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RUGBY REPORT: Saltash progress in national cup with away victory over Bristol side Imperial

SALTASH have made it through to the second round of Counties Two Papa John’s Community Cup by beating Bristol side Imperial 27-12 away on Saturday.

Due to the bad weather the game was moved to Dings Crusaders’ Shaftesbury Park artificial pitch with an early kick-off.

The Ashes travelled up the M5 without the likes of Devon Bennett-Murray, Lewis Woolaway, Sam Snell, Ryan Rayner and Tom Rixson.

Coach Steve ‘Albert’ Hall and James Sutton both came into the pack for the cup tie.

Both teams started nervously but it was Saltash who took the lead with a Lewis Stuart penalty.

After that the visitors got their tails up and added a try through winger and captain James Moriarty after some good passing across the line.

But Somerset side Imperial came back with a try by flanker Ricky Jones, which Ross Hickory converted, to close the gap to one point.

Saltash, though, responded with another Moriarty try, which was converted by Stuart to make it 15-7.

On the half-hour Ashes flanker Lewis Wells hit a great line to score his side’s third try. Stuart again converted to make it 22-7.

But Imperial were not done and came back on the stroke of half-time to score through winger Brandon Dorrington and make it 22-12 at the break.

The second period was a tense, tight affair with both sides cancelling each other out.

But Saltash sealed the win with a well-worked breakaway through Danny Snook.

The Ashes now prepare to travel to France for their Easter tour before waiting for their second round tie. They are also in the semi-finals of the Lockie Cup and the Cornwall Clubs’ Cup.

Devonport Services have topped their Devon Senior Cup pool, despite a narrow 20-15 defeat with a young and makeshift side at Exmouth on Saturday.

Services were without 40 players at the weekend across their first and second team squads and handed debuts to the likes of Isaiah Akinrowo, Cameron Howley, Aaron Duffield, Josh Hemmings and Harry Row at Exmouth.

Forward Jonah Moore also had to play in the backs, alongside the likes of Billy Orchard, Tom West, Matt Richards.

To stretch their options further Tom West and Liam Jarvis both had to come off with injuries in the opening 13 minutes.

Service did make a slow start and were trailing 17-3 at half-time but they then had chance to win the game in the second half at Imperial Road.

“We started slowly and they went 10-0 up in like the first five minutes and were 17-3 up after 20 minutes,” said Services head coach Ben Russell.

“But we kept on going and with the team we had out it was cracking and we should have won the game, but just lost our composure at times and didn’t play in the right areas.

“But at one point we had seven under-21s on the pitch.

“I think we probably started slowly because a lot of the lads were young and getting used to the level. We missed a few tackles we shouldn’t have missed and they scored some easy tries,” added Russell, who was delighted with the overall performance of his makeshift team against a strong Exmouth side.

Joe Daley and Row got tries for Services with replacement Richard West kicking a conversion and a penalty.

Exmouth’s tries came from James Clarke and Ben Mellor, with Same Whitehead kicking the rest of their points.

The two teams could yet meet again in the semi-finals of the cup at the Rectory on April 15.

Elsewhere in the Devon Senior Cup, Ivybridge were handed a walkover by Newton Abbot.

However, the five points they picked up were not enough for the Bridgers to finish in the top two of their tough pool and so will drop into the Devon Senior Shield where it is expected they will visit Sidmouth again in the semi-finals.

But Ivybridge II are still in contention to top their pool in the Devon 2nd Team Cup after a convincing 65-28 home victory over their Cullompton counterparts on Saturday at Cross-in-Hand.

The Bridgers ran in 11 tries and had a couple more disallowed.

They were 31-7 up at half-time and, although Cullompton scored three second half tries, the hosts were always in command.

Young prop George Montgomery had a big game up front, while backs Charlie Teague and Archie Bryan were deadly down the right side.

Bryan finished with four tries, Teague got three, with Montgomery touching down for two with strong runs. Sam Wilmington and Harrison Legge also crossed the whitewash, with Luke Martell kicking five conversions.

Saltash II suffered last-gasp agony as St Austell III kicked a late penalty to beat them 41-38 in an entertaining affair at Moorlands Lane.

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