Shelford 29, Exmouth 21

It’s an old adage in sport that when you are challenging at the top the ball rolls your way and, when you are in desperate need at then wrong end of a table, it tends to roll against you, and that is precisely what is currently happening to the Cockles who now look doomed to a swift return to more local rugby next season, writes Steve Birley.

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Once again the Cockles worked themselves into a position from which they had every chance of going on to claim what would have been, potentially, the start of a great escape from National Two (S) relegation when they led 18-12 at half-time.

However, a disputed try with just ten minutes to play ultimately broke the back of the Cockles performance and they slipped to a sixth successive defeat.

Exmouth director of rugby Chris Wright said: “I suppose I should not be surprised by a lack of fortune on our part anymore. In the second half with us leading 18-12 the skies darkened and a biblical wind appeared for the remainder of the half, which we had to play into! That said, once again the players showed great character against a side that had won their last seven on the bounce and it was comforting when, post match several home supporters took time out to offer us praise for what they considered a very good opposing team performance. That’s small comfort, but good to hear nonetheless.”

The Cockles began well and flanker Jamie Harris opened the scoring and it became 8-0 on 17 minutes when Rob Avery-Wright slotted a penalty.

The in-form host struck back with a brace of tries, converting one, but another Avery-Wright kick reduced the Cockles arrears to a single point and they took a lead into the break with a Richard Bright try under the posts and an Avery-Wright conversion.

Shelford regained the lead nine minutes into the second half, but Avery-Wright kicked the Cockles back in front.

The hosts responded and then came the incident that typified the Cockles lack of fortune this term when a disputed try went in favour of the hosts fro which point the visiting frightful were left to once again rue their team’s bad luck.

On Saturday the Cockles host Redruth.

Wright says: “Redruth have been a giant over the years of Cornish and southwest rugby and are steeped in tradition. This is a great opportunity for our lads to go out and put in the same sterling efforts of the last few weeks which will surely deliver the right result.”

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