Tavistock 12

Devonport Services 6

TAVISTOCK won a gruelling encounter in wet and windy conditions at Sandy park on Saturday against their visitors from Plymouth. This victory now takes Tavistock two points above Minehead, who are now second bottom, in their fight to avoid relegation from the league.

After six defeats in a row Tavistock badly needed this victory and with four games left, one against fellow strugglers Minehead and a return with Devonport, Tavistock feel that survival in the division should now be in their own hands.

Services started the stronger and immediately put pressure on the Tavistock defence. But defence on Saturday was something Tavistock were good at, and despite taking a pounding they refuse to crack. Duncan Law and the evergreen Paul Williams - before he went off injured just before half time - were excellent around the fringes of ruck and maul and when Devonport did spin the ball wide back three of Danny Luffman, Ian Grey and James Kaminski would not be passed.

After repelling the early attacks Tavistock broke out of defence and in one sweeping move, initiated by Doug Lloyd and Will Brown, Tavistock set James Kaminski on his way to the line. James chipped through the Devonport defence and was impeded by Services Nathan Wonnacott while chasing the ball and referee Ian awarded Tavistock a penalty try. Josh Sutton added the conversion.

Devonport were then awarded a penalty for a Tavistock offence which centre Matt Anstis converted to reduce the Tavistock lead.

Back came the home side to increase the lead. A move initiated by the Tavistock back row worked James Kaminski in for a try wide out on the right. The conversion failed. Before the break Anstis converted a second penalty for a 12-6 half time score line.

Playing against the slope and the elements in the second half Tavy knew they needed to keep the ball tight and cut out any unforced errors. Skipper and number eight Jake Phillips, fellow back rower James Bruna and second rows Andy Hunt and Andrew Griffiths were magnificent. This hard work amongst the forwards kept Tavy in the Devonport half for long periods of time and one particular driving maul was the closest either side came to scoring in the second half.

At the end Tavistock were forced to defend as Devonport at last got into Tavistock territory and a relieved crowd saw scrum half Alex Moy clear the ball to touch for the referee to sound the final whistle.