Exmouth suffer third successive home defeat in close - and muddy - contest with Launceston
PUBLISHED: 14:00 23 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:20 23 December 2019
Not only did the Cockles have to battle the blustery wind and torrential downpour earlier than expected, they also had to take on a resurgent Launceston in the final South West Premier fixture for both teams. It was certainly a close contest, one that ended 19-17 to the visitors, this being a third successive home defeat for the Cockles.
When the teams met earlier in the season on September 14, the Cockles powered to a huge 76-24 success.
The Cockles were quickly into their stride and, just four minutes in, a George Meadows penalty, struck from the halfway line, cannoned back into play off the goal frame.
Both teams were clearly 'up for this encounter' and the opening score did not arrive until the 20th minute when Dave Bargent, playing at centre, joined the back of a driving maul and went over for the first try, converted by Meadows. Six minutes later it was 14-0 as Bargent went over again from a quick tap penalty, tearing in to the left of the post leaving Meadows with another kick which he slotted.
The home side seemed in control however the weather condition ensured they played their part in the game, dropped passes, ball blown off course, although Ben Hawley did dominate the front of the line-out from the throwing of James Goss.
On 33 minutes the Cornish All Blacks hit back with a try from Rory Cinnamond, converted by Dan Pearce, 14-7 and, just tow minutes before the interval, Gary Gynn crossed the whitewash and the conversion was true to leave the sides all square 14-14 at the break.
The second half saw just a couple of additional scores, a George Meadow penalty being followed by a try from the visitors to see them take the match honours at 19-17.
During the second period the Cockles did fashion try scoring opportunities. However, they were unable to conclude their hard work getting to the try line. Turnovers and penalties played their part in losing field position and there were a number of periods of phases of play that took the Cockles to within five-metres, only to see the ball hoofed back down field in the strong gale.
The Cockles did bank a losing bonus point, but other results in the South West Premier division leaves the side sitting 10th as the year comes to a close.
They will begin their 2020 schedule on January 4 with a tricky trip to Maidenhead, currently riding high in second place.
There's no doubt that 2020 will be a test of resolve, decision making on the field, skill and a little luck in fine margin situations.