Okes climbing clear of rugby danger
Okehampton moved out of the Tribute League South West Regional One Division relegation zone after a fourth straight win, 41-25 at Oakland Park – another pulsating game that confirmed their vast improvement in recent weeks.
Since losing at Brixham on December 3, the Okes have beaten Weston-super-Mare, Devonport Services away, Drybrook and Ivybridge.
The bottom of the table (two to go) now reads: Drybrook 15pts, Exmouth 29, Weston 30, Okehampton 30, Old Centralians 33.
Trailing 21-7 at the break and 31-20 later, Okehampton had to withstand a spirited Ivybridge fightback to cut the score to 31-25 with four minutes remaining.
But a second try by Nathan Tompkins, from an attempted drop goal by captain Dan Fogerty, helped seal it off.
Tompkins, player-coach Richard Bolt, Saul Holliday and Leon Horn all hit threes, with Fogerty kicking 16 extra points.
Okehampton don’t play this weekend (it’s one of the scheduled seasonal breaks for most teams) but they have a tough one when they resume on February 11 – Chew Valley (3rd) away.
Crediton are still going strong in Region Two – their 43-26 home win over Sherborne kept them in second place behind champions-elect St Austell, still three points ahead of Truro and two games in hand on the Cornishmen.
Bottom of the table Bridgwater & Albion are the visitors at Blagdon this Saturday.
The biggest shock of last weekend was at Cullompton, where the Counties One Western West leaders suffered their first defeat in 16 games this season.
Tiverton pushed Cully near Bolham Road earlier in the season and they produced a powerful forward display to lower their colors in front of a raucous home crowd.
An overdrive try by Matt Elliott was not enough to stop Tivvy trailing 5-10 at the break, but it was the boot of Jack Sampson that turned the tables in the second half.
Cullompton still led 13-11 with two minutes remaining, but Sampson scored one last penalty to win it.
It means that Cullompton, who have a game in hand, and Topsham are now level on points, and the two teams meet at Cully in a fortnight’s time (Feb 18).
Tiverton remain fourth, ahead of Bideford who beat Bude 27-7, while Wiveliscombe held off a second-half onslaught from visitors Paignton to win 25-24.
Tavistock’s 46-24 win at Ivybridge 2nd keeps them clear at the top of Counties Two Devon; other results – Barnstaple 2nd 32 Brixham 2nd 8, Exeter Saracens 37 South Molton 17, Honiton 38 North Tawton 16.
Crediton 2nd XV went top of Counties Three Devon East with a 49-14 win at New Cross, and they travel to OPMs (2nd) on February 18; other results – Tiverton 2nd 22 OPMs 19, Buckfastleigh Ramblers 13 Okehampton 2nd 76, Torrington 19 Sidmouth 2nd 20.
This Saturday’s league fixtures include: Region Two – Crediton v Bridgwater; Counties One WW – Cullompton v Bude, Tiverton v Paignton, Wiveliscombe v Bideford; Counties Two Devon – Exmouth v South Molton, Honiton v Withycombe; Cos Three DE – Cullompton II v Torrington.
By Dave Thomas