Cockles suffer another away defeat, going down at Bracknell in Berkshire

PUBLISHED: 18:12 26 November 2018

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

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Exmouth suffered a 27-17 defeat when they travelled up to Berkshire to meet Bracknell.

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

Exmouth suffered a 27-17 defeat when they travelled up to Berkshire to meet Bracknell.

The final score was perhaps harsh on the Cockles, who made a superb start to the contest and, half an hour in, led 12-0.

There were just eight minutes on the clock when fly-half Tom Whelan slipped through a tackle to dot down for a converted try and, after Whelan narrowly missed a penalty attempt, the lead was increased when centre Nick Headley burst through the home defensive line to score and, at that stage, it did seem as if the Cockles were on their way to a rare away success.

However, Bracknell are recognised as being notoriously difficult to turnover on their home turf – and so it proved!

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

A try from strong running centre Pec Nacamavuto, converted by fly-half Vic Hardwicke, saw the hosts onto the score board and, in the final minute of the half, Gabe Hills crossed for a try to send the teams into half-time on level terms at 12-all.

Just five minutes into the second half, the home side struck again when tight-head prop Ken Dowding muscled over in the corner. The conversion was missed, but Bracknell held the lead for the first time.

The next 15 minutes were even-steven as both teams played some attractive rugby. The Cockles suffered a blow on the hour mark when they lost Connor O’Shaughnessy to a yellow card and, two minutes after the card was issued, Hardwicke slotted a penalty to increase Bracknell’s lead to one of eight points at 20-12.

Eight minutes later it seemed as if the Cockles’ fate was sealed when Hills crossed for his second try, again converted by Hardwicke, to leave Bracknell leading 27-12.

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

However, this Cockles side is one that keeps working throughout the entire 80 minutes and, with a couple of minutes remaining, Henry Goldson crossed the Bracknell whitewash.

There was still time for the Cockles to have an opportunity to claim a losing bonus point, but, when a penalty was awarded, they opted to go in search of two points, scoring a fourth try, but, after several good drives and getting over the Bracknell try line, the referee decided that the visitors had knocked the ball on and blew his whistle for the final time in the contest.

The training night reviews will undoubtedly look at penalty count, defence and decision making.

All will be spot on when the Cockles play host to Brixham this Saturday with the Imperial Ground fixture having a 2pm start time.

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

Action from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHYAction from the Cockles defeat at Bracknell. Picture JAN MCCARTHY

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