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RUGBY: Saltash show their strength against Plym Vic, while Argaum are just edged out by Liskeard-Looe

PLYMPTON Victoria warmed up for their return to league rugby with a tough match across the Tamar against a Saltash XV.

Plym Vic started really well and dominated the opening quarter of the game and led 5-0.

But gradually Saltash’s experience, fitness and numbers told and they took hold of the contest. The hosts led 17-5 at the break before going on to win 55-5.

However, Plym Vic took positives from their performance against a Saltash II side that featured a number of players that had experience of playing at level eight.

“The first 20 minutes we played excellent rugby, exactly how we want to play,” said chairman Chris Hunt. “It was a really good game to watch, but then our heads just dropped a bit and we got a bit complacent and the skill and numbers of Saltash – I think they had 11 subs – took over.”

Saltash, whose first team match with Bude had been cancelled, were also happy for the run out with their second team joining the Counties Three Cornwall league.

They appear to have strong competition for places in their two teams ahead of the 2023-24 season.

Head coach Steve Down was pleased with what he saw on Saturday.

“We were a little bit cold and slow at the races last week against OPMs – it took us a while to wake up – but this was a much better performance and you can start to see the training is joining up,” he said.

Plym Vic should have taken the lead in the 11th minute but they grounded the ball on the wrong line. However, they did keep the pressure on and three minutes later they did eventually score courtesy of Lewis Jeffery.

However, slowly Saltash got going and Steve Hillman pulled them level on 27 minutes with a try on the left.

That was followed by touch-downs from Jason Carroll and Fin Jones just before half-time to give them a 12-point lead at the break.

The Ashes were able to bring on the likes of Ryan Cruickshanks and Ryan Simmons in the second half and Plym Vic did tire, although they did keep battling.

Alfie Libby scored a try straight after the break for Saltash, which Cruickshanks converted, and then tries came at regularly intervals for the Ashes.

Aidan Marshall got their next one after an interception and break by centre Danny Snook.

Aidan Marshall then got another before Peter Harrigan and Devan Marshall finished their try scoring.

Plymouth Argaum completed their pre-season campaign with a 14-5 defeat to Liskeard-Looe in a tight affair at Bickleigh Down.

Argaum were again missing a load of players and, just like against Tavistock the week before, fielded a makeshift side.

Both Argaum and Liskeard-Looe found try scoring opportunities limited in a game where there were a lot of turnovers and where both teams defended well.

The clubs played the fixture in four quarters, but there was no scoring in the first.

However, Liskeard-Looe, under the new coaching team of Danny Hutchinson and Tony Smith, took the lead five minutes before half-time when number eight Adam Powell went over for a converted try.

There was then no more scoring until the final five minutes of the match.

Liskeard-Looe, with Archie Doidge impressing, took a 14-0 lead when Kieran Underhill finished off a great break.

But in injury-time Dave Ewers went over for a consolation effort for Argaum.

“We only had 16 players with so many on holiday and we had people playing out of position but it just shows that we can compete, although I am looking forward to having more availability next week,” said Argaum boss Dean Avery.

“The boys dug in. We had an awful lot of possession but we didn’t have those big ball carriers to get us over the line without the likes of Tom Worboys, Dan Smith and Dave Clack.

“But credit to them (Liskeard-Looe), when they had an opportunity they finished – and that’s the difference between last season and this. These are a lot bigger boys and they can finish, just like Tavvy last week.”

Old Techs enjoyed a confidence-boosting 31-20 win over Bodmin at Weston Mill on Saturday.

Will Booth bagged a hat-trick of tries for Techs before picking up a hamstring injury, while Grant Atkin scored their other two touch-downs.

“We were 21-0 up after 15 minutes,” said Techs’ Shaun Bedford-Smith. “But then they did come back.

“They first 20 minutes we did play some outstanding rugby. Everything that we had worked on in training came off.

“But then Bodmin came back and things started to go wrong a bit – we started doing silly things and giving away penalties – but overall it was a good game for both sides and it was played in the right spirit.

“We managed to get quite a few inexperienced players on the field, which was positive. It was good to give new players some game-time.

“Obviously it is nice to win, but we just need to play like we did in that first 15-20 minutes for a bit longer.”

Tavistock took a second team over to North Tawton on Friday evening where they went down 33-12 in wet weather.

The Tavistock side had found themselves 19-0 down but they were better in the second half and did score two tries courtesy of Toby Teague and Jared Hunter.

Tavistock’s first team had supposed to be playing OPMs on Saturday, but that match was cancelled and OPMs instead travelled to Rackerhayes to play level six side Newton Abbot.

OPMs, who impressed in the scrum, did actually take the lead and the game was level at 14-14 before Newton Abbot pushed on and won 47-14.

OPMs felt they did make Newton Abbot work for their win. The visitors weren’t helped by losing flanker Dave Broughton to a head injury.

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