RUGBY PREVIEWS: Argaum look to take another big step towards Devon West title

PLYMOUTH Argaum could take a massive step towards winning the Counties Three Devon West title on Saturday when they visit fifth-placed Newton Abbot II.

Argaum moved seven points clear at the top last weekend by claiming a crucial 41-14 away victory at fellow title rivals Topsham II.

That gap has been closed to three points with Paignton II handing second-placed Tamar Saracens a walkover this weekend, but Argaum could restore their seven-point lead with two games to go, if they pick up a bonus-point win at Rackerhayes.

But Argaum will be wary of Newton Abbot II as their first team are not in league action and the last time that happened the All Whites beat Tamar Saracens 34-14.

“It will be a tough game against Newton Abbot, but you have to play these teams,” said Argaum head coach Dean Avery, who is a former Newton Abbot player.

When the sides met earlier in the season at Bickleigh Down, Argaum won 24-10.

Argaum were down to play two games this weekend as they were also due to play Saltash in the Lockie Cup on Sunday.

Argaum were desperate to play in the Plymouth Combination cup but they were just not able to get two teams out within the space of 24 hours and have not been able to reschedule the fixture.

“It was a big ask for players to play two games in two days,” said Avery.

“Obviously our concentration is on the league, but before accepting the fixture we did request to play the (cup) game in March when the (league) season finishes, but that was rejected.

“It is obviously disappointing as we would have liked to have had a Combination cup run. I have fond memories of playing under lights with Civil Service.”

Avery remains hopeful that the Plymouth Combination may look at the situation again as they did want to play in the competition.

Saltash must be wondering what they have to do to find opponents to play as they have been handed three walkovers this weekend.

They should have been hosting Illogan Park on Saturday in Counties Two Cornwall, but their opponents have pulled out of visiting Moorlands Lane.

Saltash, who beat Bodmin 83-0 last week, have only played one home league game since the end of October and they have been handed five league walkovers since November 12.

The walkover has moved them back up to second in the league with two games to go, but leaders St Ives only need to win one of their final two games to lift the title ahead of them.

After Illogan Park and Argaum let them down, Saltash tried to arrange a Lockie Cup quarter-final with OPMs. However, Counties Three Devon East leaders OPMs, like Argaum, are unable to get a team together to face them at short notice and so have handed them the win.

Old Techs have also been handed a walkover in the Lockie Cup by the Plymouth Fijians.

Devonport Services II were also due to play in the Lockie Cup this weekend against their Plymstock Albion Oaks counterparts, but that game has had to be postponed as Services II have to replay their Counties Two Devon league match against Ivybridge II at Cross-in-Hand.

The league game last Friday evening had to be abandoned on 55 minutes due to an nasty knee injury suffered by Ivybridge’s Alex Garner when Services II were winning 8-3.

With neither club having a first team game this weekend, it is likely both second strings could be reasonably strong.

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