Cockles see off Brixham once more and hit a top two berth
PUBLISHED: 09:49 06 March 2013 | UPDATED: 09:50 06 March 2013
Exmouth 20, Brixham 15
Having lost twice to the Cockles already this season, Brixham needed little motivation in coming to the Imperial Ground for this National Three (SW) fixture.
The home side went into the contest knowing that another success would take them closer to the summit of the table.
It was an unchanged Cockles 15 that took to the field in front of a good crowd that included a large contingent of travelling supporters.
Exmouth started brightly, but went behind to a penalty from the boot of visiting fly half Ben Lovell.
Undaunted, the Cockles began to make inroads and the visitors were pegged back in their own half for long periods.
International panel referee Claire Hodnett pulled the Cockles up repeatedly at scrum time for engaging too early and at times the Brixham chat was overpowering!
Lovell, renowned for his goal-kicking, delivered on the next two occasions the visitors got into the Cockles half and that left the home side 9-0 down.
On the half hour, deep in the visitors half, a chip through bamboozled the defence and Andrew Powell dived on the ball for the Cockles first points of the contest.
Exmouth lost second rower Stu Lowe to the sin-bin as he was adjudged to have deliberately knocked on, leaving the Cockles a man down .
Brixham, with their number eight to the fore, defended well for the remaining minutes of the half, but could do little to stop the forward drive from the Cockles with Shane Copper crossing, but Powell could not knock over the conversion.
Exmouth set out their stall early in the second period, diving play deep into the visitors half. The experience of Jon Fabian showing as he slotted a drop goal to increase the Cockles lead.
Brixham, as expected, continued to step up, yet could not get within try scoring
distance of the Cockles line. The hosts however, gave away two more penalties near their own ten metre line and Lovell slotted both.
With 15 minutes to go and the Cockles trailing by two points, they created the try of the match.
Once more deep in Brixham territory, slick hands and a great line from replacement Lloyd Morgan saw the front rower glide through to score beneath the posts. Powell made no mistake to put the Cockles five points clear.
The remaining minutes saw Exmouth push for the bonus point. They were camped deep in the Brixham 22, but to the visitors credit, they stood firm.
News post-match of a defeat for Weston-super-Mare added to the occasion with the Imperial ground faithful celebrating the Cockles return to a top two berth.
This weekend Exmouth visit the same Chippenham outfit that toppled Weston. The Wiltshire outfit are in formidable form at home so only a top quality performance will get the Cockles their reward.