Redingensians 25, Exmouth 27

The Cockles were good value for their victory at the home of the pre-season title favourites.

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The Rams are a formidable outfit, boasting a huge set of forwards who look to dominate the opposition using their big men to wear down defences before spinning the ball wide.

Exmouth on the other hand, look to spin the ball wide and win games often in the last quarter as opposition teams tire.

The home side started brightly and went ahead in the ninth minute with a penalty kick. Then, despite great work in defence from the Cockles, the home side added a converted try to hold an early 10-0 advantage.

Exmouth’s cause was not helped losing Stu Lowe the Cockles biggest forward to injury, yet in James Harris who replaced him, a different dimension was added to their play.

The hosts then stretched their lead to 17-0 with a second converted try.

Undaunted the Cockles continued with their game-plan and, as their superior fitness began to show, they moved through several phases of play before Jack Downie got the travelling support cheering with a try under the posts that was converted by Andrew Powell.

Five minutes in to the second half the home side scored another try, this time unconverted, leaving the Cockles 15 points in arrears.

Nigel Berry, on as a replacement, made a real impact whilst alongside him, a real contender for Man of the Match was Jack Westlake who served up non-stop work rate throughout.

The Cockles forwards began to find a new gear and, from a ruck on the 22, Dave Kimberly broke the defence before supplying a deft pass to Matt Ryan and, on his return to 1st XV duty, the fleet-footed winger touched down under the posts.

Powell added the extras and then turned the screw further with two quick penalty goals as momentum swung in the Cockles favour.

The home side responded with a penalty, but that meant they only held a five point lead.

The knock-out punch arrived for the Cockles with 10 minutes remaining!

Attack followed attack and eventually the pressure told as Powell swept through to touch down out wide and level the score. His conversion on the touchline was a real tester; sure enough it went straight through the sticks to give the Cockles the lead for the first time in the game.

The home side did have a long range attempt at goal in the dying minutes, but the Cockles played clever rugby pinning the host’s back in their own half leading up to the final whistle, greeted joyfully by another; large and noisy band of travelling support.

This Saturday the Cockles play host to Amersham and Chiltern, the visitors bolstered by the arrival of some overseas players are sure to test the Cockles who will want to continue their winning ways.

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