The season concludes for Exmouth Rugby Club

Exmouth Rugby Club

Exmouth Rugby Club - Credit: Exmouth RFC

After a long, hard season, sprinkled with some outstanding rugby, the Devon Senior Cup Final was played out at Exmouth to bring the curtain down on a great year for the local game, particularly after all the Covid disruptions. 

The Cockles hosted a grand afternoon for all who came to watch and the final game against an all-conquering University of Exeter side had everything you could wish for as an advert for rugby. 

Exmouth knew they had to match the speed of the university and hit hard in defence. With the scores locked at 13-14 at half-time, it was always going to be a close affair.   

On three minutes, the university’s first try came from a slipped tackle. Five minutes later, from a lineout, Matty Ryan sliced through for a hot-footed try that had the crowd purring with appreciation. The try was converted by George Meadows to draw level. Exeter added to their tally, followed by two Meadows penalties, 13-14 at the break.   

The Cockles matched their counterparts in all areas, especially the scrum and lineout, which was working well to launch attacking play. They also outdid them in other areas.   

The second period started with an interception for the students, a wide looping pass was picked off, only one minute down. From the restart, Lewis Geran jumped highest and caught the ball in the middle of the waiting university players, then broke for the try line, converted by Meadows, 20-21.   

The effort from all Exmouth players was superb throughout the game and greatly appreciated by the home faithful. On fifty minutes, Exeter started to increase their lead with two converted tries before Exmouth closed the gap again. Dave Bargent crossed the try line, Meadows extras, 27-35.   

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The game was still in the balance and tipped back towards the Cockles when Jack Madge burrowed over, conversion missed, 32-35 entering the final 15 minutes. The task got a little harder when Exmouth were reduced to 14 men, a second yellow card for Bryn Edwards took him from the field for the remainder.   

The extra man, as well as fitness, made the difference, the students adding three more scores before the final whistle, 32-54. The Cockles’ bench players produced a couple of scoring opportunities but the referee adjudged the ball held up over the try line to end the game. 

Collecting their runners-up medal from representatives from the Devon RFU, the fantastic Exmouth supporters all agree that the performance was outstanding to chase down and keep this game in the balance until the end.  ‘Proud to be a supporter of a class club’, was a lovely tribute to all involved from one of the members. 

Exmouth Rugby congratulate the wider university playing squad, coaches, management and their professional support network, an excellent season with a deserved reward of silverware with promotion. Well Done to all university players, especially those who collected international honours. 

Exmouth Team: Matt Hicks, Jack Madge, Danny Martin, Steve Pape, Harry Sprague, Lee Loveridge, Bryn Edwards, Dave Bargent, Matt Ryan, George Meadows, Lewis Geran, Oli Cave, Nick Headley, George Mears, Jake Inglis. Reps; Fin Keywood, Liam Bayley, Joe Harris, Sam Fulthorpe, Tom Steer, Jack Downie, Brad Skinner (1st Team Debut) 

Exmouth Rugby Club Chairman Ian Harris said: “After the turmoil of recent years, the Cockles are back and what a fabulous season we have had across our adult and junior playing sides.   

“A direct result of the hard work put in by each who played their part, in the obvious and also often unseen, making us so successful this season.  Huge thanks to all involved in making it happen each week across our club, we absolutely appreciate the help and support we get.   

“The final was a massive team effort on and off the field. Let’s celebrate. We look forward to our end of season Awards & Ball at Woodbury Park on Saturday, June 10.” 

Cockles v the students

Cockles v the students - Credit: Exmouth RFC

Lewis Geran

Lewis Geran - Credit: Exmouth RFC

Danny Martin bustling forward

Danny Martin bustling forward - Credit: Exmouth RFC