Match Report OPM's 23 - Buckfastleigh 37

OPMs’ are still waiting for a win in 2019 after they lost 37-23 at home to fourth-placed Buckfastleigh in an entertaining game at King George V Playing Fields.

There was little between the sides for 60 minutes, but OPMs just ran out of steam late in the second period.

Mark Hardy, Matt Naylor and Rhys Phillips scored tries for the hosts, with Sammie Matts kicking the rest of their points.

Buckfastleigh’s points came from tries by Scott Mason, Harry Laity, Chris Tester and Stuart Foss, with Laity kicking three penalties and four conversions.

“It was a good game,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “The intensity that we had first half was spot on and was exactly what we asked for. In the second half our line speedy just slipped off a bit.”

Garratt is confident a win will come shortly. Next week they will play the Peninsula Medical School in the quarter-finals of the Lockie Cup.

“It is coming; you can feel it brewing,” said Garratt. “But we are just struggling to get there at the moment.”

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Match Report OPM's 3 - Torrington 5

There was more disappointment for OPMs, who are still looking for their first win of 2019.

They narrowly lost 5-3 at home to Torrington after missing a late penalty that could have won them the game.

Heavy rain and a strong wind made try scoring chances few and far between in the first 60 minutes.

After a scoreless first half, OPMs took the lead 15 minutes from time with a Sammie Matts penalty.

But with eight minutes to go, Torrington got numbers down the blindside and Tom Gooch went over to put his side two points up.

OPMs did get a penalty late on and went for goal but as Matts went to kick it the wind came again.

“The wind was awful,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt.

“But it was a very even game and all the action happened in the last 20 minutes. We were very evenly matched sides to be fair.

“I can’t express how proud I was of OPMs. All we asked was that everyone went out and played with pride, played for the badge and their team-mates and that’s what we did.

“It is still disappointing, don’t get me wrong. It is always disappointing to lose. To be fair, I think I would rather lose 60-0 than lose 5-3. It hurts that little bit extra when it is 5-3.”

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Match Report OPM's 3 - Tamar Saracens 14

TAMAR Saracens continued their good run of form with a hard-earned derby win over OPMs at the Parkway.

Sarries have now picked up 17 points out of their last 20 with victories over OPMs, North Tawton, New Cross and a walkover against Dartmoth.

On Saturday all their points came in the first half with prop Tom Hicklin scoring from a maul and then almost straight away man-of-the-match Fraser Tatchell used his pace to cross for a second. Both tries were converted by the impressive Tom Rigby.

OPMs were a lot better in the second half and in the final 20 minutes really came to life but all they were able to add for their efforts was a Sammie Matts penalty.

“It was a bit of an ugly win, if I’m honest,” said Saracens’ Marc Cioffi. “It was one of those games where we were playing really good rugby until we got into their 22 and then we seemed to get white-line fever and everything went to pot.

“We had the 14 points before half-time, but they came back at us with a better attitude second half. If I’m honest the second half was quite boring and dull. There were some good breaks going forward by both teams, but the tackling from both sides was really good as well.

“I really do think OPMs deserved to be a lot higher in the table.”

OPMs have lost their last three matches and sit third-from-bottom of the table.

“In the forwards it was fairly tight,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “They always come at you with all guns blazing, especially with their forwards, but we did front up.


“Their first try was scored from a maul from a line-out, which was a bit frustrating as usually we are quite good at defending them.

“I think heads dropped a little bit when that score was given and from the next kick-off they ran through the middle of us and scored another try. Again that was very frustrating. You shouldn’t be allowing teams to go straight down the middle of you. Individual tackles weren’t there and that let us down.

“In last 20 minutes of the game we really came alive and we rattled them a lot. We made some decent carries. I just wish we had clicked on in the first half as well as the last 20 of the second. If we had done that we would have been all right.

“All we can do is go into training and work on what needs to be worked on. We just need to get our phases and game-plan going.”

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Match Report OPM 14 Old Techs 15

The big derby match at King George V Playing Fields went right down to the wire with Old Techs just edging out rivals OPMs 15-14.

Techs had to survive having two players sin-binned in the second half and having to defend their try line for 13 minutes of injury-time as they were penalised time after time by the referee, but they somehow managed to hang on and claim the four points to move up to sixth.

Try scoring chances were few and far between in the first period. OPMs had a lot of early territory but never really got close to a try. However, after missing one early kick, Sammie Matts did put over two penalties to edge OPMs 6-0 up.

Techs, who had been frustrated to lose 19-13 to OPMs at the start of the season, reduced the gap with a Billy Evans penalty on 27 minutes.

They got more into the game after that, but in first half injury-time OPMs increased their lead to 9-3 with another Matts penalty.

Techs were a lot better in the second half and they reduced the gap to one point on 50 minutes when flanker Jack Courtney scored a try on the right after a great break by Evans.

OPMs have struggled to score tries this season – they and bottom side New Cross are the only two clubs not to have a try-scoring bonus point this term – but they did finally manage one in the 54th minute on Saturday when Matts went over in the right corner following a scrum.

Trailing 14-8 it didn’t look good for Techs when they had the influential Evans sin-binned on 59 minutes. The visitors were aggrieved by the decision, but it seemed to inspire them and they scored a great try two minutes through Matt Simmonds. With Evans off the field, full-back Dan Bartlett was handed the kicking tee and he crucially added the conversion to edge Techs one point ahead.

But just when they thought they were going to get back to 15 men they had Tony Luxton sin-binned.

Techs, however, did not look in any real danger until the game went into injury-time. The visitors got penalised with the ball near halfway and OPMs kicked for the corner and then spent 13 minutes on Techs’ line. OPMs were awarded penalty after penalty. They tried a host of tap penalties before opting for a five-metre scrum. That was re-set a number of times before the hosts tried down the blindside only to eventually knock-on and finally end game.

“It was a tough win,” said Techs coach Jerry Josee. “We had 10 minutes over-time in the first half and 17 minutes in the second. The referee said to me one minute and 11 minutes later we were still playing.

“It was nip-and-tuck all the way. When we got good possession and ran from depth we got behind them and that was the difference really.”

Josee was pleased with the character his side showed to hang on at the end when everything was going against them.

“They are a strong willed bunch of guys and they will dig deep and fight for each other until the last whistle,” he said.

“We were lucky not to get a try against us at the end, but we defended well and forced them back on the last scrummage to turn the ball over.”

OPMs captain Billy Garratt said: “It is disappointing. I would be interested to know how many penalties were given in the red zone and why another card was not given because it was penalty after penalty after penalty. But it is the ref’s decision at the end of the day and you have to go with it.

“But I can’t fault anyone. I feel it was my error at the end of the game that screwed it up for us. But everyone from one to 20 played really well.

“We are disappointed. We’ve got Tamar Saracens next and we will build at training and focus on our game-plan and go from there. Hopefully, next week is a better result than this.”

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Match Report OPM's 24 - Exeter Saracens 12

OPMs claimed their most impressive win of the season by overcoming high-flying Exeter Saracens.

Article published by Plymouth Sports Gazette 

Saracens arrived at King George V Playing Fields with just one league defeat to their name this season, whereas OPMs had only won three of their eight matches before yesterday. But it was the Old Boys who ran out victorious by three tries to two.

The hosts led 14-7 at the break with tries by captain Billy Garratt and Jake Neville, which were both converted by Sam Matts.

In the second half Matts scored a try, which he also converted, and added a penalty to give OPMs the win.

“It was a very good win,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “Especially as we had a few selection issues this week. We had a flanker starting on the wing, had someone who had retired come on for the last 10-15 minutes and had our nine playing in the centre to start off with, but everyone’s heads were definitely there. Everyone was ready for it and up for a game of rugby.”

It was OPMs’ first win since the end of October.

“We had gone a few games without a win and our second half performances have been poor,” said Garratt. “The losses have come because of our second half performances, but this time our second half performance was the same, if not better, than our first half. We came out firing.”

Match Report Buckfastleigh 9 OPM's 8

OPMs were ‘gutted’ after conceding a controversial drop-goal with the last play of the game to lose 9-8 at Buckfastleigh on Saturday.

The Old Boys were leading 8-6 with time virtually up on the clock. But they gave away a penalty and had a player sin-binned for a high tackle and Buckfastleigh went for goal. Harry Laity missed the penalty kick in the wind and OPMs grounded it in their in-goal area thinking time was up.

However, the referee decided there was still time for one more play and ruled that OPMs have taken the ball into their in-goal area and awarded Buckfastleigh a five-metre scrum. The scrum then went uncontested due to an injury to a Buckfastleigh player and from the set-piece, the hosts went inside and Laity dropped a goal to win the match.

“We are absolutely gutted,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt.

The Old boys were 6-5 down at the break, with Laity kicking two penalties for the hosts and Garratt scoring a try from the back of a good scrum.

With 15 minutes to go Sammie Matts, returning from a wrist injury, came on and kicked a penalty to edge OPMs in front. It looked like they might become the first team outside the top three to beat Buckfastleigh until the late drama.

Despite the disappointment, OPMs were proud of their performance and Garratt felt there were plenty of positives.

“Our defence was incredible,” he said. “We have got back to that place where we are not letting tries in. As much as they tried they could not score.”

Story courtesy of Plymouth Sports Gazette.

Match Report OPM 19 - Totnes 15

OPMs are now up to fifth in the standings after their third league win of the season.

The match could have gone either way, but OPMs showed good game management in the closing stages to see it out.

Shaun Grundy and Mark Hardy scored tries for the hosts in the first half, with Henry Matthews adding one conversion. After the break captain Billy Garratt added a third try, which was also converted by Matthews.

Totnes’ points came from tries two by James Ruddock and a penalty and conversion from Steve Chapple.

OPMs captain Garratt said: “Totnes are very unpredictable, but luckily we got the win, which we are very happy about.”

The Old Boys were pleased with the way they bounced back after losing 50-22 away at Torrington the week before.

“We are much happier this week,” added Garratt. “We did a lot of work on defence at training on Thursday and we performed really well and did exactly what we had done on the training paddock. That got us the win.”

Article by Plymouth Sports Gazette

Match Report OPM 25 Tamar Saracens 24

Article and Photos by Sara Raine Plymouth Sports Gazette

A LATE Henry Matthews penalty secured OPMs a narrow 25-24 victory over city rivals Tamar Saracens at King George V Playing Fields on Saturday.

OPMs, having been 22-12 up mid-way through the second half, found themselves trailing 24-22 going into the dying minutes, but Matthews put them back in front. However, Saracens still had a late chance to win the game, but the hosts desperately managed to keep them out right at the death.

“It was a hard-fought win,” said OPMs captain Billy Garratt. “We really made hard work of it. Our discipline in the first half was good, but we fell off second half. A yellow card got them back into the game.

“There was a scary point at the end when we’d just gone down to 14 again and they put a nice kick in, but we managed to come through and get the win. That’s two out of two now in Devon One.

“But we do have to focus on tackling as I think there was about 23 missed tackles out there.”

Tamar Saracens were unhappy with some decisions which went against them.

“We’re gutted,” said spokesman Marc Cioffi. “It was a tough pill to swallow, especially considering I felt we played the better rugby.

“A few silly decisions cost us the game.

“There was that controversial penalty near the end, but we still came back fighting.”

Sarries took the lead in the first minute. OPMs failed to gather the kick-off and gave away a penalty. The visitors went for the line-out and from it prop Adam Coutts scored and Lewis Swatton converted.

Both teams were making silly mistakes but as the half wore on OPMs began to settle and they pulled level on 25 minutes. After some good play to get into Sarries 22 they were awarded a penalty. They went for the corner and from it Garratt was driven over. Pete Regan converted to equalise.

And almost straight away, OPMs added a second try when fly-half Regan scored on the left after some good play. He also converted to make it 14-7.

Regan increased their lead with a penalty on 37 minutes before Dan Best scored in the right corner to reduce the gap to 17-12 on the stroke of half-time.

OPMs went 22-12 up in the 57th minute when Matthews broke down the blindside to score in the corner.

But the match changed when OPMs had Ben Hooper yellow card on 64 minutes. Straight away, Sarries made the extra man tell with Fraser Tatchell crossing on the left.

And four minutes later, Sarries went ahead when flanker Josh Heath scored a great try which saw him outrageously dummy two OPMs players. Swatton added the conversion to put his side 24-22 ahead.

With time running out, OPMs got a penalty, which was moved forward 10 metres for back-chat. That extra 10 metres made it a far easier kick for Matthews to edge his side back ahead in injury-time.

However, there was plenty of injury-time to add on and OPMs again made a mess of taking the kick-off and gave away a penalty. Sarries opted not to go for goal and instead went for the line-out. Although they lost that, they kept the pressure on and right at the death Swatton nearly scored when he kick over the defence and the ball bounce away from two OPMs players but they somehow managed to stop Sarries from scoring.