Bickleigh Down was bathed in glorious sunshine as the inaugural Plymouth Argaum Tag Rugby Festival took place. Ten teams from 7 local schools (Bickleigh Down, Boringdon, Langley, Lipson, Southway, St Peters and Tamerton Vale) took part in the competition which was divided into 2 groups followed by a series of play-offs to decide winners and runners-up.
It was a credit to both sides that so much rugby was played on the heavy pitch. The home side came very close to securing their first win of the season but the greater experience of Topsham told in the end. The visitors opened the scoring in the first half with a try which was duly converted but despite playing down the slope could not get past some stout Argaum defence so the half-time score remained at 7-0. In the second period Argaum gained more possesion and looked dangerous when spreading the ball wide. Several attacks were held up near the line by Topsham but eventually swift handling saw Rhys Dymock-Williams crossing for his debut try. Rhys Johnson's conversion levelled the scores but despite a couple of good chances to take the lead it was Topsham's counter-attacking which saw them score two late tries to give the final scoreline a slightly lop-sided feel.
The Under 11s produced probably their best performance of the season and opened the scoring with an opportunist try from Jared Williams. Playing up the hill the Argaum backs took the game to their opponents and some strong running saw a further try from Guy Webber whilst second rows Liam Quick and Lewis Furniss grabbed a pair of tries each, with Webber knocking over 2 conversions. The scoring was reduced in the second half thanks to some magnificent defence from the visitors who battled bravely throughout the match and were unlucky not to have crossed the line themselves. However Guy Webber crossed for 2 further tries for the home side whilst Jez Cramoysan slotted 2 conversions to complete the scoring.
Conditions were difficult for all sides on Sunday at Bickleigh Down but the Under 10s served up a cracking opening encounter with play running from end to end. Six tries were shared between the teams in the first half and although both sides tired in the second half it went right down to the wire. With the scores at 20-20, Topsham stole a line-out near Argaum's line and drove over the line to clinch victory. The prolific Kal Bloomfield scored 3 of the home side's tries while Joseph Walker added the other.
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.
Both sides fielded combined Under 14/13 sides and it proved to be a fitting finale to the morning's proceedings, a physical encounter with some determined tackling from both sides. David Collier opened the scoring for the home side with a well balanced run from the halfway line, Leon Clarke and Ieuan Evans also crossed the whitewash for a 15-5 half time lead. Salcombe came back determindly after the interval with three converted tries, but in an exciting last quarter Nick Bywater touched down after a bulldozing run. Ieuan Evans crossed for a second time after quick-thinking from a tap penalty to leave the result in the balance until the end.
The home side lent 3 players to Salcombe in what was a well contested game. Captain Rhys Johnson touched down twice for Argaum to lead 10-5 at half-time with the prospect of playing down the slope. In the second half however Salcombe were able to gain much more possession and demonstrated speed in their backline to run in 3 tries. Argaum had several powerful drives for the line but could not ground the ball in the seconf period.
The Under 10s have already had a couple of victories this season against Saltash and continued their good run against Salcombe. Both teams seemed to enjoy playing up the slope as the Tigers established a 30-5 half time lead whilst the second half was much more evenly contested. The Argaum try scoring was dominated by Kal Bloomfield who ran in an amazing 9 tries while Robert Oades and Jacob Ashton also got onto the scoresheet.