Exmouth see victory snatched from them after late penalty drama.

10:40 13 March 2014

Exmouth 1sts played Bishop

Exmouth 1sts played Bishop's Stortford on Saturday, March 8. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exsp 7328-10-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

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Exmouth 20, Bishops Stortford 20

Exmouth suffered heart break when beaten by visiting Bishops Stortford who stole the points with the last kick of the game, writes Stephen Birley.

What made the 21-20 defeat all the more painful was that the last gasp kick that won it came from a penalty that almost everybody at the Imperial ground on Saturday afternoon felt should, not have been given!

What was also agreed unanimously by home and visit followers post match was that the best team lost, scant consolation for the Cockles!

The last gaps defeat came about after a decision made by touch judge who communicated to the match referee that he had seen an offence committed by an Exmouth prop.

Cockle’s director of rugby Chris Wright, who has, with his coaching staff and players, battles game fully all season long, could not hide his disappointment post match after a rare success had been cruelly snatched away from his side.

He said: We did not deserve to lose and we most certainly did not deserve in the manner we did! The visitors’ had a higher penalty count than us throughout. It was clear that when we were threatening they were happy to take a yellow card to stop us and that was why they had a pair of players sin-binned. Of course I cannot say if the last gasp decision was a penalty or not, but I can say that for the duration of the game we had been on top in that particular department of the game and therefore had no need to concede a penalty in such a situation.”

He continued: “The margins continue to be so tight at this level. I do think the experience of this year is going to make us stronger in the longer term. Decisions like we have suffered in this game at the death are symptomatic of the way the dice roll when you are at the foot of the table.”

A Rob Avery-Wright gave the Cockles an early lead only for Bishops Stortford to comeback with a converted try. A catch-and-drive move ended with Dan Pullinger-Ham crossing and Avery-Wright slotting another conversion to restore the home lead. The visitors replied with a try and a brace of penalties before an Avery-Wright penalty made it 18-16 in favour of the away side.

Flanker James Harris crossed and that score, with the Avery-Wright conversion gave the Cockles the lead once more until fate intervened to consign the unfortunate home side to yet another defeat.

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