Press Reports (17)
Plymouth Argaum entertain OPM's on Boxing Day in the annual meeting between the two clubs.
This year, the fixture coincides with Argaum Stalwart, Pete Duff's testimonial game. After playing local Rugby for 23 years, all of them for Argaum, Pete(54) has decided to hang-up his boots and at the request of his long-suffering wife Bev, get an operation ton straighten his infamously crooked nose.
Pete was brought to Argaum by a work colleague, Paddy Gillespie during the 81/82 season and initially started as a Hooker, before switching to number nine, alledgely for an easier time. Over the years, Pete has fulfilled various roles for the club, including becoming Club Captain.
I'm sure that everyone would agree that Plymouth Argaum is as much Pete Duff as Pete Duff is Plymouth Argaum. Argaum look forward to seeing him continue his support for the club. He has firmly been cemented in it's history.
Argaum are hoping to welcome plenty of old faces back to Bickliegh Down, as well as a sprinkling of new talent for an occasion richly deserved.
The bar will be open to host a good, old-fashioned Argaum knees-up, so it would be great to see everyone there.
Kick-off is at 12 o'clock, meet in the clubhouse at 11am.
You can't, however, keep a good front row forward down.
After a couple of years off, Fuge was persuaded by Howell Phillips, now head coach at Devon One outfit Plymouth Argaum, to return to his original club. His last season as an active player – he thought – was at the former Plymouth Civil Service, now Plymouth Barbarians.
Fuge, who is 60 in February, said: "Even though I was coaching there, I was still called on to play when somebody didn't turn up. "But the last couple of years, I really didn't do anything, until Howell called me in the summer and asked me to join him at Argaum on the coaching side. "However, Argaum's hooker retired because of persistent shoulder problems. "Mark Handley took up hooking and was moved there from prop.
PLYMOUTH Argaum, this season's Devon One surprise package, will be looking to add another two points to the tally which has put them in runners-up spot at Dartmouth tomorrow.
Dartmouth, one off the bottom, have managed just three points this season, but are capable of packing a punch at home if they can get a full side out.
Argaum: (from): E Notley, D Humphreys, M Handley, K Anderson, M O'Kane, J Venner, J White, J Theophanides (capt), C Hamer, B Millman, A Baird, J Ekins, J Twiss, A Critcheley, D Caers, G Michaels, T Hickey, I Miller, D Fuge.
FORMER Plymouth Albion hooker Dave Fuge will once again line-up in promotion -chasing Plymouth Argaum's front-row when they meet local rivals Plympton Victoria.The match is due to take place at Marsh Mills, but if Plym Vic's pitch is unplayable it will be switched to Bickleigh Down (2.30pm).
Fuge, who played more than 400 games for Albion in the 1970s, '80s and '90s, will turn 59 in January but, according to coach Howell Phillips, he is doing a great job for Argaum. "He is really doing a job for the team," said Phillips. "He is also our team manager and has really shaken things up. "He keeps himself very fit and he said he would play if there was nobody else. He is a real character."
Argaum have only lost two league games this season and their back-row of teenage Royal Marine Jake White, Josh Theophanides and Jamie Venner are really catching the eye. "The team's ticking over quite well," added Howell. "We are still getting the wins and we are looking forward to playing Plympton Vic, whether it be at Marsh Mills or Bickleigh Down."
SURPRISE leaders Plymouth Argaum are at winless but steadily improving St Columba and Torpoint. If Argaum had tried to buy a win in the early part of last season, it is likely their credit would have been refused. But they are top this season after three straight wins and coach Howell Phillips said: "I'm pleased with the progress, although I think the boys are a bit too anxious at times. "I haven't played at St Columba for years, but I know this game won't be easy. "The minute you start thinking games are easy, is the minute you start losing."
Argaum (from): E Notley, J Twiss, C Stokes, M O'Kane, K Anderson, J White, M Hunt, J Theophanides (capt), C Hamer, T Hickey, J Venner, A Baird, J Taaffe, A Critcheley, D Humphries, G Kelly, G Michael, S Barnes.
St Columba & Torpoint (from): G Ibbotson (capt), T Green, S Clancy, R Owles, M Perry, D Oakley, B Green, L Fairbrother, M Chenneour, R Hughes, R Pickup, D Bettridge, S Winfield, A Smith, M Grieve, M Matthews, L Richards, S Lister.
RESURGENT Plymouth Argaum will be going for a rare hat-trick of wins at Bickleigh Down tomorrow (3pm).
They face Plympton Victoria, who have yet to register a league victory this season.
Argaum spokesman Stuart Quarterman said, however, they were looking to overturn an earlier cup defeat by Victoria in tomorrow's Kevin Cooper -sponsored match.
Quarterman said: "We want to make a point of overturning the result in the cup.
"We also want to make a point to ourselves that although we've won our last two games, we could have played better than we did and we need to progress."
Not surprisingly, Freeman is sticking with the same line-up which comprehensively dismantled South Hams' finest at home to Plymouth Argaum tomorrow (3pm).
Freeman, aware that it is early days yet in the 2009-10 season, admitted only to being 'encouraged' by last week's result.
He said: "Ten of our guys are 21 or under, which is a good sign for the future.
"We are certainly sticking with the side which did so well against Dartmouth."
Argaum are looking to build on a positive performance last week against Tamar Saracens.
Although Argaum lost 34-5, coach Howell Phillips was far from disheartened.
"Tamar Saracens finished near the top of Devon One last season while we were bottom of Devon Two, so it was a positive performance from us," said Phillips. "We just paid for falling asleep a couple of times.
"But everyone at the club is very positive. We have got some new blokes in and everyone has come together."
DHSOB's second team, the Wizards, kick off for the first time this season against an Argaum team at Stonehouse Creek (3pm).
Following that, there is a club social event which starts at 5.30pm.
Argaum were defeated 43-10 by local Devon One South and West rivals Plympton Victoria at Marsh Mills.
But tomorrow it will be a much-changed line-up on parade for the league opener at Bickleigh Down for the second derby encounter in seven days.
"We have done a lot of work pre-season and we are now nearly at full strength," said Argaum's player-spokesman Stuart Quarterman.
"We have got a brand new backline and a brand new back five so it will take a few weeks to gel. But we need to improve from last week.
"We know Tamar Saracens are going to be strong."
Sarries plan to be even stronger tomorrow from the side who went down 30-5 at Torrington in the Devon Intermediate Cup last Saturday.
Saracens chairman Huw Davies said: "We go to Argaum strengthened by three or four players compared to the squad who travelled to Torrington last week.
"The boys did okay and it took a sin-binning on 30 minutes before we shipped any points.
"As a result a couple of the new guys have kept their places in the team."
Davies added: "We know very little about Argaum having not played a competitive match against them for a number of years.
"However, we understand they have prepared well and we will need full concentration and commitment to get anything."
Sarries seconds play their first-ever Merit Table match with a tough fixture at Totnes.
Saracens (from): G Hood, N McGuire, N Coutts, P Lethbridge, D Wills, L Welsh, N Knight, C Miller, M Cox (capt), P Jackson, A Jameson, C Cox, G Davies, S Malone, A Watson, T Rodgers, M Woods, E Cox.
Argaum: M Schaab, A Beard, J Venner, C Facey, D Case, C Hamer, P Lammin, M Handley, D Humphries, E Notley, M O'Kane, B Hosking, J Theophanides, J White, K Anderson. Reps: D Handley, M Hunt, S Barnes, I Miller, G Michaels.
Coach: Nigel Bullock
Captain: Shaun Bedford-Smith
Ins: Mitch Turner (prop/flanker) from 42 Commando, Tony Luxton (prop/second row) from Callington, Neil Herbert (flanker)
TECHS' skipper Shaun Bedford-Smith is not forecasting as successful a season for the Old Boys as 2008/09, but is looking forward to trying to match last term's achievements.
The Weston Mill outfit last season finished runners-up in Devon Two, won the Ellis Trophy and also the Merit Table.
But long-term injuries to experienced playing staff, including Bedford-Smith (foot), means the Techs will not be at their strongest until later in the year.
"We've brought in quite a few new players but because we've got seven or so out with injuries, it means we're not really any further ahead," said Bedford-Smith.
"Last year we did really well and we're looking forward to giving it another good go this season, but we know it'll be a tough old division."
Techs do not start their league campaign until Saturday, September 12.
But tomorrow they are in action at Weston Mill in the first round of the Devon Intermediate Cup, against the team who beat them to last season's Devon Two championship, New Cross (3pm).
"It's going to be a tough start for us because they ran away with the title last year," said Bedford-Smith.
"But the match will at least serve as a marker for our players – it'll show them what to expect for the rest of the season."
Old Techs (from): Mitch Turner, Steve Wilkinson (capt), Simon Raymont, Chris McCosh, Chris Lancefield, Jamie Venner, Nick Dorian, John Maxwell, Garry Cox, Derek Ingleson, Dan Doyle, P Ingleson, Gary Quick, Martyn Cooper, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Tony Luxton, Neil Herbert.
Coach: Mark Malone
Captain: Mike Cox
TAMAR Saracens enter the new season with optimism, according to club chairman Huw Davies.
"After finishing as Plymouth's top side in Devon One last year, we would like to think we could build on that and mount a challenge towards the top of the new division," said Davies.
"We have prepared as well as possible by head coach Mark Malone assisted by forwards coach Steve Vosper.
"We have not dipped below 25 guys since our return to training in early July."
Saracens have not lost any players, but have welcome a few additions to their ranks.
Although Davies is confident, he is not getting carried away.
He said: "I have been around long enough to know that things can look good in September and not so good by January.
"It is important we get a good start to the season to help keep the momentum going."
Saracens kick off their season tomorrow when they travel to Torrington in the Devon Intermediate Cup (3pm).
Coach: Terry Bartlett
Captain: Scott Sheldon
PLYMOUTH Barbarians are expecting a tough season.
The club have suffered a number of departures during the summer.
Not only has player-coach Richard Thompson – the former Albion star – had to stand down due to coaching commitments at Plymouth College, but they have also said goodbye to the likes of James Hannaford, Dave Clarke, Mark Symes, Callum Harding and Steve Hammond.
Former Albion flanker Terry Bartlett will take over the coaching role at the club, despite his increasing passion for running.
Meanwhile, the club have celebrated securing a new 12-month contract on the use of Bull Point for home games.
But club chairman Danny Avery knows it could be a trying season for the side formerly known as Plymouth Civil Service.
"We are struggling a bit on the coaching side and have lost a number of players, but the guys just have to dig in and try and get us through the season," he said.
"We are certainly happy with the new league structure.
"It means we don't have as much travelling and the fact that they have combined the bottom of Devon One with Devon Two is probably a blessing in disguise for us."
Barbarians start their season tomorrow when they travel Salcombe in the Devon Intermediate Cup.
However, they have yet to name a team.
DEVONPORT HIGH SCHOOL OLD BOYS
Director of Rugby: Mike Freeman
Coaches: Dominic Davidson, Adrian Howe, Simon Kallis
Captain: Jamie Burton
Ins: John Addison (second-row), Ben Hughes (full-back), Tom March (centre/winger), Damian O'Connell (centre), Richard Harris (hooker), Luke Gray (back-row) from Devonport Services
Outs: Warren Dunkley to OPMs
DIRECTOR of rugby Mike Freeman said DHSOB are targeting a play-off place at least this season.
The top five in Devon One South West will qualify for a shot at promotion.
And Freeman is optimistic that a new-look DHSOB can prove competitive this season, with automatic promotion a possibility.
"We have had a great pre-season, training has been very promising and the team is approaching the season in positive mood," said Freeman.
"I am very encouraged by the general atmosphere within the club and I cannot wait for the season to start.
"Our aim is to get into the top five of Devon One South and West and reach the play-offs – that is the minimum we want to achieve.
"We won't be making any rash predictions, but if we play to our full potential, and with a bit of luck, we could just get promotion."
DHSOB kickstart their league campaign a week-tomorrow at home to Dartmouth.
First they travel to Ilfracombe tomorrow for a Devon Junior Cup first round tie.
"We are without a few players because of the Bank Holiday, but we are intending to go there and have a good day out," said Freeman.
DHSOB (from): S Poole, N Walters, K West, P Walters, J Addison, R Bevan, J Burton, L Minter, A Howe, R Harris, B Marsden, L Farley, A Buckley, N Harthill, S Richardson, D Jenkins, D Kitchen, B Hughes, T March, S Petrie, S Pearson, D Rosevear, A Croft.
ST COLUMBA & TORPOINT
Director of Coaching: Chris Goodman
Coach: John Walk
Ins: Seamus Clancy (centre/back row), Tom Green (full-back), Rob Pickup, Eddie Goodman (back)
Outs: Jay Geraty to Devonport Services
COLUMBA chief Chris Goodman believes the club will benefit from an encouraging pre-season and their emphasis on recruiting local Torpoint talent this term.
Goodman believes they suffered last season in Devon One because their servicemen were too often unavailable due to duties overseas.
However, with new coach John Walk on board and an influx on young talent, including son Eddie, Goodman cannot wait for the new league season to get underway.
Tomorrow Saints have a tester when last term's rivals in Devon One, Topsham are the visitors for a Devon Junior Cup first round clash at the temporary venue of Keyham (3pm).
Columba's home ground Defiance Field is being used for cricket until after the Bank Holiday.
Columba (from): M Matthews, A Smith, M Grieve, R Green, D Betteridge, R Hughes, S Lister, M Ruskyn, B Green, B Hobbs, M Penny, S Clancy, M Morris, T Green, J Wilson, N Martin, R Pickup, S Winfield, E Goodman, J Chenner, G Ibbotson, D Oakley.
Coach: Howell Phillips
Captain: Josh Theophanides
Ins: Chris Stokes and Joe Sayles both from Devonport Services, Kevin Anderson and Mark O'Kane both from Old Techs, Colin Rees from Ivybridge
Outs: Andy Jones moved to London
ARGAUM'S ambition is to match their enthusiasm with a more competitive edge in their new league this season.
Spokesman Stuart Quarterman believes with coach Howell Phillips directing operations and a new skipper at the helm, Argaum should be a more effective unit in 2009/10.
Their first test comes tomorrow against old rivals from Devon Two, Plympton Victoria, in round one of the Devon Junior Cup at Marsh Mills (3pm).
"The season will start in earnest for us on September 5 when we play Tamar Saracens, arguably the best team in the division," said Quarterman.
"But we're looking in good shape in pre-season and with a good team behind us are looking ahead rather than back."
Coach: Paul Wright
Captain: Andy Witts
Ins: Richie Taylor (centre), Ben Towle (centre)
COACH Paul Wright accepts stepping up to a newly-formed league will present a tough challenge for his side this term.
Victoria host Plymouth Argaum at Marsh Mills in a cup tie tomorrow, before they open league hostilities against Salcombe next Saturday (September 5).
"We know it's going to be tough for us, as the new league will consist of several Devon One teams as well," said Wright.
"We'd hoped to have a low-key fixture as a starter, but instead we've got our old rivals from Devon Two, Argaum, in the cup.
"We lost and beat them last season, but they're supposed to be a lot stronger this year, so we'll have to see how it goes.
"Like the league, it's all new and a learning curve for us."
Techs were leading 10-0 when the referee got fed up with comments being directed at him from the touchline.
After just 50 minutes, he decided enough was enough and abandoned the match.
The teams are expecting to have to replay the fixture at Weston Mill and hope to be told exactly when on Tuesday.
DHSOB coach Mike Freeman admitted: "They (Techs) were leading at the time and probably would have won the game.
"I expect, though, the whole match will have to be played again, because there's no way they will let a result stand after just 50 minutes' play."
The Old Boys want to finish as high as they can in Devon Two before it disappears into a regionalised Devon One next season following an RFU league shake-up.
They are at Buckfastleigh Ramblers tomorrow (2.30pm). Their Wizards second team are also away, at Kingsbridge II in the Devon Merit Table and both sides should meet at Stonehouse Creek at 12noon.
DHSOB (from): S Poole, N Waters, P Ackerman (capt) P Waters, S Clancy, R Bevan, S Turner, P Rushforth, L Farley, A Buckley, K West, W Dunkley, N Harthill, D Kitchen, J Ince, R Whitney, D Rosevear.
OLD Technicians have not given up hope of ending the Devon Two campaign in second place and will be aiming to bolster their bid at home to Plymouth Argaum tomorrow (2.30pm).
Although the proposed new league format for 2009/10 is expected to result in Devon Two disappearing into a regionalised Devon One format, Techs will keep chasing North Tawton, who hold second spot.
The Old Boys have two matches in hand of Tawton, but are six points adrift of them.
So points tomorrow would be handy, said skipper Shaun Bedford-Smith before adding a caveat against taking improved Argaum lightly.
A wise move given Argaum secured their first success of the season over another city side, Plympton Victoria, a fortnight ago.
"I saw they'd won (24-22) and fair play to them, because they've carried on through lean times of late," said Bedford-Smith, who will miss tomorrow's tie through injury.
"Argaum have added new players and have also got a new coach in Howell Phillips, and they are much improved.
"But we've got ambitions of our own, no matter what the supposed league lay-out next season will be.
"If there's a chance we can get second place, we'll go for it."
Aside from Bedford-Smith, who has a neck injury, fly-half Ian Young is out after being injured in a motoring accident.
But Gary Cox and Matt Jacques are both included in a strong Techs' squad.
Old Technicians: R Tunnicliffe, M Cooper, G Cox, P Ingleson, G Quick, D Doyle, D Ingleson, D Kessell, S Wilkinson, Dave Shepherd, N Dorian, C Mansfield, J Venner, N Williams, M Young, S Raymont, Dan Shepherd, D Scott, M Jacques.
PLYMPTON Victoria can do Techs a favour as North Tawton are the visitors to the St Boniface Arena.