Ivybridge leave it late to see off OPMs in cup
Ivybridge...25 OPMs...15 (after extra-time)
IVYBRIDGE coach Neil Thomson paid tribute to Devon Intermediate Cup opponents OPMs as his side – just – edged the city underdogs out of the competition.
A match which had been twice postponed saw Cornwall-Devon League side OPMs take Western Counties West team Ivybridge to extra-time.
The Bridgers, who are scheduled to face Truro in the league today, sealed the match with two tries in extra-time.
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But they could have won the match had a conversion attempt by full-back Tom Finnie not hit a post.
Senior coach Thomson described the OPMs team who fought back from 15-3 down as a credit to their club.
He said: "OPMs represented their club very well and their performance was a credit to their coaching staff and their players.
"We only played for the first 20 minutes and the last five. We were 15-0 up with three tries, then OPMs got a penalty back and they were really up for it."
Ivybridge lost scrum-half Tim Walker to an ankle injury, replacing him with Ben Watts, which Thomson reckoned damaged the team's continuity.
Mike Cox opened the scoring for Ivybridge with two tries and they then added a third, with Tom Finnie pulling a penalty back for the visitors.
Finnie added a try, but missed the conversion, his kick from an acute angle hitting an Ivybridge post.
Jake Luffman got on the end of a slick OPMs move to score, with Finnie this time adding the extra points.
The game ended at 15-15 after normal time, but Ivybridge had more gas in their tank, scoring two tries to win the match.
One of them was particularly pleasing for winger George de Mendonca, who scored the game's final try.
De Mendonca was making his first appearance with Ivybridge following a serious shoulder injury playing against Tavistock in September.
OPMs' spokesman and assistant head coach Steve Luffman admitted: "It came down to fitness in the end, which was no big surprise, since they (Ivybridge) are a league above us.
"It was a shame to lose, but we were delighted with the performance.
"When Ivybridge went 15-0 ahead, we thought we might get a real beating, but effectively, we drew 15-15 with a team higher than us and I think we would have taken that before the start of the game."
Ivybridge now face Western Counties West rivals Bideford in the semi-finals at home, with the date of the match expected to be February 23.
Both teams, meanwhile, are back to league action today, weather permitting.
Ivybridge face Truro at Cross-in-Hand (2.30pm), while OPMs take on lowly Wessex at Elburton (2.30pm).
OPMs (from): Adam Geogeghan, Jake Aquilina, Kenny West, Kevin Souster, Matt Glastonbury, Dan Loughead, Ed Steven, Tom Clenaghan, Henry Matthews, Jake Luffman, Harry Stephenson, Richard Morton, Chris Harmer, Ash Atkins, Tom Finnie, Gavin Rae, Tim Binding, Sam Morton.