Cockles make it three from three with Bournemouth win
PUBLISHED: 11:15 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:15 25 September 2014
Exmouth made it three wins from three in their National Three (SW) campaign with a hard-fought 25-5 Imperial ground victory over Bournemouth.
Chris Bentley returned to the second row and former Cockles skipper Ross Morshead started in a reshuffled back row with Rob Avery-Wright starting at ten over George Meadows.
In the absence of skipper Dave Bargent, hooker Tom Emery took over the captain’s arm band.
Avery-Wright slotted an early penalty and repeated the score after a period of some 20 minutes of scrappy play when consistent infringement seemed to be the order of the day, despite numerous warnings from the referee!
Avery-Wright missed with two more shots at goal either side of a successful kick, his third of the half.
Exmouth looked assured in the line-out and seemed to gain the upper hand in the scrimmage, but Bournemouth showed clear improvement having lost both their opening games.
After the break the Cockles failed to clear from the kick-off were punished by an unconverted try.
Twice the visitors infringed and each time Avery Wright slotted resultant penalties to give the Cockles a 15-5 lead.
The crowd, and eventually the referee, became tired of the visitors tactics and, with the try line begging, a deliberate knock-on from the Bournemouth number nine prevented an Exmouth score. A yellow card was issued and Avery-Wright converted his sixth penalty to give the Cockles n 18-5 lead.
The game was then held up as match official Carl Bennett pulled a hamstring; fortunately referee Sara Cox who had just arrived for the second half, quickly
changed and took over the whistle.
The game opened up for the remaining 15 minutes and Exmouth at last took the opportunity to touch down. Good build-up play saw fullback Ollie Rice beat the
last line of defence to score. Avery Wright converting to bring his afternoon haul up to 20 points and leave the Cockles 25-5 to the good.
Meadows came on, along with 18-year-old prop, and last years colt captain, Matt Harris, the young man making his league debut.
Exmouth went on the offensive and Bentley was close to scoring only to be held up over the line before before referee Cox bought an end to the game.
On Saturday the Cockles, who lead the fledgling table, travel to old rivals Brixham who have made a solid start to the campaign.
The Cockles director of rugby Chris Wright says: “The team will need to ensure they take their chances at Brixham to keep this splendid start going.”