TAVISTOCK will be looking to retain the Lockie Cup at the Rectory tonight when they take on Devonport Services II in the showpiece final.
It had looked like once again Tavistock would be taking on Saltash, but somehow Services II came back from three tries down to win their semi-final 31-30 last week thanks to a try with the last play of the game.
Counties Two Devon champions Tavistock have beaten Services II twice this season in the league. They won 51-5 at Sandy Park in October and 48-24 at Stonehouse Creek in January.
But they will be wary of Services II, who pulled off some good wins in the second half of the season and who will include former Tavistock favourite Mark Friend in their side after his return from injury.
“If we base it on how things have gone this season then we are the favourites,” said Tavistock head coach Joel Caddy.
“But it is cup final and there are a lot of good players in the Devonport side.
“However, the only team we need to worry about is ourselves.
“If we play as well as we have all season then we should be all right.
“It should be a good game and it is two good sides.
“If the final is anything like last year’s then everyone on the sidelines will be thoroughly entertained while the coaches will be pulling their hair out.”
If Tavistock are going to win the Lockie Cup again they are going to have to do it without star scrum-half George Hillson.
Hillson misses the final for the second year running after damaging his ankle against Withycombe a couple of weeks ago.
In Hillson’s absence, Charles Bowden moves to nine, with Jack Easton reverting to 10 and Al Spencer coming in at full-back.
Tavistock are boosted by having second-rows Charlie Brown and Seb Cox back.
“We are pretty near full strength,” said Caddy. “We are missing George, but we did win last year without him.”
The Services II side is a mixture of the club’s highly-rated youngsters like Isaiah Akinrowo, Oli Symons, Ethan Hilland, George Pooley, Matt Richards, Josh Hemmings and Billy Sutton and experienced players like Friend, Matty Anstis, Tony Silby and Tom West.
Before the Lockie Cup final, Tavistock II will take on Devonport Services III in a repeat of last year’s Ellis Trophy final (6pm).
Tavistock II have a strong side that includes a number of youngsters and players that have stepped up into the first team this season.
Services III, who are the holders, also has a number of youngsters in but also a few veterans.
Tavistock are looking to make it four trophies for the club tonight, having already won Counties Two Devon and lifted the Devon Colts’ Bowl at the weekend.
People attending the final night are asked to use the Stonehouse Creek car park and avoid parking on the residential streets around the Rectory.