Cockles serve up superb show to see off the champions

PUBLISHED: 21:41 08 April 2018 | UPDATED: 22:56 08 April 2018

Exmouth versus Dings Crusaders action

Exmouth versus Dings Crusaders action

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Exmouth rolled the clock back to bygone season’s when they were thumping all that came before them at the Imperial Ground to see off newly crowned South West Premier champions Dings Crusaders.

Exmouth versus Dings Crusaders actionExmouth versus Dings Crusaders action

When the sides had met at Dings in the first meeting this season the Cockles were thrashed by a 50 point margin, and they went into this contest knowing that defeat would send them closer to the unthinkable of relegation.

In an excellent first half of end-to-end attacking rugby, the Cockles scored three converted tries to the one the visitors managed and so led 21-7 at half-time.

The game was just two minutes old when Davie McGregor crossed following a lineout and Harry Ottaway slotted the conversion. Eleven minutes later number eight Dave Bargent went over the whitewash and once again Ottaway tucked away the extras. Just before the half hour mark, prop Nick Hulse scored the third home try and Otytaway completed a hat-trick of first half conversions.

A converted try late in the half gave the champions some hope at the interval. They struck again, albeit an unconverted try early in the second half, but the Cockles response was positive and an Ottaway penalty gave the Cockles a 24-12 lead halfway through the second half.

There was to be one further score - a third try for the visitors, but the Cockles were not to be denied the victory as they won the game 24-17 to become only the fifth team to defeat Dings in 24 league games this season.

In a packed Cockles clubhouse bar post match the talk was one of simply: “Crisis? What crisis!” - and a result like this does make a mockery of the teams mid-table position.

To complete a case of Cockles double delight, the 2nd XV defeated Dings 2nd XV 24-22 to ensure post match celebrations all round.

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