Exmouth score 50 points with win at Old Pats
PUBLISHED: 10:44 01 December 2014 | UPDATED: 10:44 01 December 2014
Exmouth made the trip to Cheltenham-based Old Pats in some trepidation as rearranged games generally mean unavailability's and changes to the squad, writes Chris Wright.
Such is the current squads strength in depth that these fears were ill-founded and a disciplined display saw Cockles to a comprehensive 50-10 victory.
Old Pats ground is on Everest road and the clue here is the name for the Cockles will not play on a greater slope all season!
Losing the toss makes a difference here and skipper Tom emery did just that to leave the visitors playing downhill for the first half.
The hosts boasted a formidable pack and the early exchanges saw the Cockles pegged back into their own 22, nerves however, were settled with the outcome of the opening scrum in which the Cockles more than held their own.
After soaking up the pressure the Cockles worked their way deep into the home 22 and, after several phases of play, gained a penalty and the hosts picked up a yellow card. Opting for the scrum, the eight man drive over the line allowed Garry Hooper to
touch down and George Meadows added the extras.
From the restart Ollie Rice linked well with skipper Emery and play was once again
metres from the Old Pats line from where quickly-recycled ball to powerhouse Stu Lowe saw him crash over and another Meadows conversion stretched the lead to one of 14 points.
The Cockles step piece play was really taking hold and the hosts struggled to
contain a lively back line. A poorly executed box kick provided Matt Ryan the chance to attack, with Oli Rice in support, the two left the opposition trailing, Rice passing back to Ryan and the flying wingman scored out wide.
The Meadows conversion went wide, but the young fly-half made amends moments later when, with ball in hand, he slipped Emery a deft pass and the hooker found the home defence opening up and he fed back rower Oli Pyne to complete the first half scoring. Five minutes before the break the Cockles suffered a blow, losing prop George Savage to the sin bin, the live wire prop falling foul twice in quick succession to two penalty offences at the breakdown.
The Cockles withstood being a man down, young prop Matt Harris comfortably
dealing with his bigger opponent, and took the game up the slope to their hosts.
Five minutes into the second half Meadows appeared to have scored, but the match official unsighted the judged the score held up despite no old pats players insight.
Issac Dalton, playing possibly his best game of the season linked well with Ben
Hawley and James Harris and the trio carried well for the forwards whilst the Cockles centres Ali Hill and Mark Wathes bounced through tackle after tackle. More excellence from the Exmouth forwards saw a succession of phases leading to a driving maul that steamrolled the opposition leaving Lowe to score his second try and the successful Meadows conversion left Cockles 31-0 up.
The home side used the slope to good advantage to bag a consolation unconverted try before Rice was the next Cockle to touch down and once more Meadows slotted the extra’s.
Matt Harris rejoined the fray and more patient build-up once again took play deep
into the hosts 22. Wathes, Pyne and Garry Hooper all went close before, reverting to route one, a driving maul provided the platform for Lowe to bag his hat-trick try with Meadows slotting yet another conversion.
Youngsters Brad Cooke and Jack Rouse were given their chance and did not look out of place before the final Cockles try.
Jon Aplin marked a fine Cockles debut with the initial work and, when he was held up near the line, Meadows gathered, kicked across the pitch to where Ben Hawley took charge to scamper over and see the visitors score reach 50.
The home side had the final word with a late unconverted try.
The win moves the Cockles back into second place in the National Three (SW) table and on Saturday it’s another long road trip with a visit to Oxford Harlequins.