Whitehead has fine afternoon with the boot as Cockles net bonus point away win
PUBLISHED: 14:25 18 February 2019
Exmouth completed a South West Premier Division season's double over Old Patesians, beating them 31-20, up in Gloucestershire.
Four tries from Ben Hawley, Charlie Tribble and a brace from Dave Bargent, together with 11 points from the very reliable boot of full back Sam Whitehead, gave the Cockles a try bonus success.
A game that was expected to be a tough one – this despite the hosts being bottom of the table – saw the Cockles fall behind to a 20th minute try scored by Kristian Taft and converted by Marcus Raymond.
The Cockles probably did not deserve to be behind and, six minutes after their try line was crossed, number eight Ben Hawley went over the home line and a successful Whitehead conversion tied things up at 7-all.
On the half hour mark, Bargent crossed for his first of the afternoon and a second conversion from Whitehead left the Cockles leading 14-7.
In the closing moments of the first half the trusty boot of Whitehead sent a penalty between the posts and the Cockles trooped off at the break with a 17-7 advantage.
During the break, a large traveling Cockles support may well have been wondering how their side were not holding a healthier lead when the home side scored from an early second-half long-range penalty – James Aherne slotted the kick from just inside his own half!
Exmouth continued to be the dominant force and it was no more than their approach deserved when Bargent crossed for his second try and another Whitehead conversion took the score to 24-10 in favour of the Cockles.
Old Pats kept in touch with a penalty from Raymond following another Exmouth infringement, 13-24. Chasing the fourth try, the Cockles exerted their physical presence and it was prop Charlie Tribble who crossed the whitewash and a fourth Whitehead conversion gave the score line, 31-13, a more reflective look given the amount of possession the Cockles had enjoyed.
However, the home side were to have the final say as they made the most of what seemed an ‘easing off’ by the Cockles in the closing moments, scoring a late converted try to complete the scoring.
A good travelling bonus point win is always pleasing, although defence can win games and may be the focus for training over the coming weeks.
New recruit Steve Pape made his presence felt with some big carries; the forward coach will have been in close contact with some of his hardworking forwards during their shift on Saturday.
In two weeks’ time, the Cockles look to consolidate their league position and look to climb the table at the expense of high rollers Barnstaple. A match-up always guaranteed to entertain, the Cockles will look to reverse their away trip loss to the North Devon side, who are placed second.