Exmouth 2nds stage superb second-half fightback to win at Devonport Services Pilgrims

PUBLISHED: 09:53 31 October 2018

Exmouth 2nd Xv's Lee Loveridge in action at ther back of scrum in the meeting with Newton Abbot 2nds. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Exmouth 2nd Xv's Lee Loveridge in action at ther back of scrum in the meeting with Newton Abbot 2nds. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Exmouth 2nd XV staged a remarkable recovery to retain their table-topping status in the Devon Merit table after a 29-19 win at Services.

In what was most certainly a classic ‘game of two halves’ the Cockles went into the interval trailing 19-5.

However, they began the second half on the front foot, scoring just two minutes after the restart and did not look back, going on to win in a degree of comfort – and style!

What this contest did underline is that this season’s Merit table fixtures are not easy and there is a challenge each matchday for the Cockles to face.

Services made the brighter start and crossed for a converted try after just six minutes, but the Exmouth response was good and within five minutes Harvey Ridgeway showed the home back line a clean set of heels to score an unconverted try and close the home lead to one of 7-5.

Against the breeze, Exmouth were finding it tough to get a foothold in the game. On 23 minutes Services scored a converted try again, then on 34 minutes crossed for another try. Trailing 19-5 at the break it was clear that Exmouth ‘had a job to do’ in the second period.

Just two minutes into the second half, prop Matt Fowler, after several rolling drive phases, scored his first try for the club and a successful conversion from Tom Steer closed the deficit to one of seven points at 19-12.

Ten minutes later, number eight James Goss picked up from the base of a scrum and crossed for a score. Steer again slotted the kick and the scores were level at 19-all.

Devonport spurned a 58th minute opportunity to retake the lead, missing a straight forward ‘in front of the posts’ penalty! Tom Steer was more accurate and launched a huge 60-metre penalty kick to take the Cockles in to the lead at 22-19.

Once ahead Exmouth looked determined to hold the lead and, when a deft chip from the boot of fly half Steer was caught on the run by Harvey Ridgeway, the latter raced clear for his second try. Tom Steer added the extras to round off the scoring.

In what was a remarkable turnaround, the victory was engineered on the strength, power and downright dominance from the forwards, coupled with great distribution and pace from the backs. Once again several players will continue to make their claim to step up for a Cockles’ 1st XV place.

This Saturday the 2nd XV travel to North Devon with the 1st XV for a double-header meeting with Barum.

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