Bideford collapse to first Western Counties defeat
A CAPITULATION described as "beyond belief" condemned Bideford to their first defeat of the season.
A 31-10 lead turned into a 33-31 deficit as Ivybridge stunned their high-flying visitors.
If the manner of the defeat was not hard enough for Bideford to take, the statistics will not have helped.
Not only was it a first defeat in Tribute Western Counties (west) this term, it was their first in ten league and cup matches; only their second in 15 fixtures; and the first time they had conceded more than 30 points since February 2010.
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James Starkey, the hooker and captain for the day, said: "In phases in the first half we produced some of the best rugby we have played.
"In the second half we just capitulated beyond belief.
"We just didn't react well to them putting pressure on us and made some really poor decisions.
"Everybody was mortified with the way it came about."
Unsurprisingly for a side with such an outstanding record in recent seasons, Bideford are not about to become defeatist.
"It was a massive disappointment and Kevin Booth (the coach) let us know about it afterwards," said Starkey.
"Olly Wickett (the fly half) said it was the one bad half we have had in three seasons of rugby.
"It's not by any means a crisis – we can put it right, I'm sure."
Wickett had a chance to save face for Bideford with the final kick of the game but his long-range penalty slipped under the crossbar.
He had been on target five times in the first half with a penalty and four conversions as Chris Snell, Sam Olde, Simon Bright and Richard Norman crossed the Ivybridge tryline.
The home side had gone 10-3 up in the first five minutes with a try by Luke Martell and Adam Bradley's penalty and conversion.
Tom Scoles went over out wide just before half time and, crucially, Tommy Newman scored the first try of the second half, converted by Bradley.
"(Scoles's try) gave them a bit of will to start the second half in the way they did," said Starkey.
"After that it was always going to come down to who scored the first try of the second half.
"Once they got it, they looked like the only side who was going to score.
"They got on top, got some momentum, and it became a hard thing to deal with."
Bradley kicked a penalty to make it 31-25, then Mike Cox's try cut the lead to one point and, in stoppage time, Bradley landed the winning penalty kick.
Bideford remain second in the table but are now four points behind leaders St Austell who kept their 100 per cent record with a 41-31 win over Torquay Athletic.
Bude slipped back to the bottom of the table with a 16-14 defeat at Honiton.
After the high of their first win of the season, 38-0 against Exeter Saracens, Bude could not match the intensity of that performance.
Despite an encouraging first half, in which they went 14-7 up, they ran out of steam against a heavyweight pack.
Honiton led after just two minutes as Callum Hill arced out wide and then came back in to score under the posts, with Ollie Cave converting.
Bude quickly responded and after good work by Andy Yates and Eddie Nancekivell, outside centre Duncan Tout took the ball at pace to cross by the posts. Dan Pearce added the conversion to level the scores.
After half an hour the Seasiders went in front with skipper and lock Luke Dunkin scoring from a catch and drive and Pearce converting.
As Honiton's pack became more dominant, they reduced the deficit to one point with two penalties by Cave.
Bude continued to infringe and Olly Denford was yellow-carded.
The extra man gave Honiton the edge they needed and in the 73rd minute Cave slotted the decisive penalty.