Cockles start new league season with home game against Ivybridge

PUBLISHED: 10:35 05 September 2019 | UPDATED: 10:35 05 September 2019

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife

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Exmouth launch a new season of South West Premier Division rugby on Saturday (September 7) when they welcome Ivybridge to the Imperial Ground for a Devon derby.

There is going to be competition for the scrum half shirt at the Cockles this season following the recruitment of James Bath from Barnstaple.

Last season the Cockles did not have the luxury of competition for the position and Exmouth team manager Roger Holman says: "Matt Ryan came in off the wing to play scrum-half before Christmas and that was fine until he suffered a broken arm at Brixham.

"Lloyd Watkins, who is really a centre, and young Sam Fulthorpe shared the scrum half duties through the second half of the season.

"Matt is fit again and wants to play on the wing and Lloyd is keen to go back to centre which leaves Sam, who is a nine, and now James, to fight over the place."

Toby Papp, a former Exmouth youngster who was looked at by Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership U18 League four years ago, and plays in the back row, has rejoined the Cockles' from Barnstaple.

Another new ace at the Imperial Ground is Jacob Unwin, a centre, who was a South West One regular last season with Chippenham, has moved to the area with work

Also new this term is winger Lewis Gerin, who has made the switch to the Cockles from Taunton in search of 1st XV action.

There are also two old faces back at the Cockles for the new term with the return of backs Richard Cadywould and Dale Sleeman, who both finished last season at Topsham.

The Cockles have played two pre-season games ahead of the opener with Ivybridge, beating Bridgwater 38-22 and Barnstaple 33-34.

When the Cockles last hosted Ivybridge at the Imperial Ground it was back in January and the visitors were beaten 43-32.

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