Exmouth claim second successive County Cup win
PUBLISHED: 16:20 01 May 2012
Exmouth RFC made history on Saturday when they retained the Devon County Cup, the first time in the Cockles’ history that this landmark has been achieved, writes Steve Birley.
What’s more they lifted the trophy after a comprehensive 28-15 success at Brixham where the home side, who will be league opposition for Exmouth next season after their promotion this term, contributed much to an exciting final.
Trailing 10-0, blood replacement Tom Kill went over for a try in between two Andrew Powell penalties and, once in the lead, the Cockles never looked like relinquishing their hold on the cup.
Three coach loads of supporters were present in South Devon to cheer the team to victory.
Cockles Director of Ruby, Chris Wright said: “We got what we deserved. We travelled to Brixham under no illusions as to the challenge we faced. I would have to say our planning and preparation was spot on for everything we anticipated would happen in the contest did. We chose to play against the elements and up the slope before the break, soaked up and coped with the best they had to offer, and, even at 10-0 in their favour I felt things were going to plan. After the break we were able to enjoy an element of comfort about our play and ended up worthy winners. It’s been a terrific season and I’d like to think there’s still more to come. We’ll look to add a little extra strength in depth in certain areas, enjoy a break, and come back ready for more in September.”
Brixham made the anticipated high-tempo start and struck two near identical tries inside the first ten minutes with their powerful forward attack and some fine catch and drive work. Andrew Powell’s 13th minute penalty began the scoring for the Cockles, and seven minutes later blood replacement, Tom Kill went over out wide. Just before the half hour Powell slotted a long-range penalty to give the Cockles the ad for the first time. A penalty then put the hosts back in front only for the Cockles to go into half-time with the advantage when Mark Wathes charged down a kick and raced 80-metres to score under the posts. Powell tucked away the conversion and that left Exmouth the happier of the two dressing rooms at half-time.
Powell scored shortly after the re-start to put daylight between the sides and victory was assured when flanker Dave Bargent emerged from a maul to go over the Brixham line.
Wright said: “There are always things to look at in games and I was not happy with the way we shipped three near identical tries. That’s because we had talked about their strengths and that’s an element of the game we need to work on. On the other side of the coin we coped admirably with the expected hostile environment of a confident host team playing in front of their own supporters. We moved the ball about well and it was very clear that they were terrified of the threat from our backs. Brixham are a good side and will need to be respected by National Three sides next term. For us it marks the end of another campaign and what a way to end the season as cup winners. To have suffered just6 the one defeat since the turn of the year is testament to the hard work the squad has put in both on match days, and perhaps more importantly, in training sessions. What I would like to place on record, is my sincere thanks to the hoards of supporters who were present at Brixham to cheer the team on; it was a great turn-out by a wonderful set of followers.”