OKEHAMPTON’S poor record on the Plymouth plastic prevailed after a decisive last 20 minutes, writes Adam Holliday.
Matches between these two sides normally go with the home side and this was no different, although Okey put themselves into position to take the away win but were unable to seize the opportunity.
The visitors were right in the match for long periods despite never really hitting form and without much real structure. They fielded possibly their youngest pack for years, at times all bar two graduating from colts rugby over the last couple of seasons.
Luke Simmons, at out half in the absence of Dan Fogerty, kicked an early penalty before the hosts scored two tries to lead 10-3.
Okes winger Kieran Lee then deftly picked up a bouncing pass off his toes to scoot over for a nice score for the Okes after a strong period of possession. Simmons converted from the touchline.
Ivy scored another try, then Simmons first missed a penalty then landed one right on the break to make it 15-13 at the interval. Okes were right in this contest and a valuable away win to break the losing sequence seemed possible.
Ivybridge extended their lead with an early penalty, then Okey’s wily left winger, Matt Dennis, stepped inside the cover on 50 minutes to bring things level once more.
Okehampton then failed to kick on and their inexperience showed at times as penalty concessions proved costly. Two more home tries in the next 15 minutes made it tough, but when Okey’s replacement colts winger Hugo Denman scored on the overlap out wide, they had a slight foothold once again.
Now seven points adrift with a few minutes remaining and the hosts with a man in the bin, Okes failed to deal effectively with the restart. The hosts sensed an opportunity and a late try sealed Okey’s fate and took away even a losing bonus point.
It was another frustrating afternoon for the young Okes but there were positives. More experience gained, Callum Arnold and Nathan Tomkins carried well, Leon Horn was his useful sharp self and Rhys Palmer accumulated more game time and performed solidly.
Next week sees the visit of Launceston, a derby for which the Okes will need little motivation. Home support will be crucial as the Okes look to climb away from the bottom echelons.
Kick-off is 2.30pm.