REGIONAL ONE SOUTH WEST
IVYBRIDGE turned on the style in the second half away at Old Centralians on Saturay as they returned to winning ways.
They triumphed 25-13 in Gloucestershire after coming back from 8-0 down at the break.
The Bridgers had heartbreakingly lost to late penalty kicks against top two sides Camborne and Chew Valley in their previous two games.
But they showed what they can do after the interval in Gloucestershire with four tries to claim their eighth win of the season and move to within a point of fourth-placed Devonport Services with a game in hand.
Director of rugby Jamie Tripcony said he was ‘very happy’ with the five-point win and the way his team turned the game around in Gloucestershire.
“We started really well and got into our attacking structure well, but we just weren’t able to get over the line,” said Tripcony.
“And then the play kind of went against us a bit and Old Cents controlled territory a bit better and they scored a breakaway a try and then within a couple of minutes they got inside our 22 again and they got a penalty.
“We were defending on our line for a good 10-15 minutes at the end of the first half, but the guys really stepped up and defended extremely well to not allow them anymore points.
“We were able to regroup at half-time and refocus. We talked about trying to get a bit more territory and, to be fair, the guys delivered that second half.
“We controlled territory really well. We had a good kick-chase game and our forwards really stepped up – they carried well and managed to get us on to the front-foot with those carries and maul play. That allowed us to break them down slightly and get some reward with tries. We got four tries, which was massive for us away from home.”
Adam Northcott, Ben Watts, Alex Garner and Ben Collins scored Ivybridge’s tries.
Ivybridge, who are currently in fifth spot, could move up to third next week, if they were to beat fellow Devon side Brixham at Cross-in-Hand.
Devonport Services suffered a third consecutive loss as they were narrowly beaten 18-13 by Launceston at Polson Bridge.
Launceston’s Dan Pearce, who in the summer can be seen showing his athletic ability for City of Plymouth AC, scored the game’s match-winning try in the final stages of an enthralling contest.
Services’ defeat at Polson Bridge followed on from losses against Okehampton and Brixham and they do now find Ivybridge breathing down their necks.
Devonport have not been helped in recent weeks by injuries and unavailabilties. On Saturday they were without forwards Rikki Bentham, Greg Thomas, Matt Gregory, James Hocking, Mike Hunt, Aiden Taylor and Harrison Cooper-Meadows and backs Tom Richards and Oli Mulberry. They also lost back-rowers Liam Jarvis and Jonah Moore during the game.
“We played much better than last week,” said team manager Kieran Leach. “We managed the game better, but it is still another defeat.
“We got a losing bonus point and the positive is that we did play much better and we do know we have more in the tank to give.”
On a soft pitch, Services played uphill first half and there was little in the way of try-scoring chances in the opening 40 minutes, which ended 3-3.
Pearce put Launceston ahead early on with a penalty after Services were a pinged for not rolling away.
But, just before the break, Kieran Down added a three-pointer of his own to level the match.
Launceston came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half and Services did well to hold them up over the line in the opening five minutes.
And eventually Services went in front for the first time when Down kicked another penalty to make it 6-3.
Launceston, though, then got on top for a spell and scored the game’s opening try when Jack Statton crossed in the corner after the hosts had a attacked from a scrum on their own line. That put the Cornish All Blacks 8-6 ahead.
Devonport had a couple of good chances after that but could not take them. They were disappointed to have a try disallowed after the referee said he had blown up for a penalty to Services rather than allowing the advantage.
And Launceston eventually went up the other end and added a second try through second-row Jake Crabb to make it 13-6.
However, Services levelled the match when, following a line-out on the halfway, the ball came to winger Matt Neyle, who chipped it through and Tom Davies won the race to touch it down. Down successfully added the conversion to set up an exciting ending to the game.
Services needed to just keep the ball but they let Launceston have it and they got another penalty. After going for the corner, they attacked well and eventually the ball came out to Pearce who scored in the corner.
Devonport did have one more chance with a line-out but there were penalised for holding on.
COUNTIES ONE WESTERN WEST
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks were hit with availability problems for their trip to unbeaten leaders Cullompton on Saturday.
Oaks were struggling to get a full team together but still travelled to east Devon to play a match, although they did hand Cullompton the walkover beforehand.
The team that went did battle hard, although they were beaten 45-0 in a game that the referee called early.
High-flying Cullompton had beaten Oaks 76-31 at Horsham Fields in October.
“It was always going to be a tough weekend,” said Oaks’ director of rugby Jack Hardman. “But we are looking forward to getting back to home action next week after trips to Bude and Cullompton.”
Oaks stay ninth in the 12-team league, but they have now played more games than all the relegation rivals.
They will be desperate for a home win against Tiverton this coming weekend to give themselves a bit of breathing space.
TAVISTOCK took another step towards the Counties Two Devon title with a 48-24 away win against Devonport Services II at Stonehouse Creek.
Saturday was a potential banana skin for Tavistock as Services II have an impressive home record this season and had already beaten the likes of Torquay and Honiton there.
And the hosts did actually take the lead but Tavistock eventually got into their stride and ran in seven tries to increase their advantage at the top of the the table to 15 points.
“In the set piece we were pretty dominant,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy. “The breakdown for the majority of time was also pretty good from us.
“They scored their tries from some odd decisions by us and some lacklustre tackling. But, on the whole, it was pretty dam good.
“It’s all about Withycombe now and targeting next week.”
Tavistock were 29-15 up at half-time thanks to tries by Andy Yates, Toby Teague, Seb Cox and Jack Rocks. George Hillson converted two of those tries.
After the interval, Andrew Schuttkacker, Joe Burbage and Hillson added further touch-downs, with Hillson converting all the tries the second half.
Services’ tries came from Toby Knowles, who was making his return from a serious injury in September, Harrison Reburn, Ciaran Poat and Connor Yeoman, with Reburn kicking two conversions.
Ivybridge II are up to fourth in the table after they dug deep to beat South Molton 17-16 at Cross-in-Hand.
Ivybridge started well but could not score and South Molton went 6-0 up but the hosts did come back, although the match went right down to the wire.
Ben Hooper, Mark Hardie and Harry Arkley scored tries for Ivybridge, with Giles Clarke kicking one conversion.
Vice-captain Hooper was thrilled with the win and said: “The boys dug deep.”
The farce in Counties Two Cornwall continued on Saturday with both Saltash and St Ives receiving walkovers again.
Leaders St Ives have now had five walkovers this season and second-placed Saltash have had three in their last six games.
The Ashes have not played a home league game since October and so they were disappointed that Newquay Hornets pulled out of visiting them on Saturday.
But, fortunately they were able to find a replacement fixture on Saturday with Devon East leaders OPMs, who are having similar problems in their league, agreeing to travel over to Moorlands Lane and take on their higher-level Tamar neighbours.
A big crowd turned out for the match, which showed what both Saltash and OPMs are missing in their current leagues – good derby fixtures.
Both Saltash and OPMs got the short straw in the RFU’s reorganisation with both having to travel far more, not having regular derby games and not having as many competitive fixtures that they have had previous seasons.
OPMs, despite being a level below, probably offered Saltash a much sterner test than they would have got had Newquay travelled.
The Old Boys did better than any other side visiting Moorlands Lane this season by only losing 43-7, and Saltash did score two tries in the final 10 minutes.
Saltash have scored 56 points or more against all their league visitors so far this term in Counties Two Cornwall.
“We enjoyed it,” said Saltash head coach Steve Down after Saturday’s game. “All credit to OPMs. On the reflection of the score, they would probably be in the top half of our league.
“They came and played a really good game of rugby and we really enjoyed it – and we certainly needed it.
“It was great as it was a local derby and I hope they got something out of it as well.”
He added: “You can see we are still working on some new partnerships and a few other bits and bobs. I thought we were a little bit rusty, but overall I’m pleased. We put some tries away, although we did leave a few out there as well.”
Down is just hoping the RFU are taking note of how many walkovers they are in some of the lower leagues.
“It is frustrating,” he said. “We do hope the RFU look at it, even if just at local level so that something happens, because it’s not good for anyone having all these walkovers.
“The most frustrating thing as a grassroots club is that we all live off our bar intake. It’s not just the disappointment of having no rugby.”
OPMs, who also have not played a home league game since October, should be been taking on Sidmouth II, but they pulled out of travelling to Plymouth. That was OPMs’ third home walkover this season.
Despite knowing it would be a tough test taking on higher league Saltash, they jumped at the chance of a competitive game.
“We came over not sure what to expect,” said head coach Andy Williams. “We had built all week for Sidmouth and trained specifically for that.
“Saltash are a good team, they are a division above us, and they played some really good rugby and threw the ball out wide and we struggled to defend it.
“We defended everything within the five-metre channel, but when they threw it we were found a bit wanting.
“But we were happy. We will learn more from a game like that than from some of the wins we’ve had this season. The boys were up for playing them.”
OPMs, who did impress in the scrum on Saturday, are also without a fixture next Saturday as it was down as a blank weekend in Devon East.
The Old Boys know that the title is in their hands if they can win all their remaining games and beat Crediton II at home.
“We’ll keep pushing,” said Williams. “We picked up a couple of knocks unfortunately and we haven’t got a big squad for the first team.
“But we have no game this Saturday so the boys have a week off.
“The Crediton game is the one we have to build for and try to get everyone fit for. I can’t see them losing the other games they’ve got and I’m hoping we don’t lose our other games and that it does come down to that one.”
Sam Snell, who has returned to Saltash from Okehampton, got the try scoring underway on Saturday with a strong run through the middle.
Greg Eatwell then scored a fine try down the right to increase the Ashes’ lead before OPMs got into the game a bit more.
But Saltash went in at the break 26-0 up with forwards Lewis Wells and Matt Coker scoring tries with powerful runs in the final eight minutes of the first half.
OPMs full-back Fred Smale scored a fine interception try at the start of the second half, which he also converted, before Jay Moriaty responded with one for Saltash.
Phil Eatwell and Rob Walsh completed the scoring for Saltash late on.
COUNTIES THREE DEVON WEST AND DEVON MERIT TABLE
PLYMOUTH Argaum boosted their title hopes in Devon West with a 41-12 away victory at Teignmouth II.
With leaders Tamar Saracens not playing, after their game with Newton Abbot II was postponed, and Topsham II losing to Dartmouth, Argaum are now second, just three points behind Sarries with a game in hand.
“It’s a good position but we are not getting carried away,” said Argaum head coach Dean Avery.
Avery was delighted with his side’s performance in the first half at Teignmouth, but not so pleased with the second half display.
“We started really, really well and got two early tries within the first five minutes,” said Avery.
“All first half we were outstanding against quite a strong Teignmouth side, who had a sprinkling of first team players.
“We struggled a bit line-out wise, but at the scrums we were going forward at a rate of knots and we had good success off that.
“Then second half we lost a bit of directions, which was frustrating, but the result was already in the bag.
“It was another good week on the road.”
Billy Stockwell (2), Jack Morris, Owen Gocher, Aaron Anderson-Smith, Dan James and Dave Clack scored tries for Argaum at Teignmouth.
Old Techs were left disappointed after their fixture away at struggling Plymstock Albion Oaks II was postponed.
In the Devon Merit Table, Tavistock II beat Plympton Victoria 46-0 at Sandy Park, in a game that also doubled as an Ellis Trophy tie.
“We were just out-classed in every department,” said Plym Vic’s Chris Hunt afterwards.
“There was no excuse for the way we performed. We were just not at the races. We just never put ourselves in the contest.
“They were the better team but we did not help ourselves. We know we can play better than that.
“But we’ll dust ourselves off and move on.”
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