The atmosphere before the start of this match was like the gun fight at the Oke Corral. Both teams unbeaten throughout the season and after the 6 - 6 draw in the 'Battle of the Somme' at Okehampton, you could almost cut the atmosphere with a chainsaw.
The visitors did their best to intimidate with their extra loud warm up routine, whilst Ivybridge quitely went about their business, totally focussed on the task ahead.
The slow, boggy conditions at Okehampton, on their sloping pitch, had suited the claret and gold style of 'pick and drive' rugby and Ivybridge had done well to come away with a draw. In complete contrast, the perfect conditions at Cross in Hand for fast, flowing rugby gave the home side the opportunity to demonstrate why they have been so dominant all season. In both fixtures, Oke were well aware of the threat of Ivy's backs and needed to keep the ball and slow the game down. To win the game, Ivybridge had to match them physically up front to secure good possession and then deliver the ball out wide, and that's exactly what they did. What the Ivybridge pack lacked in size, they made up for in strength and technical ability with some outstanding work by the front row of, Morgan, Bennett and Pullen, later replaced by Richardson. Second rows Weston and Wilson were rarely threatened in the line out and Wilson bagged two tries to top off his return from injury. Flankers, Oates and Pollard, the quietest players on and off the pitch but never shy of getting stuck in, won 50/50 ball all over the pitch and Okehampton couldn't cope with the strength and pace of Beaumont at number 8, who picked up a great try for his effort. The lightning reactions around the scrum by scrum-half, Watts, caught his opposite number napping on many occasions and his delivery to fly half, Magrath, was the platform for many attacking moves. One such move, with terrific support and off load passing, gave full back, Briant, his 8th try of the season.
Okehampton never gave up and at 15 - 0 down, clawed the game back to 15 - 6 after kicking a couple of penalties. The result could have been very different had the visitors not squandered 4 other kickable penalties or made more of the 20 minutes they had with a man advantage, following two sin bin decisions by the referee.
Ivybridge settled the home supporters nerves with a converted try under the posts to bring the score up to 22 - 6 with only minutes to go, and secure another bonus point. Still Oke persisted and with a late penalty they kicked to touch in the Ivy corner. Despite holding them up on several occasions earlier in the game, the Oke pack did breach the Ivy defence to score but it was all too late.
This was an outstanding game of rugby, played in the true spirit of the game by both sides and is going to make the season's Cup final between these two sides a fantastic spectacle to watch.