Exmouth 30, Barnstaple 16

Exmouth put on a fine display of open rugby in a convincing victory by outscoring Barnstaple by five tries to one, writes Jan McCarthy.

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Barum started brightly and took a third minute lead when Josh Squire put over a penalty from the 10-metre line. The Cockles reply was positive and with goo interplay they created a 5-metre line out and sealed off the ball for Stu Lowe to crash over in the corner, the long range conversion failed.

The lead was increased on 15 minutes by an Andrew Powell penalty. Barum came straight back with two further long range penalties by Squire giving them a single point lead.

The Exmouth scrum continued to function well, and, when they took ball against the head it was used well by the three quarters with Dale Sleeman and Paul Morgan making yardage.

After a break by Sleeman, the ball was quickly recycled for George Savage to round off a fine try in the corner, the conversion falling short.

In a very long first half, the Exmouth backs saw plenty of ball and Tom Kill made a superb break up the left hand touchline from his own 22 only to be tap tackled short of the line but managed to offload to scrum half Matt Ryan for him to touch down in the corner, the touchline conversion by Powell was successful and the Cockles went into the break 20-9 up.

After an initially even period of play the Cockles were back on the score sheet 15 minutes after the re-start when Sleeman crossed in clubhouse corner for a superb try having fended off several Barum players. The conversion hit the uprights.

Barnstaple’s game of pick and go gave them plenty of yardage and it resulted in a try near the posts by Joe Bussell which Squires converted. The large crowd were entertained to some fine rugby by the Exmouth backs and Jack Downie, Jon Fabian and Tom Kill were always looking dangerous.

With 10 minutes to play the Exmouth pack took a fine ball against the head and Ryan released Kill for him to scamper up the touchline and score the final try in the corner.

This was a good performance in preparation for their encounter next week with Brixham at Astley Park.

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