Superb first half sees Cockles to victory in final home game before Christmas

PUBLISHED: 08:57 15 December 2011

Exmouth rugby club. Exmouth Vs Amersham Chiltern. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exsp 9801-50-11AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Exmouth rugby club. Exmouth Vs Amersham Chiltern. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref exsp 9801-50-11AW. To order your copy of this photograph, go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Exmouth completed half their National Three season with a well deserved home win over Amersham and Chiltern in front of a large Imperial Ground crowd.

Exmouth 36:24 Amersham and Chiltern

With a bumper crowd and fair weather Exmouth played host to their Buckinghamshire opponents the first meeting between the two clubs.

Exmouth boasted one of its largest front fives and clearly looked to boss the opposition forwards from the word go. Former skipper Mark Wathes returned to the centre and Matt Garner got the nod ahead of top try scorer Tom Kill on the wing.

Exmouth started brightly Andrew Powell picking off a loose pass to race under the posts and score then convert his own try with just three minutes gone. Dominating the set piece Exmouth did the basics well and in the next ten minutes scored twice again. The first from evergreen Bob Armstrong and the second in the clubhouse corner from prop George Savage his second try in two games. Powell converted the latter from the touchline to see the Cockles lead 19 points to nil with just 15 minutes gone.

Next to join the party was Wing Garner who raced over out wide to secure the first guaranteed league bonus point with the Cockles forth try.

Amersham were clearly struggling upfront and on the half hour lost their first front row player of the day with a shoulder injury. The Cockles at times took their foot of the gas in the remaining 10 minutes, allowing chances to push the score on to go begging. With the half drawing to a close a series of scrums deep in the visitors half took their toll, twice they stood up and were penalised as the Cockles looked set to score, on the third offence referee Doug Neagle had little option but to award a penalty try. Powell kick the simple extras to see the Cockles lead 31 nil at the interval.

The second half got off to a tricky start Amersham with minutes of kick off lost their second prop; this resulted in uncontested scrums for the remainder of the game and nullified a major weapon in the home sides attack. It was later realised that the visitors also kept 15 on the field when it should have resulted in them losing a man fortunately the result was not in question.

Amersham gained quickly in confidence now able to win some ball, this aided at times by a lacklustre ten minutes saw the visitors score two quick tries both unconverted. Exmouth all too often lost the ball in contact and struggled with the dipping sun, a series of team penalties afforded Jack Downie a 10 minute break in the sin bin for coming in off side and from the penalty the visitors scored a converted try through their impressive scrum half.

The game slipped into a slightly dour period, the only glimmer was a break from Powell that saw hooker Lloyd Morgan score out wide with several men to spare, Powell conversion dropped short. At 36 17 the remaining minutes saw the visitors strive for a consolation bonus point and they were duly rewarded in time added on, bringing the curtain down on a 36 to 24 Cockles win, a maximum five league point haul yet an element of disappointment in how the second half turned out.

The win moved the Cockles up to fifth in National 3 South West at the halfway stage in the season, with a semi final to play in the Senior Cup in February the Coaching team will be pushing their charges to perform over the coming months.

This week the Cockles travel to Bournemouth who are currently averaging over 50 points a game. They are vying for top spot and will present a real challenge in the last game before Christmas.

Exmouth hosts its annual Boxing Day Game the Young Guns versus The Old and Bold on Boxing Day morning with an 11am kick-off and all are once again most welcome to come along and watch the action.

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