Downie treble as Cockles share spoils with hosts Cleve

PUBLISHED: 09:15 18 February 2010 | UPDATED: 12:48 10 June 2010

IT WAS with a much changed side with which Exmouth set off up the M5 for their game against Bristol-based Cleve RFC on Saturday, writes Chris Wright.

IT WAS with a much changed side with which Exmouth set off up the M5 for their game against Bristol-based Cleve RFC on Saturday, writes Chris Wright.

With a number of regulars unavailable, Paul Flower and Mark Rowsell stepped up to the squad, both seasoned players getting their first outing at National League level, whilst Stu Lowe was also recalled to the bench following an injury lay-off.

The hosts struck first from a penalty before the Cockles' industrious start to the game saw them go ahead through a Jack Downie try and a Rich Cadywould penalty.

There followed a worrying injury to the home side's number ten and the game was switched to an adjoining pitch whilst he received treatment - he was later released from hospital suffering from a muscle-based injury.

The home side scored first on the new pitch, taking the lead from a penalty and they took a slender advantage into the break.

The home side extended their lead early in the second half but the Cockles' front five of Murray Daniel, Adam Hooper, Paul Flower, Jack Westlake and Ash Stevens were soon back enjoying dominance and, following a midfield interception by Cadywould, Downie stepped aside a challenge to cross for his second try.

With the Cockles' back-row of Tony Emmins, Ben Boswell and Andrew Smith looking a full pace swifter than their opposite numbers, the game was seemingly the visitors' to claim.

However the hosts refused to buckle and they took advantage of a Boswell spell in the sin-bin to register a converted try and now they held the advantage!

With ten minutes remaining Downie displayed some great handling prior to charging over for his hat-trick try but the conversion was not completed, leaving the scores level.

Credit to both sides must be given in a tough encounter, Cleve were possibly far happier with the draw, but Exmouth can take a lot of positives from the game.

Next up, the Cockles play host to a high flying Taunton side who arrive in Exmouth having won their last 42 League outings.

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