Cockles chief speaks about the disappointment of Newton Abbot defeat

11:30 20 December 2012

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The ref's whistle catches a brilliant ray of sunshine in Exmouth's game with Maidenhead at the Imperial ground on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 2864-50-12SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24.

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Exmouth director of rugby Chris Wright was very clear as to what went wrong for the Cockles as they slipped to a second defeat of the league season at Newton Abbot.

He said: “We were the makers of our own downfall and that is so frustrating, especially given how well we had been doing in recent weeks. I do not want to take anything away from the Newton Abbot performance for they were the better team on the day and they certainly played the match to their strengths and therefore deserved to bask in the glory of victory. For once we collectively had a bad day – and I mean a bad day! We had a massively high error count throughout the game and everything we managed to get wrong they (Newton Abbot) seemed to capitalise on. We were poor in the scrum, disappointing in the line-out and out back play was well below par! That said we were not helped by some strange decisions that went against us. We certainly had a good case I feel for a penalty try late on which would have made it very interesting in the closing stages.”

He continued: “The positive to take from it all is that we are in the top two at Christmas and this is the traditional; ‘half the season’ state of play and had we been offered top two in early August I am pretty sure we would have grabbed the chance with both hands. So, in terms of a half-term report we have to very pleased.”

To the question of is it a good thing or a bad thing that after the disappointment of Newton Abbot there’s no game for a couple of weeks owing to the festive break., Wright replied: “”I am not sure on that one. Sometimes it is a good thing to get straight back out and look to get immediately back on track, but at other times the delay in getting back onto the pitch is not a bad thing as the break allows for batteries to be re-charged and players to have a break during which time they can reflect on their efforts thus far in a campaign.”

So when do the players report back after the Christmas break?

Wright said: “We will have them back for two intense sessions on January 2nd and 3rd to ensure that we are all in the right sort of shape for the January 5 Imperial Ground game with Old Patesians. I am delighted that after the festive break we don’t have a long bus journey. It is going to be very important in terms of the bigger picture that we hit the ground running from the first whistle of 2013. Having got this far in the season and to be very much in the promotion picture it would be a crying shame, not to say a rugby crime for us not to go on and make something special of this campaign.”

On the remainder of the season, Wright said: “I see much of the same in the second half of the season. We do still have London Irish to come to Exmouth and I am sure they will target that as a crucial fixture, but I have a fancy that there are going to be tough games for both ourselves and them between now and the final whistle of the season. Take the January 5 games and the meeting in South West London of London Irish and Newton Abbot. As long as we do our job in the home game with Old Pats then we really are open to any result from West London. A Newton Abbot victory would certainly turn the promotion race into a four team race whilst a London Irish win would be a fourth defeat for Newton Abbot and a real blow to their chances. For me though the key is going to be how we come back after the break and if we can quickly find the sort of levels of play we were producing collectively before the Newton Abbot game!”

Latest table.

P W D L F A Pts

London Irish Wild Geese 14 12 1 1 544 253 59

Exmouth 14 11 1 2 503 215 56

Weston-super-Mare 14 11 0 3 545 232 53

Newton Abbot 14 11 0 3 472 275 52

Redingensians 14 10 0 4 398 213 50

Brixham 13 8 0 5 478 277 42

Chippenham 13 7 0 6 415 328 42

Barnstaple 14 7 0 7 376 293 34

Amersham & Chiltern 14 6 0 8 279 465 28

Old Patesians 13 4 0 9 392 395 27

Avonmouth Old Boys 14 4 0 10 258 379 22

Malvern 14 2 0 12 253 433 16

Oxford Harlequins 13 1 0 12 164 658 7

Maidenhead 14 1 0 13 163 824 5

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