Exmouth RFC latest - our weekly chat with Cockles head coach Steve Perry

PUBLISHED: 12:38 09 January 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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Cockles head coach Steve Perry spoke after the dust had settled on his sides defeat at Maidenhead.

As ever, he was very candid about the performance and, as he always does, he was quick to take the positives.

He said: "We certainly enjoyed lots of first half possession and there was much for us to be pleased about in that performance.

"One thing we must not lose sight of is that we are continuing to blood young players and, once again on Saturday, the fact that we travelled to a top side without some very experienced played, it was asking a lot of the younger brigade, but there's no doubt they will all have learned a great deal from the contest.

"It is a fact, and something I am very proud of, that we are continuing to be able to blood youngsters and give them an opportunity to find their feet at this level."

He continued: "I was delighted, in particular with James Goss in the front row and Gareth Walker at loose head, both of whom I thought did very well."

The Cockles led 20-7 at half-time, but the game was taken away from them by the home side inside eight second half minutes during which time Maidenhead scored four tries. The Cockles head coach said: "From a coaching perspective, it has to be a matter of great disappointment that you have allowed the opposition to score four tries in eight minutes. That really does suggest that the opposition have not had to work too hard for their scores and that was, sadly, the case early in the second half up in Berkshire."

He continued: "Yes, you could argue that they [Maidenhead] changed fly halves and certainly moved the ball much quicker in that early second half spell, but, from our perspective, it was all a little 'too easy' for them."

The Cockles are now sitting third bottom in the table, a fact which suggests that the threat of relegation is 'in the air' at the Imperial Ground, but the Cockles head coach rejects any thoughts of doom and gloom when he says: "Look, on our day, we are as good as anyone at this level. AS glance at the current table might have some questioning my thinking, but it is a fact that, if we can field our front line players on a consistent basis then we'd soon climb clear of what some might perceive as a perilous spot at present.

"It's not rocket science, and we, as a club are not alone with this particular problem and that is one of being unable to get regular and consistent availability from key players . We have the potential to be a match for any - indeed, all - the teams at this level, but we are going into games relying in younger players to step and perform at the same level as we'd expect the hugely experienced players places they may have taken and, with the best will in the world, that is not going to happen on a regular basis and that's why we are seeing the sort of results we have so far this season."

This season the home form is what seems to have let the Cockles down and that is something that the head coach is aware of when he says: "Our away form, with exception of perhaps two sides, is as good as any at this level, but, and here's the key to success at this level, if you are going to do well then you simply have to make your home ground a fortress and that is something that has alluded us at times this season."

On Saturday (January 11) the Cockles host one of the two sides to sit below them in the table, Newbury Blues, and the head coach says: "Is this a must-win game? Well I would argue that, as I have previously said, every home game at this level falls into that category. We are at the stage where we simply have to perform and we certainly have the resources at our disposal to do just that. What we need is for us all to keep working hard, to accept the responsibilities we take on in terms of the team, train on a regular basis and make ourselves available with greater consistency and we will get our just rewards. I am very confident that we will climb clear of this current position which is not one I enjoy seeing us in."

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