Late try from Garner seals excllent win for Exmouth at Bristol.
PUBLISHED: 06:55 08 December 2011
Exmouth made their first ever visit to Bristol based Old Redcliffians on Saturday and ground out a hard earned win in front of a large travelling contingent, writes Chris Wright.
Phil Kay, the youngest son of Club Doctor Simon Kay made his debut with a workman like performance, Adam Wyllie returned and Paul Morgan and Matt Garner made up a new look centre pairing.
Jon Fabian took over the fullback role with Jack Downie moving to the wing.
Old Reds started brightly with the benefit of the slope and wind scoring from a penalty kick just two minutes in. Five minutes later without the Cockles getting into the home sides half the lead was ten.
Soft defence allowing the home number ten to score a converted try. Exmouth at last got their act together and worked their way into the game, that said the elements were used to good effect to pin the Cockles back.
Fighting to get out of their own half a further blow saw the home side score a disputed unconverted try leaving the Cockles 15 points behind and a few worried looks on the sidelines.
On the Cockles first incursion into the old reds 22 and the try line beckoning the hosts illegally stopped the drive, from the penalty Andrew Powell struck home to get the Cockles off the mark.
Exmouth’s forwards dominance at scrum time was starting to tell, that said the lineout was more of a lottery, using a number of driving mauls the Cockles powered up the hill, often only to see the ball cleared way back down the slope.
With the ball in hand the Cockles backline looked sharp, Fabian marshalling the players in front of him whilst Adam Garner tussled with former Bristol and Scotland International Graeme Beveridge at nine.
The Cockles breakthrough came following a series of phases, centre Paul Morgan cut a great line through the home defence to cruise over, Powell converting.
With the half almost over Old Reds added three with another penalty to leave the halftime score at 18 - 10.
The Cockles now with the benefit of the slope pegged the visitors back, spurning their first opportunity to kick a goal which gave little reward the second time of asking let Powell add three.
With 15 minutes to go a box kick was charged down deep in the home 22, by luck the ball flew straight into the arms of Man of the Match George Savage, the dynamic front rower powering over to score, Powell successful the Cockles led for the first time.
Exmouth tested the nerves with Downie in the bin having been adjudged to have deliberately knocked the ball on, Old Reds made the numbers count, quick hands making a simple try under the posts, with the conversion successful the Cockles again had work to do.
Lloyd Morgan, attacked the restart stealing the opposition ball, the forwards drove manfully down the hill and again metres short a maul was pulled down. The referee sent a guilty old reds prop to the bin so evened up the numbers.
Exmouth wisely opted for a scrum, once again the try line beckoned only for a reds boot to kick the ball out and give the Cockles a second penalty. Again a scrum was called and this time over the forwards went allowing Adam Garner to touch down.
Powell maintained his 100 per cent record and edged the Cockles in front.
With five minutes to go the Cockles closed out the game and despite an interesting decision with the last play, recorded a well earned victory and four more league points.
This Saturday the Cockles host Amersham and Chiltern (2.15pm), the game is free entry for all and the Cockles would be delighted to welcome all Journal readers along.
Director of Rugby Chris Wright hoped this year’s game would be a cracker, last season the club tried to do the same event only to see the country effectively snowed in.
This year the game is sponsored by the Clubs Life members, more details are available at www.exmouthrugby.co.uk