Cockles edge nailbiter

PUBLISHED: 10:56 28 March 2008 | UPDATED: 08:57 10 June 2010

P6407-13-08SH Action from Exmouth's 13-6 victory over Torquay at the Imperial Ground on Saturday.
Picture by Simon Horn.

P6407-13-08SH Action from Exmouth's 13-6 victory over Torquay at the Imperial Ground on Saturday. Picture by Simon Horn.

Copyright Archant Ltd

Exmouth 13pts, Torquay Athletic 6 Rhino Devon Senior Cup, semi-final It was cup day last Saturday when current holders Torquay Athletic were the visitors at the Imperial Ground.

Exmouth 13pts, Torquay Athletic 6Rhino Devon Senior Cup, semi-finalIt was cup day last Saturday when current holders Torquay Athletic were the visitors at the Imperial Ground.Exmouth have beaten the Tics twice this season in South West Two but it still rankled the Cockles that Torquay dumped them out of this competition last season, ending their reign as cup holders. The prize this time was not only a place in the final but the added benefit of home advantage against Barnstaple.Although the rain held off it was a not a good day for rugby. A bitterly cold wind swept in from the Haldon Hills as the Torquay stand-off Matt Jackson kicked into the wind to get the game under way.Within minutes Jackson put his side ahead when he slotted a penalty from 15 metres. For the next ten minutes Torquay were marginally in control. When Exmouth's Richard Cadywould punted a long ball towards the Torquay line, their full-back, Paul Clar, was caught on the wrong foot and he had to touch down to give Exmouth a five-metre scrum. The pack, which had been struggling to control things up to this point, produced good ball which was passed to Jack Downie, who brushed off the defence to score wide out and give Exmouth the lead. The wind took Cadywould's conversion kick on a course of its own.Five minutes later, Cadywould had a penalty shot from 30 metres out. Again the wind was not kind to him and the ball sailed past the posts. With 25 minutes played Torquay threatened again and their best opportunity was lost when winger Matt Allanson decided to kick ahead rather than keep the ball in hand. The kick was marked by Exmouth and a punt to halfway relieved the pressure that had been building up.With 30 minutes played, Torquay were having the better of the line-outs and scrums and Exmouth did well to keep the half-time score to 5-3 in their favour.Cadywould kicked off the second half into the wind and Exmouth camped in the Torquay 22 for the next 15 minutes, but came away with nothing. Torquay got back into the Exmouth half and, with 30 minutes played, captain Ben Passenger dropped a goal to give Torquay the lead for the second time. Following the restart, Exmouth won a line-out and set up a standard catch-and-drive routine, from which Dale Sleeman sprinted 30 yards to finish things off with a try. With ten minutes plus some injury time to play, the score of 10-6 did not seem enough of a cushion. A reminder came when Passenger tried his luck again with another drop goal attempt. On that occasion the wind was the winner. Despite playing against the wind Exmouth continued to have the better of this half and with five minutes of injury time they got no more than they deserved when Cadywould slotted a penalty to settle the game.Amid the excitement of reaching the cup final, it shouldn't be forgotten Exmouth have unfinished business in the league.The Cockles are guaranteed a promotion play-off position at the very least. Two wins from the three games left will clinch automatic promotion to South West One. First up on Saturday are Newton Abbot at the Imperial Ground (2.30pm) followed by Clevedon away in two weeks.The final league game is on April 19 at home, to already relegated Camborne.

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