Cockles head coach Jon Hill speaks about the win over Newbuey Blues
PUBLISHED: 11:23 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 11:23 10 December 2017
Exmouth powered back to winning ways with a 45-25 Imperial Ground success over Newbury Blues.
The victory, coupled with other results on the second Saturday of December, leaves the Cockles now just seven points shy of second placed Newton Abbot.
Head coach Jon Hill spoke after the game and was clearly pleased with what he had seen.
He said: “It really was an excellent response from the whole squad after the disappointment seven days before in the meeting with table-topping Dings Crusaders.
“There’s no doubt that the returns of Tom Whelan, Richard Bright, Tom Barnard and Tom Brown certainly gave us a boost, and Tom controlled the game very well.
“Our forwards totally dominated Newbury and two penalty tries was a good return for our efforts at scrum and maul time.”
He continued: “Charlie Gibbings showed once again, why higher level clubs are monitoring his progress and Sam Richardson carried extremely well whilst also leading the side with authority.
“Our defence showed better signs of shape and tackle execution, and, whilst disappointed to have conceded two soft scores in the first half with one being an interception and one a charged-down kick, we certainly controlled large parts of the game.”
On the negative side there were more injury worries for the Cockles that came out of the contest.
Hill said: “Once again injuries seem to have hit us hard with both Mike Richards and Dan Powell having to leave the field early, and both will be monitored during this week to see if we can get them patched up and back into action on Saturday (December 16 and the Devon derby meeting with Ivybridge).
Looking ahead to the derby, the Cockles are set to be boosted by the return of some players.
Hill says: “We should get a big boost with the potential return of James Harris, Mark Wathes and captain Jack Fahy for the meeting with Bridgers.”
In terms of playing honours in the win over Newbury Blues, the match day sponsors, C Sansom Ltd gave their Man of the Match award to Charlie Gibbings while the LWS Interior Solutions Man of the Match award went to Sam Richardson who skippered the side very well and scored a splendid try.
In other Cockles’ news, the third XV continued their excellent run of late with an impressive victory away at Kingsbridge.
The team’s 21-19 victory was described by team manager Richard Haynes as ‘an absolute scrum fest’.
Haynes added: “1st XV team manager Nick Smith, stepping in to help out a front row shortage, will undoubtedly be sore following a series of 16 scrums at one stage in the game!”
There was also action for the Exmouth colts and they welcomed back their Devon players, who all played a part in an impressive 33-0 success in which Harry Ottaway led by example.