Brixham 21, Exmouth 24

Exmouth extended their winning run to seven consecutive games with a hard fought victory over Brixham which was always going to be a difficult Devon derby, writes Jan McCarth

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The Cockles started the game well playing up the slope and were awarded a surprise penalty try in only the fourth minute when the home side brought down a driving maul which was destined for the line. Andrew Powell kicked the conversion.

The Fishermen reduced the deficit with a long range penalty by Ben Lovell.

The Cockles played some inspired rugby and a fine break by George Savage, fending off several tackles, resulted in a well taken try by Jack Downie with Powell converting.

The first quarter of the game seemed to be all Exmouth and Powell increased the lead further with a finely struck penalty from some 40 metres. However, Brixham refused to buckle and came back with a try by Matt Crosscombe, converted by Lovell who also put over two long-range penalties to give the Cockles a slender 17-16 half-time lead.

The Fishermen started the second half strongly and centre Matt Titchias went over out wide when Exmouth ran out of defenders.

The Cockles continued to play some good rugby in this second half, but were unable to convert pressure until the half 10 minutes from time when they were awarded another penalty try after Brixham collapsed two scrums and Powell converted.

The Fishermen, having come from behind in their last match, exerted a great deal of pressure on the Exmouth line. In the last five minutes, with a lead of just three points the Cockles dug deep, defending well as a team to see the game out.

There was much relief and joy when the referee’s final whistle went, but all connected with the Cockles know that Brixham will be looking to exact revenge when they visit the Imperial Ground, Exmouth on Saturday week in the quarter final of the Devon Senior Cup.

Saturday sees the Cockles entertain a Chippenham side who were beaten by just three points at Weston-super-Mare last weekend. Kick-off on Saturday is 2.30pm.

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