Avonmouth OBs 6, Exmouth 12

Exmouth made their first ever visit to new boys Avonmouth and returned with a hard fought win.

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The home side kicked off with a healthy breeze at their backs and after just five minutes the rain arrived. It fell with such intensity at times in the first half that basic rugby manoeuvres became almost impossible

The rain also sent a large crowd running for the dryness of their cars!

Exmouth struggled at first with a robust set piece from the home side, and all too often lost the ball in the slippery conditions.

At times they made life difficult for themselves overcomplicating moves when really they needed to slow things down.

The hosts managed to tuck away two penalties to lead 6-0 at the break.

What was an issue for the Cockles was that they clearly struggled with the Exchange referee’s interpretation of the laws. It seemed whenever the Cockles looked like scoring the hosts would illegally prevent the score, give a penalty away, but repeatedly escaping further punishment.

With three rolling substitutions used to good effect in the latter stages of the first half the Cockles had begun to build pressure.

That continued after the re-start and they pegged the home side 5-metres from their own line, winning consecutive penalties. At a 5- metre scrum the hosts lost a player to the sin bin after continual infringements. An almighty surge from the Cockles saw the ball bobble out of the home scrum and Cockles’ scrum half Matt Ryan reacted quickest to bag a richly deserved try.

Andrew Powell kicked the long range conversion to put the Cockles ahead. Minutes later the lead was stretched to six points when Jack Downie re-gathered his own dubious kick, beating two defenders, before slipping the ball to centre Paul Morgan who raced over out wide.

Exmouth dominated the remainder of the game and, despite a few nerves in the time added on, ran out winners.

Cockle’s director of rugby Chris Wright said: “This was a win in testing conditions. We can certainly look forward to the return meeting when, hopefully, a dry track and the wider expanse of the Imperial Ground pitch will make a huge difference.”

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