Noel-Johnson on the mark as Lions maul struggling Wessex
LIONS eased to a comfortable victory against struggling Wessex with 52 unanswered points at Lux Park.
They started and within 15 minutes had their first try on the board. Liskeard won turnover ball and released centre Mark Moody to score under the posts, the try converted by James Noel-Johnson.
The Lions' second try, just before the break, came when they forced Wessex back into their 22 and won turnover to release wing Brad Burchell, who went in for the try.
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That score was converted by Noel-Johnson to make it 14-0 at the whistle.
Five minutes into the second period a clever cross field kick by Noel-Johnson landed inside the visitors 22 and with a nifty bit of footwork wing Emerson Allen pushed the ball past the full-back, then picked it up and raced in from 20 metres.
Noel-Johnson again added the extras to stretch the Lions' lead against the bottom side in Cornwall-Devon.
On 60 minutes, following a quickly taken penalty kick, the ball was fed to number eight Lewis Elliott, who put in Moody for his second try, again converted by Noel-Johnson.
Four minutes later Liskeard's fifth, but unconverted, try was claimed by centre Sam Grant. A sixth was soon added by prop Mike Mander, following good rucked ball inside the Wessex 22, with Noel-Johnson converting to make the score 40-0.
The magnificent seventh try, following good work by the pack, saw Burchell race in for his second.
A superb tackle by Burchell, just outside the home 22, set up the final try. Flanker Gareth Cooke came up with the ball and made a break to take Lions into the Wessex half. The ball was fed to Noel-Johnson to race through from 40 metres for a try that he also converted to seal a good afternoon for the hosts.
INTERMEDIATE CUP Teignmouth..22 Saltash...17
ASHES, without ever playing at their best, nevertheless were within a score of coming away from Bitton Park with a victory on Saturday.
High-flying Teigns had always looked the likely victors from this tie as Saltash started slowly, but never let the hosts get out of sight.
Saltash coach Nick Skinnard, whose team return to south Devon on January 29 for a Cornwall/Devon clash, felt his players were not at full throttle, but credited Teignmouth for holding their lead as the visitors cut the deficit at the end.
Skinnard said: "Our performance was alright but we couldn't quite make up the difference, although you have to give Teignmouth a lot of credit for that.
"They are a very difficult side to beat and while I'm disappointed at losing, we have another chance against them when we go up there at the end of the month."
The Cornish visitors were 3-0 down to an early home penalty, which swiftly moved to 10-0 courtesy of a converted try.
Ben Devonport's sin-binning added to Ashes' woes, but instead of buckling they came back to draw level with the second-placed league side.
Max Venables kicked a penalty and Lewis Wells scored a try which the former converted to make it 10-10 at half-time.
Teigns kicked three penalties to lead 19-10 and then another to hold a 22-13 advantage after Venables kept Ashes within range of the hosts.
An unconverted try from Ryan Rayner five minutes from time kept the hosts on their toes, but they held on to progress to the next round.
DEVON JUNIOR CUP Salcombe…36 Plymouth Argaum…6
HIGH-flying Devon Two outfit Plymouth Argaum were struck down by what is suspected to be a severe case of the vomiting bug norovirus just before their cup clash with Devon One opponents Salcombe.
Argaum took just 14 players to east Devon and were reduced to 13 when one of them, Dan Smith, was injured.
Head coach Dave Sansom admitted afterwards Argaum would have preferred not to play the fixture.
"We've got a squad of 28 first-teamers and most of them were in bed unwell," said Sansom.
"We had to cancel the second team game and bring in some of them for the firsts and even then we travelled with only 14 people.
"It was dreadful. We had players being sick on the side-line and during the game one of them had to make a dash for the toilets.
"I've never seen that before, have you?
"Dan Smith came off with a shoulder injury, but hopefully he should be ok for next week.
"In fact, I hope all them are ok for next week."
Sansom, however, had plenty of praise for the Argaum players who did turn out and toughed their way through a horrendous 80 minutes.
He said: "I was delighted with all the boys' efforts, because it was always going to be difficult with just 14 players. I don't like losing games, but that's the way it goes and we always try to play our fixtures.
"I was laughing like mad at the end, because with just 13 men, we were camped in Salcombe's 22.
"With a fully-fit team, I think we would have stood a good chance of winning.
"I was proud of the team."
Tom Richards managed to stave off the effects of the virus long enough to sink two penalties for Argaum.
FRIENDLY OPMs …39 Plymstock Alb Oaks…0
THERE was total confusion for city side OPMs, who should have been playing league leaders Teignmouth in a Cornwall-Devon match-up on Saturday.
But, instead, they ended up taking on their rivals from down the road in a friendly.
According to the fixture list, Saltash should have been playing Plymouth Barbarians in the league.
In the end, Saltash's Intermediate Cup fixture against Teignmouth took precedence over the Cornwall-Devon League and Barbarians found themselves at a loose end.
OPMs, at least, managed to gear up for the second half of their league season in a hastily cobbled together club match.
Steve Luffman, OPMs' assistant head coach, said the city side had turned out with half first-teamers and half second-team players.
He said: "The cup does take precedence, and in a sense, it worked out well as we haven't been able to play over Christmas and we needed a game."
Oaks player Richard Hewitt got into a heated discussion with the match referee from which there was only going to be one winner.
Hewitt spent the rest of the match pondering on his misdeed after being red-carded.
However, in the spirit of the game, Oaks were allowed to bring on a substitute as OPMs scored through two tries from wing John McGarry and one each from Ed Steven, Dan Loughead, Martin Skelly and club captain Matt Glastonbury. Gavin Rae provided the rest of his side's points with his boot.
Next up for OPMs is a rescheduled Devon Intermediate Cup clash with Ivybridge at Cross-in-Hand on Thursday evening (7.30).