Cockles sign off another league campaign with win at Cleve
- Credit: Archant
Exmouth duly completed their 2018/19 South West Premier campaign with a 28-20 win at Cleve.
The win sees the Cockles finish the season sitting sixth in the table.
The home side, who went into the game knowing theta they would play a division down next season, played like a team who wanted to enjoy their afternoon.
Physically, what is a huge side, Cleve caused disruption across the field throughout the game.
The first half was marked by a lot of huff-and-puff with the action switching from end to end, but without a great degree of point scoring!
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Exmouth probably had the better moments in the first half, but it was not until the 28th minute that Charlie Tribble trundled over for the opening try which was followed by a successful conversion from Tom Whelan for the Cockles to lead 7-0.
Before the first score Exmouth did have a couple of clear opportunities; unfortunately the final scoring pass went straight to the opposition, mainly due to a visual colour clash in shirts! It was certainly a case of ‘mistaken identity’ in many cases with Cockles players thinking they were passing to a teammate!
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Just before half time Mike Richards was given a yellow card for technical infringement. However, the Cockles rallied and Harvey Ridgeway went over in the corner for a well taken try, Whelan converted again, from wide out on the touch line and the sides trooped off at the break with the Cockles leading 14-0.
From the re-start the Cockles were a tad slow ‘out of the blocks;’ and Cleve took advantage to score next with Grant Sealey the scorer of what proved to be an unconverted try.
There was a special moment eight minutes into the second half when Jake Inglis mesmerised the Cleve defence to cut through to touch down under the posts, marking his senior debut with a try and Whelan duly tucked away the extras.
The home side hit back with another unconverted try, this tim with scrum half Josh Mortimer crossing.
The Cockles, leading 21-10, then had a spell with the numerical advantage after a Cleve player received a yellow card.
With 10 minutes remaining Nick Headley split the Cleve defence from just inside his own half. A super long run in and what was a superb long kick from Whelan took the score to 28-10.
Cleve used the closing stages to throw everything they had at an attempted comeback.
They did manage a brace of tries, both scored by Anton Welling to gain their own try bonus point, however with kicks missed they could not get close to The Cockles.
On the day, the Cockles pack dominated for large periods of the game and there were some tricky running lines from the backs. The game also afforded the Cockles the opportunity to include four lads who have been playing regular 2nd XV rugby; Will Hockin, James Willmott, Jake Inglis and Erin Inglis.
Sam Fulthorpe and Will Bright also made welcome returns and all put in a shift and indeed a claim for a regular 1st XV spot.
Skipper for the day, Nick Halse, would have been chuffed from a solid team performance.
With the South West Premier season now done, the Cockles can turn their attention to this coming weekend’s Devon Cup final against Barnstaple.