Exmouth Under-13s claim big scalp in County Cup tie

PUBLISHED: 12:20 06 November 2014 | UPDATED: 12:20 06 November 2014

Another of Devon's leading Under-13 teams came to the Imperial ground on Sunday, but left having suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of the young Cockles, writes Rob Masters.

Torquay are well respected and formidable foe, but fell short of what is required to defeat Exmouth when they are on top form. Exmouth ran in nine tries during what was to be an excellent display of running rugby.

Unfortunately for the visitors they found the Cockles’ flankers, Owen Tidball and Arron Lee at their very best which prevented them getting clean ball. The battle in the mid field was well and truly won by Exmouth and this was the difference between the two sides.

Exmouth were able to cause their opponents problems all over the field with fluent running rugby and a very intense work rate. And although the coaching team will want to analyse one or two areas for further improvements, on the whole this was a very good display which will elevate this team to a position where others will set their benchmark.

Torquay got the game under way but the ball was safely gathered and distributed by the Exmouth team going through several phases and working the play well into Torquay territory. Thomas Preece scored the game’s first try without the visitors touching the ball, unfortunately the long kick at goal was too much for the extra points but it was a good and positive start which seemed to settle any Exmouth nerves. The Restart took Torquay deep into the Exmouth half but the ball was secured and passed along the line to Exmouth’s Harry Sprague who shook of all attempts to tackle and extended the lead with a fine try under the posts. This was a more routine kick for Dawson who added the extra 2 points.

Exmouth’s third and fourth tries both came as a result of the terrier like work of Tidball which provided the ball at a constant rate all morning. The third was scored by Luke Davis then Preece added the fourth. It looked as though the Cockles were going to quickly add try number five when Stewart Masters gathered a loose ball and neatly dummied his opposite number before offloading to Davis but it was deemed to have been a forward pass. However, it was not long before Exmouth were on the attack again this time from one of the side’s recent recruits Zac Tucker and although he was held up five metres from the try line, he executed the pass of the match to allow Davis to finish the half with an impressive 34-0 lead.

With a few changes made at half time the Cockles were a bit slower to find their form at the start of the second period and found themselves under a bit of pressure from Torquay who were awarded a penalty 5m out from this they were successful in getting some reward for their efforts only for Davis to quickly restore the Cockles form when he was on the end of a quick passing movement from one side to the other and able to touch down in the corner. Richard Forrest took over the kicking duty but the distance to great.

Torquay kept playing and were determined not to be overwhelmed and scored a second try when Exmouth were well offside and stood watching while the referee allowed the advantage to be played, this was followed by a very good conversion. Unfortunately for the visitors, Exmouth were not finished and Dawson ran in two tries both following intense pressure on the Exmouth line and on both occasions the ball was stolen at the last minute passed to Dawson who found the gaps to run almost the length of the pitch to score.

This was a dogged performance not just in attack, as it was the fine defending which produced the opportunities for the last two tries. The match finished with Exmouth earning a well deserved 53-12 victory.

Special mention must also be made of Ben Stuart and then Luka Smith who in turn pulled on a Torquay shirt until such time as the visitors had a full 15.

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