Exmouth suffered yet another defeat in their National Two (S) campaign, and this latest defeat is arguably the most meaningful loss of the season.

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Heading into the game Cockles director of rugby Chris Wright had suggested that whilst it was a little premature to be speaking of ‘must win’ fixtures the bottom line was that if the Cockles did not defeat the likes of fellow strugglers Dings Crusaders then the outcome would look that little bit bleaker!

Not for the first time this term the final whistle blew leaving the Imperial Ground faithful thinking ‘what might have been’ for the Cockles once again got themselves into a match position from where they had the chances to go on and seal a vital victory.

It’s now a sorry tale of seventeen matches played and fourteen defeats with just three wins.

After the latest defeat Wright said: That’s another five points given away to a team in our part of the table. I know I sound like the proverbial cracked record, but the players are good enough. It’s small margins that are our undoing, but we cannot seem to break the mould!

The current table makes for uncomfortable reading with the Cockles now 16 points from safety at the foot of the table.

On the plus side they do have a game in hand on second bottom Bournemouth who are seven points clear and two game sin hand on third bottom London Irish Wild Geese who sit 16 points clear, but time is running out for the team as they battle to take their time in the section into a second season after their promotion in then last campaign.

There are 13 matches remaining and even the most ardent of Cockles follower would agree that the odds are now stacked against their team. They probably need to win six of the last 13 matches to complete what would be a remarkable escape from a swift return to National Three (SW).

This Saturday takes the Cockles to Shelford who sit seven places above them in the table.

Wright says: “This is certainly one of those make or break encounters. We simply have to win up there. If we do not then that will probably be it for us. That’s not being a defeatist. I am simply being realistic. Looking at who else we have left to play we have so much ground to make up. If we are going to do it then it needs to start with a win at Shelford.”

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