Cockles bag a bonus point in away defeat at Drybrook

PUBLISHED: 10:22 11 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:22 11 September 2018

Archant

The Cockles ‘away day blues’ continued as they went down to a narrow 18-17 defeat at Gloucestershire-based Drybrook.

Traffic problems on their way to game did not seem to affect the Cockles, who fell behind to a second minute penalty but hit back with some impressive play. However, they were punished for spilling the ball with the home side countering and scoring a converted try to lead 10-0 after just six minutes.

The Cockles response was good and, led by influential skipper Jack Fahy, they laid siege to the home line and were rewarded with a penalty try.

Drybrook scored next, bagging their second try of the game, but the half ended with the Cockles on the front foot and a 38th minute Harry Ottaway penalty saw half-time arrive with the Cockles trailing 15-10.

The interval chat clearly hit the spot, for the Cockles made a bright start to the second half and a try for debut playing tight-head prop Liam Cullen, converted by Ottaway, saw the Cockles into a 17-15 lead.

At that point it seemed that Exmouth would work to take control of the match, but a 55th penalty gave the hosts an 18-17 lead.

The Cockles responded well and worked hard to get back in front, but errors blighted their progress as they lost the ball through turnovers and they were unable to hold the ball in contact, which all played a part in what was ultimately a narrow single point defeat.

The pack dominated all day and the backs looked lively, and with interchanges from the bench, Harrison Marsh at hooker, Connor O’Shaughnessy in the back row and Tom Whelan outside, the Cockles continued to try and find the winning score.

Exmouth 2nd XV also travelled to Drybrook and put their counterparts to the sword in an impressive display.

The young Cockles scored eight tries with two each from Will Bright and Jake Inglis and single tries from Nick Headley, Henry Goldson, Sean Harrison and Matt Seager.

Sam Whitehead kicked an outstanding seven conversions and the Cockles ended as 54-14 winners. In a dominant team display there were promising debuts for James Goss and Ethan Langson Justice.

The Nomads made the short trip to Topsham 2nd XV and were also on scintillating form taking the spoils 71-5 in what was a Devon Merit Table fixture. A feature of the squad was the number of home grown players, showing strength in depth across the senior sides.

Exmouth Colts, in their first stage league outing, worked hard against a well-drilled Withycombe Colts. A great learning experience for the largely younger Exmouth group, it was Withy who deserved their 44-0 win.

With fixtures to come against Honiton and Sidmouth, these are ranking fixtures for the Shield and Bowl stage of the competition. The squad will be looking to get back in to action in a couple of weeks.

On Saturday, the Cockles 1st XV are back in home action when they host Exeter University side that has won their first two games, both at home, beating Drybrook on matchday one and Weston-super-Mare last Saturday.

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