PUBLISHED: 15:51 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 10 June 2010
Copyright Archant Ltd
Brixham 20pts, Exmouth 0 South West Two West EXMOUTH suffered only their second defeat in the league this year to a side that put in what was regarded as their best display of the season.
Brixham 20pts, Exmouth 0South West Two WestEXMOUTH suffered only their second defeat in the league this year to a side that put in what was regarded as their best display of the season. With both Taunton and Barnstaple winning, Exmouth now only have a three-point lead at the top of the table.Brixham were well up for this game, having already lost to the Cockles twice this year. The home side took the game to Exmouth straight from the kick off and it was almost 10 minutes before Exmouth managed to get their hands on the ball. This early pressure by the Fishermen resulted in several penalties by the away team. Fortunately, Ben Lovell missed the only opportunity to kick at goal.Exmouth attacked and, following a good driving maul, were awarded a penalty. Unfortunately, the attempt to take the lead fell wide.The Brixham pressure continued, mainly as a result of Exmouth giving away too many penalties. On a rare excursion into the Brixham 22, Exmouth had a chance to take the lead but the put-in at the line-out was not straight and Brixham cleared their lines. After 25 minutes a blind-side break by Jack Downie brought the Cockles a chance of scoring a try but Exmouth were penalised at the breakdown and the chance was lost.After two more penalties against the Exmouth team, Brixham took the lead with a Lovell kick in front of the posts for 3-0 at the break. Straight from the second-half restart kick, Exmouth were again under pressure and a failed touchline kick by the Cockles resulted in a counter-attack by the Fishermen for center Jake Lawrence to burst through the Exmouth defence and score under the posts. Lovell converted.Exmouth tried their hardest to gain some decent first-phase possession, but problems at the scrum and line-out made this extremely difficult. On one of the rare occasions when the Cockles did have good clean ball, the backs showed they had the pace and determination to get back in the game. The penalty count against the Cockles mounted and Lovell increased the Brixham lead further with another successful kick, making it 13-0 with 20 minutes to go.Exmouth continued to live off scraps of possession and finally succumbed to a further converted try by Peter Chart in the dying minutes of the game.This was perhaps the wake-up call the team needed with five league games to go. This week sees the Cockles enter the Devon Senior Cup at the quarter-final stage at home to Western Counties side Tiverton (2.30pm).Brixham Albion 7pts, Exmouth Nomads 53Devon Merit Table TwoIT only took Exmouth 15 minutes to start the demolition job on the home side. Full-back Roger Nye linked up with his half-backs to touch down.Soon after, Exmouth were awarded a penalty which Andrew Binmore converted. The pack presented clean ball to the backs, who took their chances. It was Justin Kirby who went over to increase the scoreline. Andrew Binmore convertedBrixham got their try from an interception just outside Exmouth's 22-metre line.On half-time, Kirby got his second try for Exmouth and Binmore converted.In the second half, with the advantage of the score, it was a no contest. Exmouth took up residence in Brixham's half. Roger Bolt, who had a good game cleaning up at the scrum, was rewarded with a try. Lee Loveridge - son of Exmouth legend Mike - had an outstanding game in the seven shirt. He looks a real talent.Ian Urmston, whose try scoring has dried up this season, must have been storing them up. In the last 20 minutes he notched a hat-trick.Binmore converted two; Urmston converted the third with a cheeky drop-kick. With minutes to go, Steve Hexter touched down the last try.Withycombe 8pts,Sidmouth 12Western Counties WestWITHYCOMBE will look back at this game and know it was one that got away. But, for a 15-minute period in the second half, Withies dominated proceedings on a cold and bright afternoon at Raleigh Park.Many watchers were critical of the harsh handling of the game by the exchange referee from Oxfordshire, who didn't allow a flowing game. The official was consistent and, unfortunately for Withycombe, Sidmouth had a form kicker in Dan Retter, who took advantage of penalties awarded.Withies, playing with the slope in their favour, were soon on the attack and began to look slick. For the first 10 minutes Sidmouth must have known that they would have to battle hard to obtain the win to keep them in contention at the top of the division. With the forwards working well, and the three-quarters looking in good nick, Withies will have been disappointed not to have come away with something in the opening quarter.Sidmouth drew first blood on their first visit into Withies' territory and Retter knocked over a penalty from the 10-metre line. Within ten minutes Retter did it again and Withies, after their early domination, were 6-0 down. Withies needed something and needed it fast. They got the score that was deserved when a catch-and-drive move saw chairman Richard Blyth score a rare try. Adam Pearce missed the conversion for the extra points.As the half ended at 6-5, Sidmouth would have been happy as they had the slope advantage in the second half. Away teams fail to realise that Withies tend to play better up the slope and Sidmouth soon found themselves defending again.However, as in the first half, Withycombe were caught out on Sidmouth's first visit into their territory. Retter knocked over another long-range penalty chance. Within a few minutes, Withies reduced the arrears with a Pearce effort from close range. It was still game on but events were to change for Withies - and not for the better.With 20 minute to go tempers started to fray, due to the frustration, of both sets of players to the harsh interpretation of the laws from referee Simon Miller, and play started to get rather scrappy. While the frustrations were coming out, Withies' Pearce was red-carded for inappropriate language aimed at Miller. From the penalty that was also awarded, Retter knocked over his fourth penalty. Withycombe responded well and nearly scored a carbon-copy attempt of their first try, only this time Blyth was ruled to have been held up in goal.With minutes to go Withies simply couldn't get further momentum to challenge Sidmouth. It was clear the league contenders were delighted and, I suspect, a little relieved when the final whistle went. From Withies' point of view, the promise shown indicates the team is too good to go down. They have another week off to lick their wounds before the difficult game away to divisional leaders Paignton.