Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Ampthill and District 43, Exmouth 10
The Cockles undertook another 11-hour round trip by coach to suffer their latest National Two (S) defeat, writes Steve Birley.
Once again, as indeed has been the tale of woe for much of this season, the Cockles were in the game for long periods and yet again the difference between the sides was not great, but small margins at this level can be so decisive.
The Cockles, possibly with one eye on the future, used the contest to blood some of their promising youngsters.
There was a first senior fifteen appearance for 18-year-old Lloyd Watkins, 19-year-old Chris Swash and flanker Joe Day. All three players took part in the contest and each looked comfortable in his position. Hooker Tom Emery was a shining light for the Cockles, putting in a full shift that included some crunching tackles. A big plus for the team on the day was the wonderful scrum which caused the home teams far larger opponents a number of issues throughout! Rob Avery’s trusty boot slotted a penalty and a conversion to the one try the visiting fans were able to celebrate, scored after the break by Todd Lowry in the second half.
Exmouth director of rugby Chris Wright says: “Once again we saw, on and off the pitch, a real up-beat never-say-die attitude. However, we were beset once again by far too many unfortunate individual errors which were clinical punished by a well-oiled opposition team.”
He continued: “It was certainly another of those ten-out-of-ten performances. However, once again we have come up short with what is required at this level.”
The hosts head coach, Paul Turner commented: “We gave opportunities to some players today and were pleased with their contribution. Exmouth did not look like a basement side and made it very difficult for us at times.”
Just before the game the Cockles received the very sad news that stalwart supporter Ian Nicholson had lost his battle with illness.
Chris Wright said: “That was terribly sad news. He will be sorely missed by all at Exmouth RFC. Until he became ill he was a popular and constant supporter at all our away games making many long trips with the Club and we wish to pass deepest condolences to his family.”
All that remains for the Cockles in what has been a disappointing campaign after the highs of last season, is to see out the remaining eight games and hope to accrue sufficient points to nudge ahead of Bournemouth so as to avoid finishing bottom. Then all concerned at the Imperial Ground can begin to prepare for life back in the National Three (SW) where they will return to a number of Devon derbies with matches against Brixham, Newton Abbot and Barnstaple on the fixture list as opposed to these 11-hour round trips!