Exmouth RFC - a mid-term report.
PUBLISHED: 12:25 04 January 2011
THE mid-term report on all things Exmouth RFC by Cockles Head Coach John Hill.
LOOKING back over the first four months of the league season, we are currently sitting in fifth place and appear to be in ‘very good health’.
However, it is our club’s mindset to look ‘onwards and upwards’ and not have to worry about what is going on in the relegation battle.
Thirteen games played in the league, seven won, six lost and an impressive Devon Cup victory to add into the equation, can be summarised by good progress made but still work to be done.
As a group of coaches we are delighted with the raw ingredients that we have to work with (the players), who have all bought in to what we are trying to achieve and are all willing to put their body on the line for their team mates and their club.
The passion and commitment that has been displayed throughout the season so far has been the foundation of some great team performances and more recently has been a key component in us grinding out some narrow victories.
Upon reflection, we were bitterly disappointed to have lost at home against Newton Abbott and Weston Super Mare, which were games we should never have lost. In both games we lacked a killer instinct, a bit of experience, and were too loose in a lot of the rugby that we played.
On both occasions we lost the game in the last minute and that made it hurt even more. That said our home form has been impressive and hopefully we have sent out a few shockwaves to the division with big wins against Bridgwater, Oxford and Barnstaple, as well as what for me was our most pleasing victory which came against Chinnor, simply due to the fact that we had to work really hard to grind out the result.
The team performances on the road against Old Patesians and Bournmouth can only be described as unacceptable where we never looked like producing the goods and basically ‘stayed on the coach’.
This is something that we have tried to address with regards to our preparation and mindset and more recently we picked up a bonus point victory on the road against Weston Super Mare which shows some progress has been made on this area of our game.
Hopefully, what we have created is a good entertaining brand of rugby, which utilises the superb skill sets within the squad, and plays to our strengths. A lot of work has gone into individual improvement and a need to keep improving each week as a team. Competition for places has generally been high, and underpinning all of this is the fact that the second team are currently unbeaten in their league and are top of the merit table.
Long term injuries to Jordan Kelly, Ash Stevens, Jon Fabian and Chris Strong have certainly not helped our cause, but we hope to welcome back Jon and Chris in January and they can hopefully make a big impact on the second half of the season.
It is also most worthy of mention that the Club’s third XV, the Nomads, also top their merit table whilst the Colts continue to do well in their league competition.
The Juniors and Girls teams have also had a great first half of the season, notable victories across the board, representative honours and large squad numbers bode well for the rest of the season and long term future of Exmouth RFC, much credit is due to the continued commitment of the coaches, helpers and management team.
The second half of the season will also see the return of the community rugby programme with coaches taking free after school tag rugby in local primary schools in the area.
In hindsight we have sometimes been guilty of giving our opponents too much respect and have read too much into some of the distances we have had to travel to play away from home. We have also failed to close out games that we should have won. All that we can do now is ensure that we have learnt from our mistakes, and continue to give everything to the jersey.
Our goal for the rest of the season must be to consolidate where we are within the top half of the table. There is no reason why we can’t push on from here as long as we continue to make Exmouth a hard place to come to and continue our impressive home form. We will certainly be taking the Devon Cup and the Devon Merit Table very seriously and ensure that we continue to build for the future.