Exmouth RFC enjoyed a win to kick off 2024 from a game that could have slipped away. Visitors St Austell took the honours earlier in the season and were much improved from the previous outing, writes Ian Harris.

The Cockles definitely took their chances, with a few more missed, being held up over the try line on numerous occasions. The scrum and lineout delivered a platform to play some attractive rugby that tested a very enthusiastic St Austell defence.

The first 40 minutes went the way of the home side with two Gareth Roebuck penalties and a conversion to a Dave Bargent try, 13-10 at the break. St Austell scored two unconverted tries to keep them in the game.

Reduced to 14 men for ten minutes at the start of the second half, St Austell took hold and ran in two tries with one conversion in a 15-minute spell that could have shaped the final score, Cockles 13-22 down.

Some big carries from Steve Pape and Oli Mason ensured the Exmouth attack was heading in the right direction, Jake Inglis skipped into the left hand corner for a try with Roebuck adding the extras, 20-22.

St Austell had already secured a four-try bonus point and they wanted more. Exmouth’s Charlie Gibbings eventually burrowed over to add a try, again converted by Roebuck, 27-22. St Austell did get one more chance to try their catch and drive from a corner position, however the work from the forwards to disrupt the lineout secured the Exmouth win.

Once again, the boys worked hard to secure the win. A tougher test awaits on Saturday, January 13, with a trip to Barnstaple RFC. Always an entertaining outing to North Devon.

Team: Jack Madge, Charlie Gibbings, Brad Skinner, Oli Mason, Steve Pape, Toby Papp, Will Ridout, Dave Bargent, Matt Ryan, George Meadows, Jake Inglis, Robbie Weeks, Nick Headley, Lewis Geran, Gareth Roebuck. Tommy Andrews, Liam Bayley, Ben Mellor.

Exmouth Quins returned empty handed from a trip to OPMs in Plymouth, losing out 27-0. Next up on Saturday is a visit from Plymouth Arguam RFC, kick-off at 2pm. The Nomads take on Exeter Saracens RFC 2nd Team, also at home, with the Colts on the road to Paignton RFC.