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RUGBY REPORTS: Services reach Devon Senior Cup final, but more heartbreak for Saltash


DEVONPORT Services have reached the final of the Devon Senior Cup after beating league rivals Exmouth 24-15 in a semi-final clash at the Rectory on Saturday.

Services, who have never won the cup, will now host Brixham in the showpiece event on April 29.

The hosts, facing Exmouth for the fourth time this season, took the lead in the 17th minute on Saturday when scrum-half Dylan Daley scored after a good run and off-load by young flanker James Hocking. Richard West added the conversion.

Exmouth hit back with a try by Matt Ryan, but Aiden Taylor, playing at flanker, restored Services seven-point advantage with a touch-down from a maul.

However, before half-time former Plymouth Albion flanker Robbie Weeks scored an unconverted try for Exmouth to close the gap to two points at the break.

Hocking, who had another big game in the back-row, scored Services’ third try after the interval following a good run by centre Tom Richards.

And it got better for the hosts when prop Rikki Benthan added a fourth, which West converted, to make it 24-10.

Exmouth did pull a try back before the end, but there was no denying Devonport a place in the final.

“It’s nice to be in the final and it is good that it is at our place, which is a bonus,” said Services head coach Ben Russell. “It is also nice that we have a week off before the final.”

On Saturday’s semi-final, Russell added: “It was a good game. Both teams played some very good rugby and tried to move the ball around.

“It was a ding-dong battle for a while before we got a try to pull away a bit and go 14 points in front.

“The boys did well and really fronted up. I am really pleased.”

However, there was disappointment for Devonport Services II, who surprisingly lost 25-24 to Crediton II in the semi-finals of the Devon 2nd XV Shield.

Crediton II snatched victory with the last play of the game.

Services II, who had a much-changed team to the one which beat Saltash in the Lockie Cup in mid-week, scored four tries courtesy of Isaiah Akinrowo, Phil Greensides, Mica Cvetaniovic and Josh Jarvis, with Ethan Williams kicking a penalty and a conversion.

Ivybridge have reached the Devon Senior Shield final after beating Sidmouth 43-30 in a high-scoring affair at Blackmore Field.

“It was a good game for the neutral,” said Ivybridge’s director of rugby Jamie Tripcony, who made his 100th appearance for the club on Saturday.

He added: “It is a difficult time of the year to keep guys enthused and motivated, but we are into some kind of final so we will take that and prepare for it in two weekends’ time.

“Some guys had some great opportunities (on Saturday) and they took them. It was good to get some guys some first team rugby and good to get some guys playing some extra games.

“For us it was good to get some extra minutes in and try to keep a bit of momentum going as we all know that it is a long summer.

“You do want to go into the summer in high spirits so when you come back in July you can hit the ground running.”

Charlie Teague impressed with a hat-trick of tries, while Tripcony was was on the scoresheet to mark his century appearance, and Matt Grieveson and Will Peakman also crossed the whitewas.


FOR the second time within the space of five days Saltash suffered a heart-breaking one-point cup defeat.

On Tuesday night, they were beaten 31-30 by Devonport Services II in the semi-finals of the Lockie Cup after their opponents scored a converted try with the last play of the game.

And on Saturday they suffered possibly an even more painful defeat as they lost 27-26 to big rivals St Ives at Moorlands Lane in the Papa John’s Community Cup after missing two late kicks to win the game, including one last-gasp penalty that hit the crossbar.

It was the Ashes’ first home defeat in 15 months and the third time this season they have been left to rue missed kicks against St Ives, who just pipped them to the league title.

Saturday’s game between the top two sides in Counties Two Cornwall went right down the wire and was a thriller for those watching.

St Ives, with a strong side out, got off to a quick start with a try after three minutes by Matt Burrell out on the right wing, which was well converted by former Redruth and Camborne player Grant Thirlby.

Saltash replied two minutes later with a Jack Pritchard penalty.

Slick handling by the visitors enabled back-row forward Chris Warren to extend their lead on 12 minutes with a well-worked try

However, Pritchard kept the Ashes in touching distance with two more penalties to make it 12-9.

Good covering by St Ives prevented the home side from getting a try which their pressure deserved and the visitors went 19-9 up at the break with Adam Harris scoring a converted try.

Saltash started the second period on the front foot and full-back Ryan Cruickshanks ended up darting through the St Ives defence to touch down after 50 minutes and Pritchard successfully added the conversion.

Two minutes later Will Morton burst down on the right wing to score a typical try to put the Ashes in front for the first time.

But St Ives came back again with a Thirlby penalty 13 minutes later.

The visitors, with the experienced Thirlby impressing with his kicking game, increased their lead to 27-21 with a decisive try by Harris eight minutes from time.

But Saltash refused to lie down and they hit back again with a Greg Eatwell try, but unfortunately the conversion just went wide.

However, there was still one last chance for Saltash to win the game and book a quarter-final spot when they were awarded a penalty. They went for the goal from distance, but agonisingly it hit the crossbar.


COUNTIES Three Devon East champions OPMs reached the final of the Devon Junior Shield without having to even play after Exeter Athletic pulled out of facing them in the semi-final on Saturday.

The walkover will have frustrated other teams who wanted that semi-final place.

The Old Boys, who have managed to avoid playing the likes of Plymouth Argaum and Tamar Saracens in the cup, will now visit Torrington in the final next weekend.

Torrington edged out Old Techs 19-17 at their place on Saturday after Techs had to play most of the second half with 14 men after Billy Evans picked up a red card.

“We thought it was a soft red,” said chairman David Evans. “He was clearing out a ruck and by all accounts the referee said his shoulder made contact with a head. It did make a massive difference.

“But we were not very clinical – we should have scored a few more.

“We had a good side out so there are no excuses really.

“It was definitely a winnable game and so it is disappointing end to the season.”

The match was finely poised at 14-14 at half-time, with Ben Hockey and Tom Ryan scoring tries for Techs and Ryan converting them both.

Torrington scored a third try early in the second half before Ryan kicked a penalty for Techs to close the gap to two points before Evans was shown red. Techs still had chances to win it but they couldn’t take them.

Counties Three Devon West champions Plymouth Argaum remain in the hunt for a trophy double after reaching the Devon Junior Bowl final by beating city rivals Tamar Saracens 30-5 at the Parkway.

The match between the league champions and runners-up, who were both unbeaten in the cup, was tight and there was only one score in it until the final 10 minutes when Argaum well and truly pulled away with four late tries.

Argaum will now visit Dartmouth next weekend in the final.

“We have won all our games in the cup so I don’t know how we are in the bowl and not the shield, but it is still a chance for a bit of silverware,” said Argaum head coach Dean Avery.

He added: “It was nice to get a win against them (Sarries) at the end of the season. It was a good fixture to have, even though it probably shouldn’t have happened.”

Avery admitted it was a tight game until the closing stages.

“Our boys just kept trying to do what they have been doing all season,” said Avery. “But their line-out was a lot better than when we first played down here and their driving maul was good. They didn’t give us an awful lot and we gave away a lot of penalties.

“But the big runners that we have got like Clacky, Smithy, Worboys, Holliday just kept going and you can’t keep tackling those guys all day.”

Tamar Saracens’ director of rugby Pete Lethbridge said: “We just ran out of steam.

“We were missing a little bit of strength in the forwards, but we did front up quite well and it was a good game until about 60-odd minutes. At one time I thought it might go to extra-time, which was probably wishful thinking.

“But Argaum are a really good, well-drilled side and they deserved the victory in the end.

“We could have done better, but it has been a long old season and we have picked up enough injuries to disrupt us and we just ran out of steam.

“But well done to Deano and Argaum and good luck to them in the final.

“It is a disappointing end but they are a good side.

“We just want to build now for next season.

“We have had a good season and we have got some new players coming in and Mike (Lewis) and Cory (Moore) are staying around, which is good. We just have to build on this season and go from there.”

Sarries lost full-back Matt Cates after just 15 minutes with a nasty looking injury, but they did take the lead nine minutes later when prop Tom Hicklin scored from a catch-and-drive move.

In a tight and competitive game, both teams were reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes on 30 minutes after Sarries’ Frazer Tatchell, who had stepped in to play flanker due to injuries, and Argaum’s Reece Gocher were yellow card after a large brawl.

It did look like Sarries were going to go in at the break 5-0 up but deep in first-half injury-time Argaum replacement Tom Holliday scored from close range for Argaum to level the tie.

Sarries were close to scoring in the left corner at the start of the second half but were just stopped short and Argaum edged 8-5 ahead in the 57th minute when Jake Turfrey kicked a penalty.

Holliday then found himself in trouble when he caught Tatchell with a high tackle as the Sarries player tried to break down the right wing. It did look bad, but Tatchell did get up pretty quickly and the referee decided it was only a yellow card and not a red.

Going down to 14 men again seem to inspire Argaum and seven minutes later they went 13-5 up when the impressive Owen Gocher scored on the right after some good play from a line-out on the left.

That try just seemed to end Sarries’ resistance and they could not respond and Argaum then ran in three quick tries before the final whistle with Tom Shepherd, Owen Gocher and Tom Worboys crossing the whitewash.

Meanwhile, Plympton Victoria’s new rugby convert Matt Galloway enjoyed an afternoon to remember as he ran in three tries to help his new club to a 24-5 win away at OPMs II.

Galloway has only recently taken up rugby having previously played football.

Kobe Bryant also scored for Plym Vic, who had Joe Spencer and Chris Barratt adding conversions at King George V Playing Fields.

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