Exmouth Colts edged out at Bideford
PUBLISHED: 19:22 16 January 2019
Exmouth Colts were edged out by a margin of a single score as they went down 24-19 on their visit to Bideford, writes Taylor Masters.
The young Cockles, playing their first game since the festive break, made a bright start and it was they who created the early pressure as Bideford were forced onto the back foot.
The only score of the first quarter came when winger Jack Greenaway took a fine off-load from flanker Tom Sanderson before crossing in the corner to give the Cockles the lead.
Eventually, Bideford gained a foothold in the contest and began to enjoy some possession and, when they were awarded a penalty, they kicked to touch on the visiting 22.
A well-worked catch and drive followed and, when the Cockles left a big hole in their defensive line, the home side punished them with an equalising try.
The Exmouth response was excellent and they were soon back in charge of proceedings, looking impressive with ball in hand and the forwards confidently making the hard yards! Indeed, it was no more than they deserved when, following some quick thinking by skipper Owen Brinkworth after the home side had been penalised at the ruck, the Cockles’ captain ran half the length of the pitch before crossing the line and a successful conversion from full-back Bertie Hughes saw Exmouth troop off at the break with a 12-5 lead.
The home side made changes at the break which added some considerable weight to the pack, a strengthening that was very evident when they went over for an early second half, unconverted try.
The Exmouth forwards were now struggling with the pressure in the scrum, and, as the game entered the final 20 minutes, Bideford secured good ball from the back of a scrum on the Exmouth five metre line, from where they crossed for a converted try.
Exmouth Colts showed determination and belief in their own ability and were soon back in front following a piece of individual brilliance from Hughes, who demonstrated why he is in the Devon squad with fine balance, stepping off first the right, and then left, as he left the home defence flat footed to score under the posts. The conversion was good and the Cockles held a two point lead.
For a good number of travelling Cockles supporters, it looked as if their side would take the match honours, but Bideford had other ideas and, as the Exmouth back line creaked under intense late pressure, the home side scored what proved to be a match-winning try.
This was a most entertaining game and the loud cheer from the Bideford team on the final whistle showed just how relieved they were to take the match honours!
The loss is a third narrow league defeat on the trot for the Cockles, who are putting in great performances, but not able to get the results their efforts really do deserve. Unfortunately, the Cockles now have a period of no league games due to other clubs being unable to raise teams.