AFTER two one-point defeats in succession, the second of which saw Ivybridge take the points in the last moments, Launceston have the perfect game to get themselves rallied for when they welcome second-placed Chew Valley tomorrow in Regional One South West (2.30pm).

The All Blacks have had, on the whole, an excellent start to 2023 with three straight home victories before securing bonus points against Brixham and Ivybridge.

That form has seen them move seven points clear of the bottom two with just five games to go, but with Okehampton to play next weekend, they still need to be careful.

Chew Valley – who are situated just outside of Bristol, close to the city’s airport, visit Polson Bridge for the first time ever after a wonderful campaign following promotion.

They have 12 wins and just five defeats to their name and are five clear of Brixham in third.

They head down the M5 and A30 on the back of two wins – against strugglers Weston-super-Mare (47-13) and Okehampton (41-22) after being beaten by leaders Camborne and Brixham.

When the two sides met back in November the hosts ran out 40-9 winners. But Launceston away is one of the tougher assignments in the division and has all the hallmarks of another close encounter.

All Blacks joint head coaches Ian Goldsmith and Ryan Westren make just one change from the Ivybridge game with Archie Dinnis coming in for centre Martin Kneebone who is unavailable.

That means Dinnis will take his place on the right-wing with Conrad Burne making a new-look centre partnership with Brandon Rowley. Dinnis’ place on the bench is taken by Ollie Tomkies.

Scrum-half Adam Collings is not yet available after suffering a head injury against Brixham.

LAUNCESTON v Chew Valley: James Tucker, Archie Dinnis, Conrad Burne, Brandon Rowley, Dan Pearce, Glenn Coles, Tom Sandercock; Ethan Pearce-Cowley, Mitch Hawken, Andy Knight, Leion Cole, Jake Crabb, Tom Bottoms, George Bone, Lloyd Duke (capt). Replacements: Levent Bulut, Alex Bartlett, Ollie Tomkies.

Counties One Western West

BUDE head to Wiveliscombe with the relegation battle intensifying by the week following victories for fellow strugglers Plymstock Albion Oaks and Paignton last Saturday.

While those two were racking up huge victories over Bideford and Falmouth respectively, the Seasiders did okay themselves as they picked up two bonus points in a 29-28 defeat by third-placed Pirates Amateurs at Bencoolen Meadow.

That leaves the equation rather complicated. Plymstock are three points ahead of Bude who are two ahead of Paignton with Plymstock having just three games left, Bude five and Paignton four.

Bude and Plymstock still have the advantage of playing winless Falmouth while none of the three sides fighting for the two remaining relegation spots have to play each other.

Bude make the long trip into Somerset hoping for a repeat of their victory back in November, but Wiveliscombe, like most sides, are a completely different proposition at home.

They sit sixth in the table with nine wins and eight defeats to their name and come into the game on a three-match winning run after beating Paignton, Bideford and Penryn.

They have five victories at home from eight outings and have also won at Tiverton, Bideford, Falmouth and last week at Penryn.

Bude’s away record is poor having only beaten Falmouth, but have been much more competitive in recent outings besides their demolition at league leaders Cullompton where they were missing up to a dozen first choice players.

Bude are able to name a similar side to the Pirates game.Shaun Andrew comes in at lock with Chris Hill switching to flanker in place of the absent Finley Fry, while Charlie Watton starts at inside-centre in place of Ben Hancock.

Ed Hilliam-Cooke and Harry Dymond come on to the bench in their places.

BUDE at Wiveliscombe: Olly Denford, Rory Hodges, Ben Tharme, Charlie Watton, Jack Horwell, Will Pharo, Olly Mounce; Jason Bolt, Rory Mead, Fraser Martyn, Shaun Andrew, Will Kingdon, Chris Hill, Freddie Saxton (capt), Dec Smale. Replacements: Matt Williams, Ed Hilliam-Cooke, Harry Dymond.

Counties Two Cornwall

SALTASH’S main goal now is to finish as runners-up after three successive draws have all but put pay to their title hopes.

They currently sit three behind second-placed St Austell Seconds who visit Moorlands Lane to face the Ashes on March 4.

Saltash’s chances are also boosted by the fact that leaders St Ives visit St Austell on the final day (March 11).

However the Ashes, who welcome back flanker Lewis Wells for his 250th appearance for the club, will be wise not to look past this weekend’s challenge when they make the short trip down the A38 to Bodmin.

Bodmin have been in decent form recently and are sitting comfortably in mid-table so there is no pressure on Dave Saunter’s side, who although will start as clear underdogs, could cause some problems.However they do have several absentees.

The starting 15 is set to be as follows with the replacements to be finalised.

BODMIN v Saltash: Joseph Kendall, Matthew Hawken, Paul Grenney, Chris Brown, Morgan Jope, Lee Taylor, Aidan Kent; Richard Brewer, Calum Durant, Jordan Edyvean, Macauley Read, Callum Rowe, Lachlan Blacklaw, James Chapman, Ollie Brooks. Replacements: TBC.

SALTASH at Bodmin: Billy Dover, Will Morton, Greg Eatwell, Sam Snell, Jay Moriarty (capt), Lewis Stuart, Jack Pritchard; Simon Nance, Rob Walsh, Ryan Simmons, Tom Rixon, Lewis Woolaway, Lewis Wells, Phil Eatwell, Ryan Rayner. Replacements: Liall Honey, Axel Nicks, Matt Coker, Ryan Cruickshanks.

Elsewhere in the division, Liskeard-Looe visit bottom side Hayle.

Although the West Cornwall club have just one win to their name, they are much-improved in recent weeks. They beat Helston at the end of January and only lost 10-5 at mid-table Illogan Park last weekend.

Liskeard won one and lost one of their double-header with Camborne School of Mines over the last fortnight as they head into the final four matches of player/coach Lewis Elliott’s tenure.

Counties Three Cornwall

Post area eyes will be on Bencoolen Meadow on Saturday when Bude Seconds welcome their Launceston counterparts.

Although neither side has a great deal to play for, it’s sure to be more than competitive on the field.

Mid-table Launceston haven’t played for a few weeks due to a concession and a couple of bye weeks, while second bottom Bude head into the game after easing past bottom side Redruth Albany 74-5 last Saturday.

BUDE SECONDS v Launceston Castles: George Hodgson, Alfie Eaton, Troy Reddicliffe, Will Bromell, Luke Wilson, Steve Eaton, Jordan Hill; Andrew Sillifant, Steve Gliddon, Aaron Tharme, Alex Robinson, Joe Wickett, Ben Harries, Will Hockridge (capt), Nick Waterson. Replacements: Bertie Seggons, Darren Pilot, Jacob Rundle, Beard Martyn, Alfie Seggons.

LAUNCESTON SECONDS at Bude Seconds: Rich Jasper, Mike Reddan, Mark Knight, Tom Shilling, Matt Davey, James Slater, Corey Sillifant; Walter Tucker, Nathan Ferrett, Simon Burden, Ollie Martin (capt), Ben Greene, James Norris, Pete Bebbington, Jack Swain. Replacements: Bill Perry, Josh Elias, Josh Rowland, Charlie Crichton, Sam Wosnitzka, Aaron Curtin.

(SUNDAY) Women’s NC 2 South West (West)

Launceston Ladies welcome their Bude counterparts to Polson Bridge (2.30pm) looking to complete the league double over their North Cornwall neighbours.

Both sides go into the game in decent form having won last Sunday against Withycombe and Totnes respectively in the league.

Launceston, who have lost just once all season in the league, at home to leaders Exeter Athletic Dakota, will start as firm favourites as they aim to keep the pressure on top, while Bude look set for a mid-table finish having won three and lost three of their six outings.

The hosts are able to recall Kim Upcott and Rhiannon Thomas in the pack, while Megan Tucker and Emily Kneale come in on the wing and at inside-centre respectively.

LAUNCESTON LADIES v Bude: Holly Williams, Megan Tucker, Charlotte Crocker, Emily Kneale, Mia Wray, Joey Sandercock, Amy Warman; Mel Ruby (capt), Pyper Karkeek, Kim Upcott, Gemma Old, Megan Arnold, Briony Eddy, Rhiannon Thomas, Vicki Doidge. Replacements: Ann-Marie Risdon, Lynn Pridham, Jenna Arnold, Alicia England, Abby Matthews, Jess Collings, Poppy Speare.