Exmouth batter Bridgwater as Powell and Garner both net four tries each.
20:42 16 February 2012
Exmouth 53:5 Bridgwater and Albion
Exmouth bagged a twelfth victory of the National Three (SW) campaign and a fifth successive win with a half century of points from what was a superb collective display, particularly from the half-backs who scored all but five of the points.
The game was the only one in the Division to beat the weather and much of the credit for that must go to the Imperial Ground, ground staff.
The Cockles took charge early on and, following a strong run from young tight-head Nigel Berry, skipper Ross Morshead provided the link to scrum-half Matt Garner who scored under the posts. Fly half Andrew Powell added the extras.
Minutes later Powell turned provider, Paul Morgan called for a kick to the corner, Powell duly obliged and Morgan collected the bouncing ball to score, but the conversion bounced back off the upright.
With increasing amount of ball, flyer Dave Bargent powered up-field, slipped the ball to Powell and he sailed over the line for his first try of the day. However he missed the conversion.
Powell atoned for the kicking miss with a second try a couple of minutes later and that score also secured the bonus point.
The final score of the first half was a superb all-round effort. The Cockles began the move deep in their own territory. Evergreen second row Adam Wyllie showed a great turn of pace and then swift presence of mind to presence to pass to front rower Lloyd Morgan who promptly outpaced the visiting defence prior to, five meters from the line, presenting Matt Garner with the chance to add his name to the try scorers. Powell tucked away the conversion and the Cockles went into the break with a healthy 29-0 lead.
There was no let-up for the battling visitors in the second half. In the early exchanges Powell led a charge up-field with a high kick that he followed before out-jumping the visitors full-back to gather the ball and race into the corner for his hat-trick try.
Next to score was Matt Garner as he went over to complete his treble of tries for the afternoon. Powell once again slotted the extra and now the Cockles led 41-0.
The home forwards continued to dominate in the set-piece and loose, and Lloyd Morgan put in another dazzling run from deep within his own half to within a couple of metres of the Bridgwater line before a desperate last-ditch tackle denied him a deserved try. However, the ball was tucked inside to the supporting Powell who then charged over for his fourth try.
Powell also converted with Morgan’s consolation being that he was later named the Cockles’’ Man of the Match.
Both sides made a host of changes and this was when the visitors enjoyed their best passage of play in the contest. They were denied a certain try by a magnificent saving tackle by Jack Downie, but moments later did get the score their brave effort deserved when open-side Ollie Dunn crossed out wide for an unconverted try.
In the closing stages there was cause for the match referee to speak with both skippers after things reached boiling point between the two sets of players. Fittingly, in a game they dominated from start to finish, the Cockles had the final say when wingman Tom Elliott, who had another good game, created space out wide. A stray Bridgwater hand slapped down his pass which fell invitingly for scrum-half Matt Garner who charged over for his fourth try of the game. Powell’s final kick was wide of the mark, but there was no denying the Cockles half-backs who accounted for 48 of the sides 53 points!
If the Cockles land a sixth straight win it will be some achievement for they are next in action on Saturday with a visit to table topping Chinnor in Thame, Oxfordshire.