Luffman pleased with upwardly mobile OPMs' progress
CITY side OPMs take on Teignmouth tomorrow hoping to demonstrate they've improved dramatically from the last time the sides met.
At the beginning of the season, Teignmouth stuck 66 points on the Cornwall-Devon new boys en route to the top of the table.
While Teignmouth are still at the summit, OPMs – who lost their first four league games – have moved on considerably.
From potential candidates for an early return to Devon One, OPMs are looking very comfortable in their new surroundings.
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And assistant head coach Steve Luffman is keen for the side to show their visitors to Elburton (2.30pm) they are very far from a pushover.
OPMs' league appointment with Teignmouth is a rearranged one, as the match was postponed because of a flooded pitch.
Luffman said: "They (Teignmouth) gave us a proper kicking earlier in the season, so hopefully we are looking for an improvement on that.
"We know we have improved as the season has gone on, but the game will be a good measure of how much."
OPMs are expecting to put out a full-strength side, apart from full-back Tom Finnie, who is unavailable and forward Max Coates, who has left to take a job in London.
Overall, Luffman is delighted with the progress the city rugby club has made so far this season.
The Plymouth team were promoted from Devon One in 2012 – a move which is recognised as a substantial leap upwards in local rugby.
OPMs finished second to Exeter-based Wessex last season, but their fierce rivals are bottom of the Cornwall-Devon pile with just eight points. OPMs, meanwhile, are eighth in the table with 30.
One of the Plymouth side's triumphs was a 51-13 thrashing of Wessex on their own patch.
In fact, it was that win which kick-started OPMs' season after the Elburton-based team lost their four opening games.
OPMs, for their opening quartet of matches, couldn't have picked much worse opponents.
They were blown away 50-22 in their first match of the season by high-flying Saltash.
That was followed by a 17-3 home defeat by St Ives, who are currently second.
Worse was to come in their third week with that 66-14 hammering by Teigns.
But the city side showed a massive improvement in their next game, when they played well enough to beat Tiverton, who are third, but somehow lost 28-15.
Luffman acknowledged the Plymouth side had received a tough baptism of fire in the Cornwall-Devon League.
But six wins had propelled them into a position where they could almost, but not quite, feel reasonably safe.
Luffman said: "If I was to give us a mark for the first half of the season, I'd probably give us a B-plus.
"We're beating teams around us and beating teams below us with a bit to spare.
"But it's important in terms of our own progress that we don't think that we've done enough to stay up.
"We don't want to do that – there's always the possibility that some teams below us start putting in miracle results."
Luffman said the club had longer-term ambitions to try for a Western Counties West place.
He said: "The second half of the season we see as a springboard for next year.
"We've started to build up for next season's campaign and hopefully we can make more progress."
Elsewhere, second-from-bottom Liskeard-Looe host Wessex.