Exmouth Under-13s suffer County Cup agony

PUBLISHED: 12:36 12 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:36 12 February 2015

Exmouth Under-13s suffered cup agony when they were edged out after a terrific County Cup quarter-final tie at home to Ivybridge.

The opening exchanges were bossed by the visitors powerful back line who were instrumental in the Bridgers scoring an early try.

The lead did not last long as Harry Sprague showed the opposition defence a clean set of heels, but Richard Forrest was just short with the long range conversion.

Ivybridge were fluent with the ball in hand and moved quickly which tested the home defence repeatedly and the young cockles dealt with this threat effectively on most occasions. However, the pace of the Ivybridge backs gave them territorial advantage and the cockles soon found themselves defending a scrum deep in their own 22. A well rehearsed move from the visitors caught the cockles flat footed as the fly half moved swiftly around to the blind side to receive the ball from their scrum half and he crossed to restore the Ivybridge lead.

The remainder of the first half was evenly balanced with the Exmouth forwards dominating when the ball was kept tight and recycled, but the Exmouth passing was not as accurate as usual possibly due to the speed of the opposition.

Equally the Exmouth backs were closing down their opponents space which maintained a balance of play which was exciting for the large crowd of spectators. Just before the end of the first half the home crowd were on their feet in the belief that Thomas Preece had levelled the score, but he was just short and then penalised for holding on which enabled Ivybridge to clear the threat.

Ivybridge applied early second half pressure, but one of the best defensive performances of the season and some sublime tackling, notably by Zac Tucker, kept the visitors at bay. The pendulum was soon to swing the other way and it was the Bridgers who had to dig deep and defend.

Ben Dawson appeared to be clear away down the wing and although it is rare for any opponent to match Dawsons pace, he was caught and tackled into touch

With only a few minutes remaining a quick break from their own half allowed Ivybridge in for a third try which again was too far out to enable a conversion.

The Cockles response was courageous. Refusing to concede defeat they powered forward and Dawson crossed, and then converted his own try to bring the young Cockles to within three points with a couple of minutes to play.

Sadly the clock beat them, but the Cockles can be mighty proud of their effort against a good side in a contest that saw two well-matched outfits trade tackle for tackle and kick for kick!

Although it was a great team effort the Cockles’ coaching team selected Zac Tucker and Owen Tidball to jointly win the Man of the Match award.

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