Cockles labour to Barum victory
PUBLISHED: 12:46 18 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:47 18 September 2014
Exmouth were reminded just how difficult Devon derby encounters can be as they laboured to a 16-7 success in North Devon against Barnstaple.
Buoyed by the huge victory the week before at Weston-super-Mare, the Cockles travelled up the North Devon Link Road with plenty of confidence.
Ross Morshead took over from unavailable Chris Bentley with Jack Pyne added to the bench.
The opening exchanges saw little quarter given from either side. The Cockles suffered a blow with an early hamstring injury to influential captain Dave Bargent which led to young Pyne seeing action much early than had been expected!
Barum, led impressively by Steve Perry, played a territorial game. However, it was Exmouth who had the first chance to score when the hosts infringed, but the previous weeks kicking hero with 11 from 11, George Meadows, missed the kick, though the fly-half atoned to slot the second one he was presented with as the half drew to a close.
Exmouth failed to find the fluidity they had displayed the week before and yet rarely looked troubled by the hosts.
After the break Meadows put another penalty wide, but again he was quick to atone to put the Cockles into a six point lead.
Rob Avery Wright was introduced and shortly after came the key moment of the contest.
Barum tried to play from deep in their own half, but excellent play from second row, and Man of the Match, Jack Fahy, seized on a wayward pass and he sprinted clear, holding off a defender before playing a glorious pass to supporting winger Matt Ryan who powered over.
Avery Wright slotted the conversion to give the Cockles a 13-0 advantage.
Barnstaple, in front of their former players, threw everything at the Cockles and, with a little over ten minutes to go, Exmouths cause was further hampered
as scrum half Garry Hooper failed to roll away and was sent to the bin. With a man down the Cockles defence stood firm as pressure built and the Cockles admirable defence finally buckled as Barum struck with a try from the front of the lineout.
The conversion was successful and the gap closed to six points in the Cockles favour. From the restart the Cockles showed their composure, a turnover won and just a minute to go the ball sent deep into the Barnstaple half saw the Cockles win a penalty that Avery Wright coolly slotted to complete the scoring.
On Saturday the Cockles begin their home league campaign with the visit of Bournemouth.
Exmouth director of rugby Chris Wright says: “The team will certainly need to up their game to make it three wins from three. On the positive side two wins from two, both away, is a good start. However, what is clear from the Barnstaple performance, we can, and we will, play better.”