Dramatic late penalty wins it for the Cockles
- Credit: Exmouth Rugby
George Meadows fired over an incredible 40-metre penalty in overtime to secure a thrilling late win for Exmouth Rugby over Royal Wootton Bassett.
Both teams traded early penalties, but it was the visitors who went over out wide for the first try of the afternoon, Dan Hales touched down, conversion missed, 3-8.
Gradually, Exmouth were getting into their stride and starting to find some good patterns of play. It was team play with a touch of individual class from Lewis Geran who crossed the try-line next, converted by Meadows, 10-8 to the home side. There was yellow card for the visitors who would start the 2nd half with 14 men.
The Cockles scrum stability was much improved and could be attributed to the welcome return of Shane Cooper and Charlie Gibbings, plus debut prop Matt Hick. Along with Gareth Walker and Will Ridout, this definitely set a strong platform. Sam Fulthorpe at scrum half was also assured in tough conditions.
Despite this, it was a try and conversion from Tom Fieldsend that kick-started a very nervy final quarter for the spectators. 10-15 down, Royal Wootton Bassett received their second yellow card of the afternoon, a kick to the corner and it was Charlie Gibbings who went over from the resultant drive, Meadows added the kick, 17-15 with 10 minutes to play.
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The good old penalty count appeared on defence and Fieldsend slotted the kick to take the visitors back into the lead, 17-18. From the restart The Cockles showed resilience and determination to get back down the field.
The clock had turned red.
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After moving the ball to just inside the opposition half-way line, they were rewarded with a long-range penalty. Meadows stepped up, struck a wet, greasy ball off the tee. Hit the right hand upright, the ball bounced over the crossbar, 20-18 to the Cockles. Pressure kick, not at all.
The result keeps Exmouth in 4th place, with a visit to 3rd placed Bournemouth on Saturday 9th October. This will be another stiff test in this very competitive league.
Exmouth NOMADS travelled to Ilfracombe on Saturday, running out winners 49-5. With several players in unfamiliar positions this was a great team performance. The NOMADS now sit second in Devon Merit Table 2 (NE). South Molton 2nd team top the table by virtue of playing more games.