What a game to start the new 150 years season at Exmouth Rugby Club. Bathed in warm sunshine, visitors Lydney from Gloucestershire are always a tough nut to crack, and their large, well drilled pack and quick backs presented a challenge, writes Ian Harris.

The pre-season outing with Sidmouth a few weeks ago gave some small indication of benchmark fitness of the Cockles. They drew on that in spades, as strong defence with tricky attack ensured they claimed all five points in this Regional South West 1 League opener.

Nine tries were scored in total, four for Exmouth and five for Lydney, but it was the reliable boot of Geroge Meadows that made the difference, kicking four conversions with four penalties for a 20-point haul.

Tries from Nick Headley (2), Robbie Weeks and Ben Hawley completed the scoring. Game over at 40-36. Exmouth ahead 27-17 at half time, Lydney got the travel out of their system and got back into the game. Tries from Daniel Cooper (2), Kyle Frowen, Mike Cross, Henry Sleeman with points of the tee from Joe Hamlin looked to have sealed Exmouth’s fate at 79 minutes,

The Cockles, 33-36 down, were awarded a penalty, the murmur around the ground, old heads leaning on the new pitch side fencing, was to kick the three points for a draw. Never on the mind of the Exmouth pack. They chose to scrum, won the ball and barrelled off the back row. Hawley muscled over with Meadows converting to close out the game on final whistle.

The visitors were good value for their two league points, however the sheer grit and determination displayed by home side, pleased the coaching team and large crowd. A great way for Exmouth to get their league campaign underway. There were starting debuts for new lads, Tommy Andrews, Olly Willis and Gareth Roebuck with Charlie Parr of the bench. All had impressed during training, welcome to Exmouth.

The Cockles now travel to Matson RFC in Gloucester on Saturday and every game in this league is a real stern test.

Team: Tommy Andrews, Will Ridout, Brad Skinner, Steve Pape, Liam Bayley, Olly Willis, Ben Hawley, Dave Bargent ©, Matty Ryan, George Meadows, Jake Inglis, Robbie Weeks, Nick Headley, James Clarke, Gareth Roebuck. Jack Madge, Charlie Parr, Charlie Passmore.

The match was preceded by a tribute and applause to remember Nick Tuckett, former 1st Team Captain during 1994-96, who sadly passed away in recent weeks. Our thoughts are with wife Sally, children, Jaz & Ty, partners and grandchildren, also family and friends. Nick is much loved with the respect of all in the rugby community. This day was a fitting tribute to the determination shown by Nick and his close family. RIP No 9.

Exmouth Quins stole a fantastic away win over Exeter Saracens 1st Team. Down 7-3 at half-time, the team showed resilience throughout the contest. Both sides were evenly matched with the score brought closer, 7-6 with two Exmouth penalties.

It was the last play of the game and Sarries tried to run out of their 22 metre area. Pressure from the back row caused the opposition to fumble with Exmouth running in the winning try with conversion. Winners 7-13 with four points to kick off their Counties 2 Devon League campaign. Next up Honiton 1st Team at home on Saturday. Cockles Nomads also get their first game on Saturday, Bideford the visitors.

Exmouth Colts had an entertaining run out with Sidmouth Colts in a pre-season friendly. Exmouth should have been playing Teignmouth, however they dropped out and the Cockles were awarded the league points. In a very competitive game, the sides were reasonably well matched until the last quarter. The work done by players with the senior coaching team looked to be taking shape, Simon Tate, Colts Manager was pleased with the players first outing together. Next up, Wellington Colts on Saturday at home.

Exmouth Journal: Exmouth v Lydney