Battling Cockles pipped by title-chasing Old Reds

Sam Plumer on the ball

Sam Plumer on the ball - Credit: Exmouth RFC

The game did not fail to entertain as The Cockles hosted 2nd place Old Redcliffians.   

Bringing speed, size and physicality with them, the Bristol outfit looked like title contenders. Both sides went hammer and tongs and it took nearly 20 minutes for the first points of the afternoon, a penalty try from late tackle, 0-7, and Exmouth down to 14 with a 10-minute break for Sam Plumer.   
George Meadows opened his account with a penalty on 26 minutes.  Although pretty even throughout, it was the visitors who hit their stride with tries from George Smith and Tom Williams, converted by Ashley Groves, 3-21 at half-time. 

The Cockles faithful were about to see the determination of a side that will keeping fighting for league points.  

The 18-point deficit was not only cut, but overturned in 14 minutes with tries from Sam Plumer, Nick Headley and Dave Bargent, all converted by Meadows. The tries were built with forward power, great hands with individual skill from each scorer, 24-21 to The Cockles.   

With 17 minutes remaining, both teams were still knocking lumps out of each other and seeking that decisive score.  A momentary uncharacteristic lapse in defence allowed Old Reds Donald Farmer to slip through for a final try with extras added by Dominic Sprague, 24-28.   

The last 10 minutes were played out with The Cockles seeking the break to come back again. Eventually, they ran out of time, despite several attempts to get up field.  The game ended with a penalty that Old Reds decided to kick to touch to close out their win.  Exmouth did finish with a losing bonus point for their endeavour. 

A game that showed real character and fight from the home side. Something to build on and carry forward to next week.  Exmouth did lose skipper Jack Fahy through injury, but good to see Connor O’Shaughnessy back, plus a first-team debut for prop Danny Martin. 

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Exmouth Quins, with a young side, lost out to Devonport Services 15-19. Exmouth Colts travelled to Sidmouth in their first stage Merit Table East game.  Despite an improving performance, the lads lost out to an older, well drilled side.   

Dave Bargent racing clear for Exmouth

Dave Bargent racing clear for Exmouth - Credit: Exmouth RFC

Exmouth v Old Reds

Exmouth v Old Reds - Credit: Exmouth RFC

Cockles pushing for points

Cockles pushing for points - Credit: Exmouth RFC

Nick Headley on the run

Nick Headley on the run - Credit: Exmouth RFC