Exmouth RFC latest - Cockles chat with head coach Steve Perry

PUBLISHED: 17:05 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 17:05 06 April 2020

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth at home to Barnstaple. Ref exsp 35 19TI 9020. Picture: Terry Ife

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have published the ‘final league tables’

The Cockles have been placed as finishing 10th which means that they will begin the 2020/21 season once again as a South West Premier side.

Barnstaple are confirmed as champions and so there’ll be no Devon derby meeting with the North Devon outfit. However, news that Hornets have been promoted does mean that as well as a meeting with Weston-super-Mare next season, the Cockles will also meet Hornets.

We caught up with Cockles head coach Steve Perry to ask his for his thoughts now that the 2019/20 season has been brought to a close.

First up: “What did you make of the season?”

The head coach responds saying: “I do think that overall there have been positives. Yes, we have experienced some difficulties along the way and of course, I am not comfortable with where we have finished in terms of league position. That said, turning that into a positive – it means we have something to ‘better’ in the next campaign.”

Was there a particular game that ‘stood out’ for you?

He was quick to answer: “Without doubt two performances come straight to mind and they were the win at Camborne and the home win over Weston-super-Mare that ultimately proved to be the final outing of the season.”

He continued: “In both performances we had players and sections of the team really ‘step up to the plate’ and it is collective displays- like we saw in those two games- that give a coach so much optimism and reason for belief that what you are doing and working on is (a) the right thing and (b) being taken in by the players you are working with.”

Next up, we asked Steve what was the ‘low point’ of the season for him.

He replied saying: “Without doubt it was on the occasions - and there were a couple of times when this happened - that we managed to get the availability that meant we sent out our strongest possible XV and yet failed to deliver individually and collectively. There’s little doubt that it’s occasions like that when a coach feels at his lowest. You head into a contest almost ‘expecting’ to see a performance and for whatever reason, it does not come to fruition – yes, that’s painful.”

So, if we were to wind the clock forward 12 months what, in your opinion, needs to have happened during the 2020/21 season for the Cockles to be where you’d like to see them, which is amongst the leading teams in the South West Premier?

The Cockles head coach replies: “There are two very clear elements that we need to have fallen into place for us to end next season where I’d like us to be. The first is that we have good attendance at regular training sessions. By that I mean we are able to get as many players as possible to the weekly sessions. It is a fact that a team will always perform better on a matchday for the hours of work put in collectively, in a training session and you only get that collective excellence on a matchday if the players have consistently worked together in training.”

He continued: “The second key point can be put across as a single word – motivation! Players need to be of the mindset that they are motivated sufficiently to both train hard and then take that effort and level of quality into matches and to then perform on a consistent basis.”

Finally, speaking more generally, Steve said: “Clearly, we are currently all facing a situation unlike any we have faced before and whilst rugby is an important part of our lives, the fact is that some things are far more important than rugby.

I wish all our players and supporters the very best wishes and good luck for the coming weeks, hoping that they all stay safe and follow all the guidance that we are being given towards making things as safe as we possibly can.

Rugby will return at some stage and when it is back on the agenda, I personally look forward to seeing everybody again, when we will once again be looking to field as strong an Exmouth side as we can to compete with the very best in the division.”

The confirmed final standings for the 2019/20 South West Premier season are

Barnstaple 88.69 (promoted)

Weston-super-Mare 73.47

Maidenhead 73.33

Okehampton 67.20

Brixham 63.60

Exeter University 59.89

Drybrook 56.40

Ivybridge 56.40

Camborne 55.20

EXMOUTH 54.00

Launceston 53.87

Newbury Blues 44.40 (relegated)

Bracknell 38.93 (relegated)


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