Cockles coach Jon Hill speaks on the Devon derby defeat at Newton Abbot

PUBLISHED: 16:47 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 16:47 09 October 2017

Action from the Cockles defeat at Newton Abbot

Action from the Cockles defeat at Newton Abbot


Cockles coach Jon Hill had plenty to say after his side’s narrow 48-42 defeat in the Devon derby at Newton Abbot.

He was gracious in defeat when he began with: “In a great advert for South West Premier and also Devon Rugby, Exmouth and Newton Abbot threw caution to the wind and played expansive rugby at a pace and standard that would not look out of place at least one league above.”

He continued: “Newton, boosted by the short term arrival of Samoan International JJ Taulagi, and with former Premiership speedster Matt Jess pulling strings behind the scrum, Newton were always a threat, and certainly caused damage off any poor kick or any error made by ourselves.

“In the end, we were on the wrong end of some fine margins, but did, at least, take two bonus points for our troubles.”

Hill was left feeling that a number of things on the day did not go his side’s way. He explained, saying: “Three key decisions certainly did not go our way, and if any one of those three key incidents had been given in our favour then the result would have been very different.

“That is how close the game was, and how evenly matched the teams were on the day. Fair play to Newton, and in particular their outside backs, who caused damage and took their opportunities. Jessy [Taulagi] showed his quality, and was a constant thorn in our defence. They were well organised and dangerous with ball in hand.”

He continued with his view on the specific decisions, saying: “Decision one came as Samoan International JJ Taulagi broke through and when dotting down to score his debut try, he droped the ball over the try line.

“Seen by the ‘neutral touch judge’ and by the Exmouth players, but unseen by the referee, the try is given.

“The Exmouth players asked the referee to ask the touch judge who has spotted the incident, but the match official did not seek the touch judge’s opinion.

“And, to rub salt into the wounds, the touch judge told the ref at half-time that the ball was dropped over the try line?! Is it time to stress the role of the ‘neutral’ touch judge, where a ref can ask an opinion, and the touch judge empowered to offer their opinion on such tight calls?

“The standard of this league is improving all the time, and referees are only human. How can they be assisted more to ensure the error count is not game result changing, as this became with Rob Avery Wright adding the touch line conversion?”

He continued: “The second incident came with a penalty try and a yellow card against us at a scrum offence.

“This was a big call, especially when it was a very early scrum penalty, and the yellow card was given to a player on the far side of the scrum to the referee? If this was justified, fair enough, but then incident three should surely be dealt with in the same consistent manner, and this came in the final minute of the game and the penultimate play. Exmouth set up a driving maul, and, were powering through towards the try line, only for a Newton player to illegally enter the maul, and pull the maul down. The resultant effect, no penalty try, but a yellow card?! How was this dealt differently to the scrum penalty?”

He added: “In a game of very fine margins, we feel as if we have been dealt a tough blow. However, this should take nothing away from Newton, who were good value for their win, and will be a tough team to beat this season without a doubt.

“It is important that we attribute our loss to internal rather than external reasons, and take some ownership and control to improve as a team. We took two points away from home, but could easily have taken five.

“Should we have taken a scrum with the very last play with Luke Mingo in the bin, perhaps, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.

“We missed our lineout throw and lift under pressure and we should have executed on both fronts.

“Could we have exited better and could our kick chase have had more organisation about it? - without doubt.

“Our defence in broken field play was not quite good enough on the day, and we must work hard to rectify this.

“All too often teams are scoring far too easily against us, and this is not acceptable. Our target was to not kick loosely to the Newton back three who are all very dangerous … on three occasions we did, and we were punished accordingly.”

With regard to playing matter and looking ahead to Saturday’s Imperial Ground visit of Bournemouth, Hill says: “We hope to welcome back from injury, props George Savage from Tom Brown, back five forwards Ben Hawley, Sam Richardson and Dave Bargent, and outside backs Henry Goldson and Richard Bright ahead of the game against Bournemouth.

“In addition to this , Harvey Ridgeway is progressing well, and we also hope to welcome back Royal Navy pair Harrison Marsh (front row) and Lewis Cooper (back five), after they missed he Newton Abbot game owing to work commitments.”

There was one matter though that Hill was keen to end with and it was with regard to what had certainly been a kicking ‘master class’ from the Newton Abbot and Exmouth kickers.

He said: “On a final note, has there ever been such an outstanding goal kicking performance in a league game as put on by Rob Avery-Wright and Tom Whelan? Only one kick was missed in a game that amassed 90 points … fair play to both players. If there was any ‘neutrals’ in the ground, we are sure you enjoyed your day in what was a defence coaches nightmare.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Devon 24 visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Devon 24 staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Devon 24 account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other Sport Stories

Yesterday, 11:00

The fantastic weather over the weekend was enjoyed by everyone interested in swimming and sunbathing, but did not lend itself to those interested in sailing because of very little wind, writes Simon White.

Read more
Yesterday, 09:00

Last week Sidmouth CC played three golf croquet matches - rather a lot in one week, writes Richard Thurlow.

Read more
Fri, 14:53

Sidmouth Town begin their new era this evening (Friday) with their first pre-season action as they take on Wellington at Manstone Lane (7.30pm).

Read more
Fri, 14:42

Here’s our weekly chat about all things Sidmouth Cricket Club with Chairman Fionn Wardrop.

Read more
Fri, 14:41

Sidmouth 2nds duly recorded their 10th straight C Division East win when they breezed to a nine wicket win over Whimple at the Fortfield.

Read more
Fri, 14:36

Sidmouth Running Club members Karen and Christine Farnham lined up with 81 other runners on the first day of July to take part in the hilly multi-terrain 10km Umbourne Ug.

Read more
Fri, 14:36

Ottery St Mary have had an Under-18 team accepted into the Devon County League and a change in the age qualification for the league will mean that Ottery can widen their search for players who will be age qualified.

Read more
Fri, 11:31

Sidmouth’s Creasy team were engaged in two matches within three days at the end of June, their final two group stage fixtures.

Read more
Fri, 07:33

Ottery St Mary went down by six wickets when they entertained E Division East table-topping Sampford Peverell and Tiverton.

Read more
Fri, 07:31

The first Saturday of July saw the staging of the fourth annual Sidmouth Tournament, writes Carol Smith.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 24°C

min temp: 13°C

Most Read Sport

Place a family notice

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

East Devon 24 regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

FFind planning applications