Exmouth bag crucial points
PUBLISHED: 09:29 31 October 2008 | UPDATED: 09:55 10 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
Exmouth 28pts, Cleve 22 South West One HAVING suffered four defeats since the start of this season's League campaign, and with just one win to their credit, Exmouth needed to take two points from the visit of Bristol side Cleve.
Exmouth 28pts, Cleve 22South West OneHAVING suffered four defeats since the start of this season's League campaign, and with just one win to their credit, Exmouth needed to take two points from the visit of Bristol side Cleve. The problem was the visitors are also struggling and came with exactly the same mission. The resulting game was not a technical masterpiece, but did provide a lot of excitement with the result in doubt right to the final whistle. Exmouth kicked-off with a strong wind at their backs and within two minutes a Cleve player was penalised for not releasing. When the Cleve players gave Bucks RRS referee Richard Bennett a bit of lip he marched them back 10 metres and Richard Cadywould kicked an easier penalty. Cleve had an opportunity to draw level, but kicker Matt Spencer went wide.With only five minutes on the clock Cadywould was back in the action again when he forced a Cleve player to spill the ball in a tackle. Seizing the ball, Cadywould ran unopposed to score under the posts. He converted and had a personal tally of 10 points to give Exmouth the start they wanted. Four minutes later Cadwould went from saint to sinner when he tried to run out of defence and lost his support. He was scragged by a number of Cleve players and opposite number Spencer emerged with the ball and scored under the posts. Spencer converted his own try and when he kicked a penalty with 16 minutes played he had brought his side back to level terms at 10 points each. Cleve were now starting to put together some nice rugby and with 20 minutes on the clock centre Tom O'Leary finished off a move with the ball passing through a number of hands. Spencer converted and Cleve took the lead for the first time at 17-10. The rest of the half was littered with penalties, of which Cadywould converted two. The half-time score of 17-16 to Cleve was a fair reflection of the game.Exmouth came out for the second half knowing the wind now favoured the visitors. Within minutes of the restart, Cleve winger Shak Ajuwa took a forward pass yards from the Cockles' line a certain scoring opportunity was missed. Exmouth took the game back to the visitors and, although the Cleve pack were bigger, the home eight were beginning to exert some control but were unable to convert this into scoring opportunities. The pressure finally paid off after 25 minutes when a drive by the pack was finished off by flanker Joe Heaver with Cadywould converting. Exmouth were now back in the lead at 23-17, but when Adam Wylie was sin binned, followed three minutes later by Garry Hooper, the prospect of keeping Cleve at bay with 13 players seemed unlikely. A try by Ajuwa heightened the tension and with 12 minutes left the Cockles' one-point lead did not seem enough. The remaining 13 battled their way through and looked the better, fitter side. When parity of numbers was restored a further score was on the cards. Seb Phelps finally settled things starting with a quick throw in on the half way line passing to an alert Wylie. The lock-forward charged toward the line and when he was tackled Phelps was at his shoulder to take the pass out of the tackle scoring wide out.The win lifted the Cockles two places. With bottom side Oxford Harlequins due at the Imperial Ground in two weeks, and an away trip to fellow strugglers Chippenham this Saturday, maybe the next few weeks will see a further improvement in their fortunes.