For the third time this season, Exmouth faced off against Devonport Services, this time in a Devon Cup pool game. The Cockles ran out 20-15 winners in a game that could have gone either way right up until then end.

Both teams were committed to running rugby in slippery conditions, although the Quins game next door was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

At 17-3 up at half-time, you would have thought that the home side were in total control. It did look that way when James Clarke and Ben Mellor on the wings, crossed for tries.

Both scored after some lovely interplay between forwards and backs, Lewis Geran and George Mears delivering the final pass for both to score. Sam Whitehead had his eye on the ball hitting two fine conversions from the touchline and a penalty.

What should have been more of the same in the second period, did not really materialise. Services came out with the intention to win and did a pretty good job.

Their ball retention was such that the Cockles could not get hold of possession. When they did a couple of times, electric breaks split the Services defence, only to lose out to a turnover or penalty, the missed opportunities for two more tries would prove decisive on where the next game would be played.

Going down to 14 for 10 minutes did not help and the visitors took advantage, but the home defence was outstanding going into the final quarter. Tackle and turnover, aided by a strong scrum, kept Services out in the end. Sam Whitehead added a final penalty to increase the gap, 20-15.

Although the Cockles have cruised through the pool stage with four wins from four, they now potentially face an away trip in the Semi Final on Saturday, April 15. It is likely to be Devonport Services again.

Team: Gareth Walker, Will Ridout, Brad Skinner, Liam Bayley, Steve Pape, Ben Hawley, Connor O’Shaughnessy, Dave Bargent, Finn Musgrove, Sam Whitehead, Ben Mellor, George Mears, Lewis Geran, James Clarke, Robbie Weeks. Reps. Jack Madge, Harry Sprague, Joe Harris, Juls Lucas, Richard Cadywould

Exmouth Quins head to Honiton on Saturday for a re-arranged Counites 2 League Game, kick off at 2.30pm.

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