Exmouth 45, Brixham 37

Exmouth opened their defence of the premier county cup competition with an enthralling victory over last seasons Cup Final opposition.

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The visiting Fishermen were still smarting from a defeat two weeks earlier by the Cockles and clearly pitched up determined to knock the holders out of the competition.

Unfortunately for the South Devon side the cup is a valued treasure the Cockles wish to retain!

Exmouth made an electric start despite the blow of losing Paul Morgan to injury in the warm-up.

Jack Westlake’s surge up-field from the kick off laid the foundations for a converted try within two minutes for fly-half Andrew Powell.

Brixham replied with a try of their own and the cup feel was gripping both sets of supporters.

The Cockles, dominant at the scrum, quickly took the game by storm, Tom Kill, Mark Wathes and James Harris all touched down and Powell converted each try.

Just 20 minutes into the game and the Cockles led 28-5.

Brixham then scored a breakaway try before the impressive Westlake notched up the Cockles fifth try before the break and the cockles went into half-time in charge.

Exmouth made a bright start to the second period, the visitors were clearly more focused, but it was the Cockles who added to their tally, Tom Elliott scoring with Powell adding the extras to provide the hosts with a comfortable 30-point cushion.

With 20 minutes to go the Cockles lost all composure, the Fishermen fired up by vocal travelling supporters stole the show.

Exmouth made far too many errors and certainly got on the wrong side of the referee to such an extent that three yellow cards were handed out!

Brixham then found a new gear and quickly racked up three converted tries.

They then slotted a penalty kick and, with three minutes left there were just six points between the teams.

The Cockles, down on numbers, regrouped, pushed play up-field and, with a kick chase producing the biggest tackle of the day by Jack Madge, the visitors gave away a vital kickable penalty.

Powell stepped up and rifled the ball between the posts to extend the lead to nine points.

The visitors were clearly deflated and the and the final whistle gave Exmouth the victory they deserved, yet so nearly threw away!

On Saturday the Cockles travel to Weston Super Mare who sit one place and one point above them in the table.

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