Cockles beaten again, but they bank both available losing bonus points in loss at Camborne
PUBLISHED: 14:19 11 December 2018
The final score of the Cockles' latest South West Premier Division game saw them beaten 43-38 and so they have now suffered five straight defeats in a National Three (S) league season for the first time in many seasons.
However, that statistic of successive wins masks how close some of the matches have been, and this was one such game. The sporting adage of ‘the game is never over until it’s over’ rang so true for the Cockles in Cornwall.
Camborne, whom the Cockles had narrowly beaten on their last visit to the Duchy, were under the cosh in the early exchanges and it was against the run of play that the home side scored first, capitalising on an interception and they scored a second try in the 12th minute.
The Cockles were finally rewarded for their early endeavors in the 14th minute when hooker Will Ridout went over. The Tom Whelan conversion was missed and the home side led 15-5.
The huge Camborne forward pack were posing problems and on 24 minutes Exmouth prop George Savage had to accept a yellow card for collapse of the scrum under pressure.
Camborne scored another two tries on 26 and 35 minutes, both being converted and, at half-time, the home side trooped off with a healthy 29-5 lead. The second half gave the Cockles the chance to take full use of the strong wind. The game saw a second yellow card, this one issued to the influential second row Damien Cook.
Nine minutes after the restart, Cockles’ number eight, Sam Richardson, touched down when the Exmouth pack drove over the line and Tom Whelan converted to make it 29-12. Four minutes later second row Mike Richards crossed after slick passing and offload and the difference in points was 12.
It got even better for the travelling Cockles faithful when, just before the hour mark, prop Nick Halse went over, fly-half George Meadows converted and, with 20 minutes remaining, the Cockles trailed by only five points at 29-24.
However, Camborne were not going to be turned over easily and they hit back powerfully, scoring two converted tries to open up a 21 point lead at 43-24.
The word ‘resilience’ is one already used for this Cockles team and this game saw it once again come to the fore.
With a 19-point gap, a losing bonus point looked unlikely. However, on 75 minutes Nick Halse went over for his second try of the afternoon, Meadows converted and suddenly the points difference was back to a dozen points. The Cockles, to a man, seemed to sense there was more for them to achieve in the contest and, after several phases and a couple of penalties conceded by Camborne, the Cockles were camped on the Camborne try line, with the afternoon getting darker by the minute! The pressure eventually told and flanker James Harris went over for the final try of the afternoon, converted by Meadows to complete the scoring and ensure the Cockles went home with the two losing bonus points.
The performance from all left the travelling support breathless. A special mention of stalwart Paul Flower, who came off the bench at prop and delivered a stand-out performance during a tough afternoon.
Post match, the home players opted for James Harris as their opposition Man of the Match.
On Saturday (December 15), the Cockles play their final game of 2018 when they host Gloucestershire-based Drybrook (2pm).