Cockles suffer disappointing home defeat to struggling Bracknell

PUBLISHED: 13:51 25 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:51 25 March 2019

Dave Bargent in the thick of the action with Cockles debutant Finn Marks also in shot. Picture JASON FAHY

Dave Bargent in the thick of the action with Cockles debutant Finn Marks also in shot. Picture JASON FAHY

Archant

Exmouth went down to only their third home defeat of the South West Premier season when beaten 27-14 by visiting Bracknell.

Exmouth went down to only their third home defeat of the South West Premier season when beaten 27-14 by visiting Bracknell.

It turned out to be a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for all concerned with the Cockles, as the visitors, who had lost on their previous five visitors to Devon this season, left with the points.

The Cockles got off to a poor start, shipping a brace of tries inside the opening 10 minutes!

Two minutes in the Berkshire side worked their field position to put in a neat cross-field chip for wing Simon Bayliss to score and the conversion was slotted by Vic Hardwicke. Five minutes later the Cockles were on the front foot and threatening, but a mistimed pass was intercepted for Bracknell full-back Gabe Hills to race 50-metres to the line and another Hardwicke conversion made it 14-0.

The Cockles hit back with prop Charlie Tribble going over following some fine work by the forward pack. Full-back Sam Whitehead slotted the extras and, just 12 minutes into the contest, the score was 14-7 to the visiting side.

A long period of play saw the home side camped on the visitors’ try line seeking the score; however, they eventually came up empty-handed.

Full credit to the Bracknell defensive set up; throughout the afternoon they repelled every attack that the Cockles threw at them. It took fully 30 minutes for the next score, which came from Bracknell with an unconverted try and they trooped off at the break holding a 19-7 lead.

The second period would produce a tough arm wrestle from both teams; Steve Pape, James Harris, Ben Hawley, Shane Cooper, Will Ridout, Connor O’Shaughnessy, together with skipper Jack Fahy, worked hard to establish a platform.

Bracknell countered and closed that game out with their bonus point try, scored on 47 minutes by Ian Burch.

The Cockles kept battling away – there was no shortage of effort on the day from the home side. George Savage and James Goss arrived from the bench to join the forwards and Exmouth finally got scant reward for their toil when Dave Bargent went over for a try, converted by replacement Tom Whelan 24-14. However, Bracknell had the final say with a late penalty to complete the scoring.

For the Cockles, George Meadows marshalled the back line with Nick Headley, Mark Wathes and debutant Finlay Marks on the wing trying to find a way through the tight Bracknell defence.

The Cockles will regroup at training this week and focus on their next game, which takes them to Brixham on Saturday (March 30).

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