Exmouth 55, Oxford Harlequins 12

Exmouth played host to Oxford Harlequins in front of a large home crowd boosted by the presence of the club’s vice presidents and sponsors attending the annual club luncheon.

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The Cockles, fresh from a maximum five-point haul the week before, went into the game buoyant, and did not disappoint the assembled crowd outscoring their guests by nine tries!

With the game less than five minutes old, man mountain Stuart Lowe got the ball rolling. Proving to be simply un-stoppable at close range, he crossed over out wide. From the restart the Cockles went straight back on the attack, Jack Downie chipping ahead, recollecting the ball to score, also out wide. The conversion was unsuccessful in a swirling wind.

A great turnover at the scrum just five minutes later gave the Cockles quick ball after which sharp hands saw wing Tom Elliott make the most of the chance to score in the corner, Andrew Powell added the difficult extras. Minutes later Powell deep in his own 22, sold numerous dummies, stepped in and out, sending the desperate defence to the floor before racing to the opposite corner, tackled on the line he managed to roll over and score a fantastic individual effort and secure the games first bonus point with the fourth try, all inside the first quarter of an hour!

It took the Cockles almost five full minutes to score again. After a period of sustained possession, phase after phase, flying winger Tom Kill left all in his wake to score. The conversion was not slotted and the Cockles led 27-0.

To their credit the visitors had their best period, resulting in a try for Tongan Jeff Kalemani.

The remaining ten minutes of the half were scoreless, perhaps on occasions the Cockles taking the wrong option, or simply over complicating things as the half drifted to a close.

The start of the second half saw the Cockles looking to dominate and again concerted pressure took its toll, Kill getting a second try which also went unconverted.

Harlequins snatched a second try after a loose pass was picked off by Tongan, Peter Halatokoua and converted by Joe Todd.

Exmouth’s Dave Bargent made up minutes later for giving the earlier loose pass, racing away to score in the clubhouse corner. Paul Morgan made all the running for the next Bargent try and then linked well with Kill, who slipped a deft pass for Jon Fabian to touch down.

Powell adding the extras for a 44-12 lead.

With the visitors heads visibly dropping the rout continued, Adam Garner scoring under the posts after a simple run in Powell converting.

James Harris and Jack Westlake did the forward work from the restart, before the slick running backline sent Fabian over for his second, Powell converting.

Numerous opportunities seemed to go begging in the last 10 minutes before another solo effort from Powell saw the Exmouth fly-half score and convert his own try to seal a comprehensive 65-12 victory.

Cockles director of rugby Chris Wright said: “Obviously the score line is very encouraging. However we have a very honest dressing room and I believe each and every one of the players on duty knew post-match that there was another 20 per cent that could have been given. The visitors, to their credit, simply refused to give in, but had little answer to some strong running, typified by Man of the Match Paul Morgan.”

This week the Cockles face a real test when they travel to pre-season title favourites Redingensians. Only a 100 per cent show across the park will get the Cockles the result they so badly desire.

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