Exmouth 25, Cornish All Blacks 32

The Cockles put up another gallant display, but once again the full-time whistle blew with the general feeling across the Imperial Ground being that points had been lost, writes Stephen Birley.

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Hooker Tom Emery had put Exmouth ahead with a try, but the visitors then took charge to lead 21-5.

Before the break Cadywould added six points with a drop goal and a penalty and half-time arrived with the Cockles 21-11 down.

A Todd Lowry try early in the second half was converted by Cadywould, but chances went begging and the visitors claimed a 29-18 lead before the Cockles scored again with a penalty try that was to be their last celebration of the game.

Coach Jon Hill said: “The significant difference was that they knew how to win the game, and, to be fair, closed the contest out well. They have some experienced performers and made bigger inroads in the initial phases through the likes of Ryan Westren, Mike Rawlings and Barry Chapman than we were able to. For our part we missed the likes of Chris Bentley, George Savage, James Harris and captain Ross Morshead up front and finished the game with four 18-year-olds in the forward pack! The experience factor was a huge key come the end.”

He continued: “There are, as ever, positives we can take. None more so than the fact we have now banked seven points from our most recent three games which represents a good return, but we will have to improve our initial go-forward and our midfield

Defence, if we are to improve on that points return ratio.”

The Cockles face a long trip to Southend this Saturday. Skipper Ross Morshead will be back as will prop Nigel Berry, who came through his comeback game with the 2nd XV last Saturday. That is good news for the Cockles look set to lose the services of yet another prop, Jack Madge, who has travelled to Italy after securing a trial with a club over there. Influential back rower James Harris also returned to action at the weekend in the 2nds after a long injury lay-off and he could be in contention for a recall for the game at Southend.

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