Boswell skippers Cockles on his 50th appearance

PUBLISHED: 09:26 23 December 2009 | UPDATED: 12:30 10 June 2010

EXMOUTH played host to Bournemouth on Saturday, determined to go one better than the away fixture earlier in the season, writes Chris Wright.

EXMOUTH played host to Bournemouth on Saturday, determined to go one better than the away fixture earlier in the season, writes Chris Wright.

When the two sides had met in Dorest earlier in the season, the Cockles won a deserved share of the spoils.

This time, playing before a big crowd that included a number of former Cockles Players, the Current 1stXV delivered a gutsy performance.

After much deliberation from the Bournemouth Management the game went ahead, kick off delayed 15 minutes to allow the pitch to soften further in the glorious sunshine.

Matt Ryan played at 9 in the absence of Garry Hooper and Ben Boswell in his 50th appearance took over the skippers role.

It was the Cockles who started brightly , securing early possession they went through several phases before good defence from the visitors' allowed them to clear their 22.

The first 15 minutes saw both sides give little quarter. Exmouth lost Jack Westlake with a shoulder injury and Bournemouth their flyhalf with a calf injury as the physicality of the game took its toll.

The visitors had the edge in the tight five, whilst the Cockles looked dangerous out wide, Bournemouth also fell foul of the referee with basic errors in the contact area, this aside, Bournemouth's no 8 took advantage of a gap from a driving maul 10 metres out to score beside the posts, the conversion put the Cockles down by 7.

Exmouth's back row of Tony Emmins, Boswell and Dave Ewers were causing the visitors problems with some powerful runs and excellent tackling.

Mark Wathes Paul Morgan and Jack Downie all seemed to have the beating of their opposite numbers and yet the Cockles failed to exploit these areas effectively enough to count.

Half time, and down by seven points, the Coaching team and players knew they had to step up and early signs were good.

Quick ball from the forwards allowed the Backs to attack and, despite taking a pass behind his back on the half way line, Jack Downie beat his opposite man, then a series of further defenders, to score a fantastic try beside the posts, the routine conversion went wide and, Bournemouth still led by a couple of points.

Both sides had opportunities to kick points in the next 20 minutes and eventually, the visitors' were successful with a penalty to extend their lead to one of five points.

At times the home defence was tested to the limited, but the side has got accustomed to this facet of the game and, whenever Bournemouth looked dangerous, the Cockles would turnover the ball or clatter attackers to the ground.

A double substitution brought fresh legs of Dan Manns and specialist kicker Rich Cadywould into the action, the latter seeing his first action with the boot fall just a foot short of the crossbar from the halfway line.

The Cockles pegged the opposition back in their half and it was only a matter of time before they conceded another penalty at the breakdown, 15 metres closer than his first attempt, Cadywould made no mistake and the lead was cut to just two points.

Both Sides pressed for the all important next score as the clock ticked down, and as the Cockles conceded a penalty with two minutes to go, the Bournemouth kicker stepped up to win the game.

To his dismay he pulled the kick wide, Cadywould collected and the Cockles countered, Andrew Powell, Downie and Ewers carried to the halfway line, real urgency apparent in the effort from 1 to 15 in the Cockles ranks, scrum half Ryan got quick ball to Cadywould who put a perfectly weighted crossfield kick for Tom Elliot to chase, he beat the covering fullback to the ball and, with Paul Morgan in support, gave an inch perfect pass to his centre who touched down.

With less than a minute to go Bournemouth kicked long only to see Cadywould put them back in their own 22, the Cockles somehow conceded a penalty, with no option other than to run the ball.

Several Cockles hit the ball carrier and as he lost the ball forward the movement was greeted with the referee blowing the final whistle which was greeted with tremendous applause and celebration from the large number of Cockles supporters.

The result sees the Cockles climb one place in the table and in a far healthier position having now won 5 of the last 6 league games with something to build on in the New Year.

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