Cool Cockles Under-11s bag superb Mothers Day win at Topsham
PUBLISHED: 21:04 13 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:05 13 March 2013
Topsham 14, Exmouth 21
Exmouth U 11's dished up a Mother's Day treat for the mums on the touchline when they made the short trip up the A376 to Topsham.
This was always going to be a tough encounter for the young Cockles who had been beaten on all previous visits. However this is a much improved team who are capable of matching any side when on form.
Unfortunately for Topsham it was a Exmouth team determined to make up for their narrow loss to Withycombe a week earlier.
Topsham kicked off but the ball did not make the required distance and Exmouth opted to scrumage as this is an area they would normally dominate, however the much lighter Topsham pack were well drilled and pushed Exmouth off their own ball.
The Exmouth defence was solid and with quick line speed the Topsham backs had to work hard to find any space.
Early exchanges were evenly matched but Exmouth playing up the slope were rewarded for their intensity, with a try mid way through the first half scored by the ever improving Richard Forrest who has only been playing rugby for a few months but is now playing some great rugby.
The conversion was successfully taken by Luke Davis.
Topsham were starting to find room to run the ball and some slick passing and a powerful run resulted in a well taken try which was then converted to level the score.
Not long after Topsham again pushed Exmouth off a scrum five metres from the Exmouth line and the Topsham Scrum Half gathered the ball and skipped around the blind side away from Exmouth’s Stewart Masters and crossed to score a well taken but unopposed try, after the conversion Topsham took the 7 point lead into the break at half time.
Coach Mike Sprague encouraged his team and clearly showed his delight at being only one score behind and with the advantage to come in the second half of playing down the slope and his team on fine form.
Belief was there in the Cockles and they continued to close down their opponents and scrap for every loose ball. Exmouth were rucking well and forcing turn over’s however Topsham were not going to give up their lead without a fight.
Some sterling work across the whole team kept Topsham at bay and when a penalty was awarded close to the half way line, Harry Sprague took a quick tap and caught the Topsham defence out of position and was able to barge his way over the line to score fine individual try.
The extra points were added by Arron Lee. From the restart the ball was caught cleanly by Harry Neath Rogers who carried the ball through two tackle attempts before going to ground in the third, support was immediate from Olly Cowley who picked up and carried before offloading to Harry Sprague who was again unstoppable on his way to the try line. Lee converted to give Exmouth a clear seven point lead.
The Exmouth Coaching team brought on replacements to freshen up the side and this seemed to improve the success rate in the Scrums with Jarred Palmer switching from second row to prop.
Topsham then threw everything at Exmouth and the defence was tested as hard as ever but each and every player stood firm and a text book tackle from Ben Stuart thwarted what would otherwise been a score to deprive the Cockles of their well deserved victory. Eventually after what seemed to be an eternity to the Exmouth supporters the referee blew the final whistle to leave Exmouth with a 21–14 win. Toby McConaghy who had made a great contribution in the second half was awarded the Tackler of the Match shield and Player of the Match was presented to Harry Sprague who was an inspiration to his team mates.