Ranft impresses as Cockles Colts win at Newton Abbot

PUBLISHED: 11:07 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:07 21 March 2018

Exmouth Colts player Jack Greenaway evading tackles before getting talked into touch just short of the line during the teams win at Newton Abbot.

Exmouth Colts player Jack Greenaway evading tackles before getting talked into touch just short of the line during the teams win at Newton Abbot.

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Exmouth Colts were 15-0 winners when they visited Newton Abbot for a Devon derby meeting, writes Ian Urmston.

The Cockles’ journey to Newton Abbot was eventful, with some supporters arriving before the players, who drove through snow and road-works to get to the game, and the snow only let up after the final whistle!

Conditions underfoot were very heavy, but this didn’t stop the Cockles from trying to play at a quick tempo right from the start. They were rewarded early on with a try from George Allum – the conversion went wide.

Feeling that this was the way to play, the visitors often forced the pace, but stout defence, some good turnovers from the All Whites and a strong wind at their back meant much of the play was in the Exmouth half.

The Newton line-out attacked the Exmouth throw very effectively in the opening half and this stopped Exmouth getting a good platform and even penalty clearances could not be built upon.

Exmouth didn’t exit their own 22m area effectively during a long period and the occasional break-outs from Charlie Mears and Jack Greenway were contained by the home defence. Several times final passes weren’t given and this observer felt that a little more composure would have given Exmouth a better margin than 5 points at the turnaround.

The second half was played at a slower pace, under the falling snow, and both teams managed only half-breaks, the wet ball being difficult to control with cold hands. Neither side really troubled each other’s try line until an attacking line-out close to the All Whites’ corner was followed by a good maul drive which only ended when Joe Oates grounded the ball to make the Exmouth lead more than one score; the extra two points went begging again.

Exmouth had been ringing the changes all game and following a move to scrum-half, Joel Ranft received a pass from a number eight pick-up at the base of the scrum.

He stepped inside his first tackler and continued to dance left and right to avoid the incoming defenders and rode the last tackle to dot down for the final score of the game. His run had taken him from his own half to the try line.

Lots of players played well, including Ryan Schauffler in a rare outing at number10, but Ranft’s individual score earned him the Cockles’ Man of the Match award.

Exmouth play Newton Abbott again before the end of the season in the return fixture.

This will be good preparation for the end-of-season final at Sandy Park, which Exmouth have earned, as Newton were a tough team to beat.

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