RUGBY: Devonport Services II progress in Lockie Cup, while Saltash eye national cup success

DEVONPORT Services II progressed through to the quarter-finals of the Lockie Cup by beating their Plymstock Albion Oaks counterparts 43-7 in horrible conditions at Horsham Fields on Thursday evening.

The game was tight in the first half, with the Services side just edging it 12-7.

But after the interval they well and truly pulled away with five second-half touch-downs before the referee brought an early end to the contest.

The tie had been due to be played on Wednesday evening but was postponed due to the bad weather.

But conditions were still bad on Thursday, with the match kicking off in heavy rain and with a strong wind.

Services made a great start with Harry Row scoring in the left corner in the opening two minutes to give them a 5-0 lead.

The visitors had further pressure but Oaks, who fielded a stronger second team than they have done for most of their Devon West campaign, went in front in the 25th minute when they intercepted a Service attack and broke quickly. Eventually the ball came out to replacement Alex Chapman, who ran in under the posts. He also added the conversion.

But just before the break, the young Devonport side led by the experienced Matty Anstis and fit-again Mark Friend, regained the lead when Jenson Slade scored on the right after good pressure from a five-metre scrum. Anstis converted to give his side a 12-7 lead at the interval.

And straight after the break they increased their lead with impressive number eight Isaiah Akinrowo scoring under the posts from a scrum 15 metres out.

That was quickly followed by another try, with back Josh Hemmings scoring on the right after a fine counterattack. Lewie Riley added the conversion, with veteran fly-half Anstis having gone off injured.

Joe McKinley then added another try five minutes later, which Riley converted.

Services really got on top in the scrum and Friend and Akinrowo always looked dangerous with their strong running.

Akinrowo scored a stunning second try in the 62nd minute when he ran in from the halfway line after the Devonport pack pushed Oaks off a scrum.

And with the final play of the game, another good scrum on halfway created a chance for Billy Sutton to score their seventh touch-down of the evening.

They are now due to play the University of Plymouth in the quarter-finals, with Saltash awaiting the winner of that tie in the semis.

Meanwhile, a number of young players could get their chance as Devonport Services visit Exmouth on Saturday in their final Devon Senior Cup group game.

Services are missing a host of players this weekend and so are set to field a mixed first and second team against Exmouth.

They have already booked their place in the cup semi-finals but still need two points to guarantee home advantage, although they might not need that if Okehampton fail to pick up full points away at Brixham.

“If we go to Exmouth and get two points we know we are guaranteed home advantage,” said Services head coach Ben Russell. “And a home tie would be lovely.

“We will go out to try and win and see what happens.”

Saltash will travel into the unknown on Saturday when they make the trip to Bristol to play Imperial in the Papa John’s Community Cup.

Due to the bad weather, the game has been switched to Dings Crusaders’ Shaftesbury Park’s artificial pitch with a 12.30pm kick-off.

Imperial finished fourth in Counties Two Somerset but were only beaten by the second teams of National League clubs Old Redcliffians, Weston and Taunton.

Saltash are without a few key players including Devon Bennett-Murray, Lewis Woolaway, Sam Snell and Ryan Rayner. Coach Albert Hall will start in the second-row.

Saltash: Ryan Cruickshanks, Will Morton, Greg Eatwell, Danny Snook, Jay Moriaty, Lewis Stuart, Jack Pritchard, Simon Nance, Rob Walsh, Ryan Simmons, Albert Hall, Matt Coker, Lewis Wells, James Sutton, Phil Eatwell. Reps: Ben Simmons, Axel Hicks, Billy Dover.

Saltash’s second team are at home to St Austell III in a Cornwall cup match on Saturday, while Ivybridge II’s will host Cullompton II at Cross-in-Hand in the Devon second team cup.

Elsewhere, OPMs will host Tavistock in a friendly at King George V Playing Fields to mark their sponsors and VPs day.

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