earlier this season, scored and Matt Grieveson added the conversion.
Centre Charlie Briant then scored another try for the visitors but Weston came back with a touch-down from Cameron Maslen and another from Harry Butland to take a 24-21 lead.
Injuries left Ivybridge having to play with 14 players in the closing stages, but they showed their fitness and spirit to score three late tries courtesy of Charlie Teague, Adam Northcott and another from Briant.
Devonport Services were once again left to rue what might have been against league leaders Camborne.
Services were beaten 32-19 in Camborne on Saturday after a late converted try sealed the game for the hosts. Devonport had gone 12-0 up early in the first half and were ahead 19-15 in the second.
It was almost an identical game to when the two teams met at the Rectory at the start of October when Camborne won 35-27.
“It was a bit déjà vu,” said Services team manager Kieran Leach.
“We took the lead – we were 12-0 up after 10 minutes – but then let them back into it and then we played catch-up before they then scored a couple of tries towards the end.
“It got to 25-19 and we were still in it, but then they just score another try near the end, which just pulled them away.
“Again it was more frustration because we know we can play a lot better.”
The defeat has seen Services drop down to fourth in the table.
They were missing a host of players including captain Matt Gregory, Kieran Down, Rhys Williams, James Hocking, Tyler Busfield, Mike Hunt and Greg Thomas.
With so many back-row players unavailable, Services handed a debut to army under-23 player Harrison Cooper-Meadows.
They took an early lead when they got a scrum and number nine Oli Mulberry went down the blindside and then chipped the ball over the opposition winger to score in the corner.
The game was then held up at another scrum after a dead rodent was found on the pitch. When the set-piece was re-set, Services got a free-kick and after tapping it quickly they switched it right and winger Lewie Riley beat his opposite number to touch-down. Richard West added the conversion to give his side a 12-0 lead.
Camborne were then reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes but Services could not capitalise and the hosts hit back to lead 15-12 at the break thanks to tries by centre Connor Gilbert and flanker Jordan Nicholls and a conversion and a penalty from fly-half Aaron Simmonds.
But Devonport came back after half-time and went 19-15 ahead after a good break by replacement Dylan Daley earned them a penalty and they scored from the line-out through Joe Daley.
Services, though, could not keep hold of their advantage and tries by Jack Kessell and Aden Brassington put Camborne 25-19 going into the closing stages.
And in the end a try by Simmonds sealed the game for the hosts.
Devonport did try desperately to get a fourth try to at least get a bonus point but they felt they did not get a the rub of the green on a couple of scrums.
“I think we deserved a bonus point,” admitted Leach.
COUNTIES ONE WESTERN WEST
A bit of a makeshift Plymstock Albion Oaks team dug deep to claim a much-needed 26-17 victory over Kingsbridge at Horsham Fields on Saturday.
The win ended a run of six successive defeats for Oaks and has lifted them out of the bottom three.
Both Oaks and Kingsbridge had found wins hard to come for in the last couple of months and both had player availability problems at the weekend.
Plymstock were without a host of their big name players, but promoted Stu Collyer, Sailosi Mascuwale and Peni Turua from their second team on Saturday, having also brought Lance Davies and Ehren Duke into the first team squad the previous week.
The hosts crucially went 14-7 up at half-time thanks to tries by centre Tom Goodman, making only his second appearances for the club, and Pete Keanie, who also converted both.
And Oaks bagged the bonus-point win in the second half with further tries from captain Corey Jamieson and fellow back Scott Williams.
Director of rugby Jack Hardman said the team really ‘put a shift in’ to get the win that will have given them a big boost ahead of forthcoming crucial matches against Paignton, Penryn and Bude, who are all also in the bottom six.
COUNTIES TWO CORNWALL
SECOND-placed Saltash claimed their second biggest win of the season on Saturday with a 86-0 away victory over bottom side Hayle.
In a one-sided affair, the Ashes scored 14 tries – seven in each half.
It was the ninth time in 11 games that Saltash have played in the league this season that they have bagged more than 50 points and in two meetings against Hayle they have scored 160 points and conceded none.
The Ashes scored at regular intervals on Saturday.
It started in the first minute with forward Matt Coker collecting a loose ball and charging over the line and Lewis Stuart adding the conversion.
Six minutes later Todd Crofts, who was making a rare appearance for the Ashes, broke through the Hayle defence for a converted try.
Devon Bennett-Murray, playing well in the forwards, brushed aside home tackles after 17 minutes for another converted touch-down.
Devan Marshall was next to cross the Hayle line on the left wing to gain Saltash the bonus point.
Two minutes later, the visitors extended their lead when unexpectedly Phil Eatwell found himself in open space and made a dash for the line for Lewis Stuart to convert.
Prop forward Simon Nance then got in on the scoring spree with a deserved try and Marshall finished the first half scoring with a try which was converted to give his side a 45-0 lead at the break.
The second period started in the same manner with the visitors getting a converted try in the first minute and although Hayle tried valiantly to stem the flow of tries they could not stop the Ashes going on to an impressive win.
Scorers after the interval were Marshall, Jack Thorn, Ryan Cruickshanks, Phil Eatwell and Bennett-Murray, with Lewis Stuart landing a total of eight conversions.
The conditions suited Saltash’s expansive game and they took full advantage of increasing their total points for the season to an impressive 657 from 11 games played.
In the same division, Liskeard-Looe battled hard at third-placed Veor but eventually went down 27-7.
COUNTIES TWO DEVON
TAVISTOCK continue to set the pace in Counties Two Devon with a 53-7 home victory over South Molton.
The win keeps them eight points ahead of second-placed Torquay Athletic and they are now 13 points clear of third-placed Honiton.
Scrum-half George Hillson bagged yet another hat-trick of tries for Tavistock, while Jake Le Gassick scored twice on his return to the team.
“It was a decent all-round performance from the lads,” said head coach Joel Caddy.
“Our discipline was good and the lads stuck at it.
“The Moorlands had a big win as well so it was a good day.”
Scrum-half Hillson got Tavistock off the mark with the opening try before number eight Jamie Legg went over.
Le Gassick and Hillson then crossed before winger George Cole bagged Tavistock’s fifth to give them a 27-0 half-time lead.
Full-back Rob Grove got the hosts off to a good started in the second period before Legg bagged a second, which Charles Bowden converted.
Le Gassick and Hillson added further touch-downs that were both converted by Bowden.
Frustratingly for Tavistock, South Molton scored a good try late in the game.
Devonport Services II did Tavistock a favour by beating Honiton 30-25 at the Rectory.
It was a crucial win for Services II, who had lost their last three matches and it has moved them out of the bottom three.
Services II were able to field a strong backline on Saturday which included Rhys Williams, who was unable to travel with the first team due to work commitments, Tom West, Joe Rider, Joe Brearley and Toby Lean, who have all had first team experience.
Tries by Brearley and Williams and a conversion from West gave Services II a 12-0 lead
Phil Bennett and Dom Lovesey pulled tries by for Honiton before West kicked a penalty to give the hosts a 15-10 half-time lead.
Touch-downs by Rider and Williams made it 27-10 but Honiton came back and closed to within two points thanks to tries by Ben Spence and two from Jake Smith.
West did kick a late penalty to make it 30-25 and boost Services II’s hopes of staying up.
Meanwhile, Ivybridge II have moved up to fifth in the table after their beat Barnstaple II 24-20 at Cross-in-Hand.
Their win came courtesy of a strong second half display.
They only managed five points in the opening 40 minutes, with Jack Mitchell scoring a try.
But after the interval they added three more courtesy of Mark Hardie, who went over in the 49th, 54th and 71st minutes. Giles Clarke converted two of the tries.
COUNTIES THREE DEVON WEST
PLYMOUTH Argaum have well and truly put themselves in the race for the Devon West title by beating city rivals Tamar Saracens 33-0 at the Parkway on Saturday.
It was probably Argaum’s most eye-catching result in years as Sarries sat top of the table and had not lost a league game to another Plymouth side in over four years.
Sarries had also beaten Argaum 40-28 in the second match of the season at Bickleigh Down.
However, since that defeat on September 10, Argaum have not lost a game and now have the longest winning run in the division.
Saturday’s bonus-point victory has now moved Argaum to within just four points of Sarries with a game in hand, although Newton Abbot II, Topsham II and Salcombe are all in the race as well with just five points separating the top five in a very competitive division.
Most people were expecting another tight Plymouth derby match on Saturday and that was certainly how it was for the first 40 minutes.
There was no scoring for the first 36 minutes as both teams cancelled each other out with good defence, although Argaum were dominating the set-plays and always made more ground when they did get the ball with their strong runners like centre Jack Morris and forwards Dan Smith and Tom Holliday.
But a 10-minute spell either side of half-time turned the match.
Argaum took a 5-0 lead when their star man Morris broke through to score to the right of the posts.
But after that Argaum then had to defend their line for the remaining five minutes of the half. Sarries had two five-metre line-outs and also took a tap penalty on the line but they just could not break through Argaum’s impressive defence.
And then within three minutes of the restart, Argaum scored a second try again through Morris, which Jake Turfrey converted.
Sarries’ heads seemed to drop a bit after that, whereas Argaum just got more and more confident.
Argaum, who really impressed in the scrums and in defence, always looked more dangerous with the ball. Sarries had plenty of possession but they could not break the gain-line.
And it got worse for the hosts on 53 minutes when Argaum scored a third try. After pushing Sarries back at a scrum, Morris made another break before the ball came out to full-back Turfrey to score. He also added the conversion to make it 19-0.
In the closing stages, Sarries ran out of backs due to injuries and Argaum capitalised with two late tries courtesy of Holliday and Owen Goucher.
Argaum head coach Dean Avery was over the moon with his team’s performance.
“I am proud as punch for the boys,” he said. “We have really been building towards that.
“I took them on following the great work Brett Stroud had done which gave us some foundations, which we have built on and this showed that.
“From where we have come from is a credit to all the boys who come on a Tuesday and Thursday and put the effort in.”
He admitted his team had particularly been working on their scrum for Saturday’s match.
“Having seen their performance the previous week and how good they were at the scrum against Old Techs we really worked on our scrum all week and I think our forwards did beat them and when they got the ball out to the backs they looked after it and ran well,” he said.
“They (Sarries) did have long phases of possession, but we kept our discipline. Our scrums went really well, our line-outs went well, so real credit to all the boys.
“We have worked really hard on keeping our discipline and making sure we come up in a line and chopping in defence and it showed all the hard work the guys have done has paid off.”
When asked if he ever expected to win away at the leaders with a score like that, Avery said: “Maybe not, but I do know what these boys are capable of and I think they have proven it now.”
Tamar Saracens’ director of rugby Pete Lethbridge pulled no punches about his side’s display.
“We were absolutely awful,” he admitted. “But fair play to them, they bullied us in all departments.
“We just didn’t turn up. It was just one of those games. Our attitude was just not there at the beginning. We have a lot, lot to work on.
“As I said, fair play to Argaum, they are a really well-drilled side with some big ball carriers. The better team won without question.
“We just couldn’t get through their defence, which was outstanding – fair play to Deano (Dean Avery) for working on that.”
He added: “This is a bit of a wake-up call for us. People need to come training Tuesday and Thursday as we have Salcombe away next week, which is another toughie.
“We are still top of the table – four points clear of Argaum, but they are on a bit of a roll now. They are a good side, there’s no question about that.
“It was disappointing and the video is going to be fun to watch!”
Old Techs, who had lost 14-10 to Sarries the previous week, were forced to travel to Newton Abbot II with a makeshift team due to injuries and unavailabilities and lost 25-10.
At one point in the week, Techs were unsure if they were even going to be able to get a side out due to their injury list, but the Weston Mill outfit never like to pull out of a fixture and with the help of he likes of veterans Kevin Bedford-Smith and coach Dean Oram they got a team out that was competitive.
Flanker Michael Cremin and hooker Steve Wilkinson scored tries for them against Newton Abbot, but it just was not enough to get anything out of the game.
In Devon East, OPMs were handed another walkover by New Cross. The Old Boys remain one point behind Crediton II, who beat Buckfastleigh 41-12, but now the pair are 13 points clear of any other teams.
In the Devon Merit Table, OPM Jesters beat Saltash II 33-20, while Tavistock II beat the University of Plymouth 62-14 at Sandy Park.
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