DEVONPORT Services turned on the style against a makeshift Wadebridge Camels side in a pre-season outing at the Rectory on Saturday.
Services triumphed 79-24 against their Cornish visitors, who had been struggling to get a team together for the trip across the Tamar due to players away.
“Fair play to Wadebridge for turning up as they were thinking of pulling out, but they did want to fulfil the fixture, which was brilliant for us,” said Services head coach Ben Russell.
“We played some lovely stuff, to be honest. We were 50-12 up at half-time and then we made a lot of changes and Wadebridge came back and scored a couple of tries, but then our fitness just kicked in.
“It was a good run-out. Wadebridge came up with a team full of youngsters and they really battled.”
Services’ squad did include prop James McFarlane, who has moved to the Rectory after leaving Plymouth Albion. He had enjoyed a short loan spell there last season before he then went on loan to Ivybridge. Tom Davies has also returned to Services from Albion and played on Saturday.
Hooker Joe Daley got Services off the mark against Wadebridge before former Liskeard-Looe player Ollie Aggis pulled the Cornish side level.
But Services then put their foot on the gas and took a 50-12 half-time lead with tries by Toby Lean, Harrison Coonick (2), Dylan Daley and Freddie Davies (2).
Wadebridge pulled it back to 50-24 after the interval before Services finished strongly, with Liam Jarvis and Tom Davies among their late try scorers.
Dan Goldstone and Tom West added the conversions for Services.
Counties One Western West side Plymstock Albion Oaks took plenty of positives out of a pre-season friendly at Regional One South West side Brixham.
Oaks lost the mix-and-match game 40-27 but the score might have been even closer had Oaks taken a kicking tee with them.
“It was a really good game,” said Oaks’ Mark Lenthall. “The boys played some really good rugby. I think try-wise it was fairly even but we didn’t have a kicking tee so we were just drop-kicking conversions.
“I think the boys enjoyed it. We took 28 players over there and it was good for the confidence. We dominated the scrums.”
Oaks did give run-outs to summer signings Matt Finn, Tom Richards, Josef Spencer and Josh Pinder.
A mix-and-match Tavistock side were given a good run out by Plymouth Argaum at Sandy Park.
Argaum were 12-5 up at half-time before Tavistock brought on some experienced replacements and came back to lead 22-12 before the visitors got a late try to make the final score 22-17.
Both clubs felt they got a lot of the fixture.
In the absence of head coach Joel Caddy, Joe Hair and Will Reed took charge of the team on Saturday.
Hair said: “We had a lot of youngsters out there who didn’t get a run out against Crediton last week.
“The team that went out were boys that have been training and turning up every week and Argaum really took it to us, but I think we fronted up well.
“There was maybe a bit of indecision out there but we are still trying to work out platforms and structures. When you mix-and-match players it is always going to take a little while to gel.
Reed added: “Some of the youngsters did step up. A lot of colts have moved up and it has given us a lot more strength. They will do well for the second team and some will be pushing for the firsts.
“Full credit to Plymouth Argaum, they are never an easy side to beat. For about three years they were our bogey side. Some of the boys have not played them before but they never gave up and so it was a good test for us.”
Argaum boss Dean Avery was delighted with how his makeshift team performed.
“It was a fantastic result for us really,” he said. “We basically had a bare 15 with three players on the bench who had not played for many years. Players have come in and it just shows that what we are doing at the club is right. It is really positive for us.
“We’ve got loads of guys to come back in, but there’s certainly now appetite for shirts. There’s a lot of competition.”
The downside for Argaum was that key player Tom Worboys suffered a nasty facial injury and had to go to hospital for stitches and with a suspected fractured cheekbone.
It was Argaum’s first pre-season run-out and it was a chance for them to experience the new tackle law.
“The referee did ref it very well,” said Avery. “It is really hard for the lower clubs like us as even if you have 16 players at training to have eight against eight you don’t want to be smashing each other, so it is really hard to coach this new rule. But I thought the referee was good.”
Against a young Tavistock side, Argaum dominated the early stages. They were held up over the line before Al Percival scored on the left.
But 11 minutes later Tavistock levelled with a try by flanker Russell Lumley. However, midway through the first half, Argaum restored their lead with a try by hooker Darren Ewers following a line-out, which Cheyene Edwards converted.
Argaum did have new signing Lee Rowley sin-binned minutes later but they defended well with 14 men.
Tavistock brought on a few more recognisable first team players in the second half and they cut the gap to 12-10 with a try by centre Alex Lewandowski.
Straight away Tavistock added a second try after Argaum messed up the re-start and the hosts attacked brilliantly from the scrum on halfway with Conor Packwood scoring down the right.
Another try followed through Johnny Harris, but Argaum kept going and scored with the last play of the game courtesy of Tom Holliday.
Tavistock will play OPMs next weekend. The Old Boys enjoyed a good run-out against Saltash at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.
Saltash took two squads over the Tamar and the clubs played three periods – two at 30 minutes in length and one at 40 minutes to be able to field different players and different teams.
OPMs won the first period 5-0 with a try from winger Alex Mitchell.
The hosts also won the second period 19-7 to lead 24-7 overall, with tries by Jake Aqualina, Pete Regan and Alex Jewel and Matt Smale adding two conversions. Saltash’s try in that period came Billy Dover, with Ben Law converting.
Saltash did dominate and won the final 40-minute period, although there was some debate about the overall final score.
The Ashes thought it was 47-38 to them, but OPMs said the referee told them that he made it 45-41 to them. However, either way both clubs were happy with the run-out and the chance to give plenty of players some game-time.
Saltash’s tries in the final period came from Steve Hillman, a hat-trick from Ryan Cruickshanks and two from Will Morton.
Old Techs opened their pre-season campaign with a trip down to Cornwall to play higher league Newquay Hornets.
The first half was even, with the Hornets just edging it 8-5, but the hosts got two more tries in the second period to win 23-5.
Ivybridge’s planned home game against Crediton was cancelled.
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