REGIONAL ONE SOUTH WEST
IVYBRIDGE ended their home league campaign with a bonus-point 37-26 victory over Drybook, who had needed to win to avoid relegation.
For fifth-placed Ivybridge the triumph keeps alive their hopes of a highest ever league finish.
They go into their final league game of the season against Exmouth knowing they could finish anywhere between fourth and seventh.
They made a good start on Saturday and went 17-0 up in opening 15 minutes with a Matt Grievson penalty and then converted tries by Adam Northcott and Ben Watts.
Drybrook pulled a try back before Grieveson kicked another penalty only for the visitors to bag a second try just before the break to cut the gap to 20-12.
Sam Furse increased the home side’s lead to 27-12 after the interval with a converted try, but Drybrook hit back with another.
Ivybridge took a resounding 37-19 lead with another Grievson penalty and then a try by prop James MacFarlane, that Grieveson, who had a good day with the boot, converted.
Drybrook did get a penalty try 11 minutes from time, but it didn’t take the gloss of Ivybridge’s victory.
“It was a good win,” said director of rugby Jamie Tripcony. “We got exactly what we were after, which was five points.
“Was it pretty all the time? No, but we were playing against a pretty good side who made life difficult for us.
“We did well in patches but there were things we still need to work on to improve for next week.
“But all in all, it was the five-point win that we were after.”
He added: “We were always in front, but Drybrook kept coming at us. They had a 10-minute spell just before half-time where they got a couple of scores and we found that frustrating.
“We needed to sort out a couple of defensive work-ons, which I felt we did for the majority of the second half.
“We were always going to score points with that team so we were always confident but Drybrook certainly made it hard for us.”
Fourth-placed Devonport Services suffered late heartbreak at second-placed Chew Valley on Saturday.
The hosts kicked a late penalty to win 34-32, when Services had been 32-17 ahead at one point.
The narrow defeat means Devonport will need to beat Lydney at home next Saturday to guarantee a top-four finish in their first season at level five.
Head coach Ben Russell certainly felt his team deserved far more than the one point they did return from Somerset with on Saturday.
“I’m as happy as I can be when we have lost,” said Russell. “We have gone to a team who are second in the league and who don’t often lose at home or even get pushed like that.
“We should have come away with a win, but just little mistakes at certain times cost us.”
He added: “We were outstanding for 40 minutes. I think we were 19-10 up at half-time and then were 32-17 up but then we had injuries and had to make changes, having already had to make some late ones before the game.
“But, to be fair, Chew kept on coming and coming and they had a kick to win it in the last throes of the game.
“But I was very proud as the boys were outstanding. Like I said, we deserved to probably win the game, but just a few decisions in the game cost us.”
Services already without the likes of Matt Gregory, Matt Neyle, Tom Davies, Rhys Williams and Oli Mulberry, lost Richard West, Mike Rickard and Liam Jarvis with during the game due to injuries.
West did kick five penalties before going off, with Tom West then coming on an kicking one, with Aiden Taylor getting another try this season, while Services also get a penalty try.
COUNTIES ONE WESTERN WEST
PLYMSTOCK Albion Oaks made it three wins a row with a 39-26 home victory over Wivilescombe on Saturday.
The win should be enough to secure Oaks another season at level seven, with a trip to winless bottom side Falmouth to come next weekend in their final match.
If only two go down, then Oaks are already safe, but if it is three they need to make sure they beat Falmouth and hope that Bude do not pick up six points from two tough away games.
Oaks, though, were just pleased to end their home campaign with a bonus-point win.
“It was a tougher game than the scoreline maybe suggests,” said team manager Mark Lenthall.
“They (Wiveliscombe) were really organised, especially in defence, and they scored four tries.
“We didn’t play brilliantly, but we just kept them at bay.
“We played some reasonable rugby, but didn’t play quite as well as we have done in the last couple of weeks, however, we did enough to win and scored some good tries, which was pleasing.”
Oaks, who were 15-5 up at half-time, scored six tries in total.
They did hand a debut as a replacement to the experienced Jamie Shone, who bagged a try after coming on.
Also scoring were the fit-again Ryan Wills, Harvey Courtis, Alex Chaman, Corey Jamieson and Tom Goodman.
It was a good day for Oaks as their second team also secure a rare win in Counties Three Devon West with a 37-29 win at bottom club Totnes.
COUNTIES TWO DEVON
TAVISTOCK secured the Counties Two Devon title in style on Saturday by running in 11 tries to beat fifth-placed Honiton 67-29 in front of a big crowd at Sandy Park.
Tavistock, who went into their final home match sitting 13 points clear at the top of the table, knew they just needed a draw to claim promotion.
But there was no chance they were going to play for a draw and, although, they forced it a bit too much in the first half and were only 24-10 ahead, they well and truly pulled away in the second half.
They did go 60-10 up before letting Honiton score three late tries for a bonus point.
But those late defensive slips did not take the gloss of memorable day as Tavistock claimed their first league title since 2011-12 when they won the Cornwall/Devon League.
They can now start officially planning for life at level seven for the first in eight years.
“We just had to win – and that’s what we did,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy. “But scoring 67 points isn’t too bad.
“In the first half we probably made a few too many errors. I don’t know if that was nerves or whatever.
“But second half we took hold of the game, but we let them score those three tries towards the end before we got one right at the end.
“Some of the rugby was pretty top notch, yeah there were some silly mistakes, but that’s how it goes.
“It would have been nice to have won it (the title) a few weeks ago, but there was a monster crowd here so I’m pretty happy.”
Tavistock took just six minutes to get their first try on Saturday when influential scrum-half George Hillson, who is in the running to finish at the country’s top scorer, touch-down after a great break by Charlie Brown. Hillson also added the conversion.
The hosts had a try disallowed on 12 minutes for a knock-on but two minutes later they did get a second when full-back Jack Easton went over on the left after Tavistock had come close from a scrum on the right. Hillson again converted to make it 14-0.
But then the home side lost their way for a little spell and Honiton cut the gap to four points with a penalty and a converted try by Ben Phillips after a Jon House break.
Tavistock were trying to force the final pass too much but they did finish the half strongly with two tries in three minutes courtesy of hooker Hammy Kerswill from a catch-and-drive move and on the left from centre Jake Le Gassick.
At the start of the second half, Tavistock just blew Honiton away with six tries in 20 minutes.
Brown, who had a big game, got their first after the break before Hillson bagged two in three minutes for his hat-trick.
Number eight Jamie Legg was then gifted a try by Honiton, who messed up a line-out on their own line.
Conor Packwood was next to score, before Legg got a second on the right to make it 60-10.
Honiton then scored three tries in seven minutes through Will Leonard, Jake Smith and Ben Kidson.
But the last word went to Tavistock with Easton touching down for a second and Hillson converting to take his tally for the game to 27 and to a staggering 337 points for the season, including 37 tries.
In the same division, a young Devonport Services II came agonisingly close to ending Barnstaple II’s long unbeaten run.
Services were winning with time up, but third-placed Barnstaple were awarded a late penalty which they kicked to triumph 25-23.
Services II’s try scorers were Sam Fincham (2) and colt George Pooley with Billy Orchard, playing at 10, kicking the rest of their points. Barnstaple II’s try scorers were Lewin Jago, Josh Davies an Ben Jago.
Ivybridge II, meanwhile, were beaten 53-7 away at Withycombe.
COUNTIES TWO CORNWALL
SALTASH will finish as runners-up to St Ives in Counties Two Cornwall after producing a strong performance to beat third-placed St Austell II 34-17 at Moorlands Lane.
It was the Saints’ biggest defeat of the season and ended their nine-game winning league run.
It was the perfect way for Saltash to end their league campaign at home, where they have been unbeaten since Janaury 2022.
St Austell got off to a strong start and almost scored in the first few minutes but it was the Ashes that went ahead after eight minutes when Jay Moriarty touched down on the left wing for a try which was converted by Lewis Stuart.
That was quickly followed two minutes later by a break on the right wing and Ryan Cruickshanks crossed for a second try for the home side.
St Austell came back with a penalty, but skipper Jay Moriarty then put Saltash further ahead with his side’s third try of the day.
The hosts were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes and St Austell immediately took advantage and scored a converted try to make it 17-10.
But just before the interval a St Austell player received a red card after a skirmish and Will Morton scored Saltash’s bonus-point try when he gathered a kick ahead to score close to the posts and make it 24-10.
The second period opened with Moriarty getting his third try of the afternoon, but then St Austell put the Ashes under some sustained pressure and looked dangerous with the home side having to defend hard.
The visitors eventually managed to get a second try near to the end of the game which was converted.
But Morton finished the scoring by racing away on the right wing for another try.
Saltash colts also beat St Austell colts 34-17 after coming from behind to make it a good day for the Ashes.
In Counties Three Devon, there were walkovers for OPMs and Plymouth Argaum, while Tamar Saracens beat Old Techs 24-0 on Friday night (read report HERE).
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