Taking one bonus point from this tough game was some reward for a fighting performance from Exmouth RFC. In a close fought encounter, the Cockles went down 17-20 to clear league leaders Devonport Services RFC.

The visitors from Plymouth were on the board after four minutes, a try from Mark Friend. Ten minutes later, Shawn Crawford went over with extras from Matt Neyle, Services 12 points to the good after 20 minutes.

It wasn’t that the Cockles were outplayed but small marginal errors went against them, with dropped passes, losing control of the ball and resolute defence from the opposition. After half an hour, the home side got within range. Geroge Medows struck a well taken penalty for 3-12. Unfortunately, an immediate error cancelled out the score with Neyle adding a penalty of his own, 3-15 at half-time.

The second half started with Services’ James Hocking crossing for a try after 43 minutes, 3-20. The fightback started straight away, with the forwards taking control of the scrum and using their weight to get in range. Charlie Gibbings barrelled over for a try on 50 minutes, converted by Meadows, 10-20.

A battle ensued, with the teams hitting each other very hard. The Exmouth backline continued to threaten the try line and it took until the 68th minute for James Clarke to smash over, extras from the boot of Meadows, 17-20. Twelve minutes left on the clock, the Cockles threw everything they could at Services.

A long-range penalty opportunity could have drawn the game, however the Cockles went for broke and kicked to the corner for a line-out. An overthrow handed the ball back to the visitors who gladly closed the game out to take the win.

Exmouth entertain Matson RFC from Gloucester on Saturday, February 24, kick-off at 2pm. This is a rearranged game from earlier in the season. The clubhouse will also be screening Six Nations Rugby, including Scotland v England at 4.45pm.

Exmouth Colts headed to Totnes RFC Colts on the weekend, returning 7-48 winners. The Nomads game was cancelled when South Molton were unable to raise a side. The Nomads regroup on Saturday with a trip to Exeter Saracens 2nds and the Colts head to Wellington RFC Colts in Somerset.