Cockles bank precious bonus point in narrow defeat at Brixham - now for Camborne
PUBLISHED: 21:06 03 March 2020 | UPDATED: 21:06 03 March 2020
Exmouth returned from a terrific tussle with hosts Brixham with what could yet be a priceless bonus point after they were edged out 18-12 by the South Devon side.
To the neutrals in a good turnout at Brixham this contest would have been compelling, and it was certainly one that had its outcome very much 'in the balance' right up until the final whistle.
Brixham struck first with Mitch Pinkus rifling two kicks between the posts to see the home side into a 6-0 lead after seven minutes.
Playing down the notorious slope and with the winds at their back, Brixham were clearly intent on building themselves the luxury of a healthy half-time advantage.
However, another excellent defensive display from the Cockles denied them timre and again.
It was after a long period of sustained pressure that the home side finally broke through with a 25th minute converted try from Nathan Reeves and, when the Pinkus conversion sailed between the uprights, the home side held a 13-0 lead 30 minutes into the contest.
The Cockles, led from the front by skipper Nick Halse, stuck to their task and their endeavours were finally deservedly rewarded when some terrific individual skill from Jack Downie, but the valiant effort by George Meadows to try and beat the win, drifted wide.
The Cockles ended the half in the ascendancy, and they did work their way into a second try scoring situation, but the match official adjudged a knock forward and the half ended with the home side holding a 13-5 lead.
The Cockles began the second half as they had finished the first. They worked their way into good field position before Jacob Unwin, who had replaced Alex Goldman, powered his way forward, cutting a lovely line through the Brixham defence on his way to crashing over the try line under the posts and a successful Meadows conversion closed the deficit to one of a single point at 13-12 to the hosts!
However, the Cockles did not have it all their own way and a higher than usual
penalty count began to take its toll. The home side, playing into the elements, adopted a similar approach to that that the Cockles had used themselves in the first half.
They kept the ball tight and rolling and eventually what had been some splendid defensive play from the Cockles was breached with the home side working the ball wide where Joel Ashworth took it over the try line to make it 18-12 with 25 minutes of the contest remaining.
For much of the final third of the match, it was the Cockles, who had the advantage of slope and wind, who played on the front foot. They did come close, but sadly, not close enough, as the home defence shut the door to see out the game to its conclusion.
Next up for the Cockles is a Saturday (March 7) home meeting with a Camborne side that they defeated 17-8 when the teams met in Cornwall back in November.