Cockles are masters of their own downfall in high scoring game at Brixham
- Credit: Archant
Exmouth were involved in an extraordinary penultimate away game of the 2018/19 South West Premier campaign when they went down 45-38 at Brixham.
The contest saw 11 tries, 83 points scored and the lead change hands no fewer than five times and was undoubtedly a ‘great watch’ for a neutral follower, but the Cockles performance was riddled with simple errors that were punished by the home side.
Straight from kick-off Exmouth were penalised and a straightforward penalty kick saw the first points on the board.
In the seventh minute the first try arrived, scored by the hosts when Connor Bedwell intercepted from an Exmouth attack and ran virtually the full length of the field to make it 8-0. This score was totally against the run of play and, on 10 minutes, George Meadows ghosted through to score the first try of the game for Exmouth, but the conversion attempt hit the upright.
A now galvanized Cockles took the lead when, on 21 minutes, hooker Will Ridout went over for a second unconverted try and Exmouth led 10-8. Three minutes later the lead changed hands after a Tom Goodman try and conversion from fly-half Mitch Pinkus made it 15-10 to the home side.
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The end-to-end action continued and when Nick Headley powered through the scores were level, though Cockles would have regained the lead had the Whitehead conversion effort not again come back off the frame of the post.
As half-time approached, Pinkus slotted another penalty and it was Brixham who held a narrow interval advantage at 18-15.
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After the break, the Cockles showed determination to take hold of the game and try to shut down Brixham.
Two further penalties from Sam Whitehead, after Brixham repeated offences, saw the Cockles into a 21-18 lead on 53 minutes.
However, despite looking confident and playing with guile, the Cockles remained susceptible to error making and it was one such error that led to a converted try, scored Bedwell and converted by Pinkus, that saw Brixham take a 25-21 lead.
A second Pinkus penalty then made it 28-21 before a neat move out wide ended with Sam Whitehead scoring and converting his try to level things up at 28-all.
The try meant the Cockles had a four try bonus point, but, soon after, a misplaced pass, spill of the ball and mix-up within the visitors’ running lines, ended with Bedwell completing a hat-trick of tries to make it 33-28 to the hosts.
It was soon 40-28 as winger Andre Simonetti crossed the whitewash and Pinkus again converted and, when Tom Goodman crossed, Brixham had extended their lead to one of 17 points at 45-28.
The Cockles dug deep and, with four minutes left, Jack Downie went over wide out and the Whitehead conversion closed the deficit to one of 10 points at 45-35.
There was still time for another successful penalty from Whitehead before the final whistle brought a compelling contest to an end.
On reflection, too many simple errors handed Brixham at least three of their scores plus, on the day, two of the Cockles’ kicking efforts struck the frame.
Full-back Sam Whitehead finished with a personal tally of 13 points and the Cockles showed they can score some well-worked tries.
Maximum effort with some reward. However, the travelling supporters would have journeyed home feeling that their side really ought to have won this match.
This Saturday (April 6) sees the Cockles play their final home game of the league season when they host Camborne for another Devon versus Cornwall clash.