Cockles end 2018 with six-try home win over Drybrook

PUBLISHED: 21:13 23 December 2018 | UPDATED: 10:07 24 December 2018

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7368. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7368. Picture: Terry Ife

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Exmouth completed the year with a resounding 41-29 victory over Drybrook from Gloucestershire, scoring six tries in the win.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7361. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7361. Picture: Terry Ife

However, it was the visitors who charged into the lead, scoring 14 unanswered points in the first 12 minutes!

Tries from Neil Morgan and Will Greenaway, both converted by Tim Stevenson, took Drybrook into an early 14-0 lead.

The Cockles looked little downbeat at letting the large, abrasive forwards, take early control. However, by the 18th minute, the Cockles were finding their way back into the contest and a George Meadows penalty got their first points on the board.

That was answered by a penalty from Stevenson to restore the visitors 14-pouint advantage at 17-3.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7357. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7357. Picture: Terry Ife

On 24 minutes the home side were reduced to 14 men when flanker Connor O’Shaughnessy picked up a technical yellow card.

This did seem to galvanise the home side and second row Mike Richards crossed for an unconverted try. The home pressure continued and, when winger Jack Downie weaved through the Drybrook defence to cross for his try, Meadows converted, and half-time arrived with the Cockles trailing by just two points at 17-15.

A feature of this season so far has been blistering starts to the second half by the Cockles and once again the home team delivered! Five minutes after the restart prop George savage crossed to see the Cockles into the lead for the first time in the contest at 20-17.

The action became end-to-end and Drybrook lost Mitch Renton to a yellow card for infringing as Exmouth were close to scoring.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7353. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7353. Picture: Terry Ife

The resultant phases ended with prop Shane Cooper, with a little assistance of the Exmouth forward pack, trundle over and, with a successful Tom Whelan conversion, the lead was 22-17.

Two minutes later, replacement Nick Headley, stepped his way through with tough running, also converted by Whelan, 34-17.

Drybook were beginning to test the referee’s patience, and it ran out as centre Ben Large received a yellow card with 16 minutes remaining.

This gave the Cockles the opportunity to capitalise on the numerical advantage and Henry Goldson crossed for home try number six. Whelan again slotted the conversion, and the home lead was 41-17.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7356. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7356. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth head coach Steve Perry may want to review the footage from the last five minutes, as Drybrook finished strongly, scoring two tries through Ben Large and Dean Jelf, one converted by Stevenson to deservedly take away a four-try bonus point, although the home coach will see it differently!

A word of thanks must be said to the Drybrook club, and, in particular, the players and supporters, who travelled for a second time in as many weeks. True spirit of a rugby club. Good Luck for the rest of the season.

The Cockles now take a rest from league sties, resuming their campaign on Saturday, January 5, when they make the short trip to Topsham to take on Exeter University.

Finishing 2018, sitting sixth in the South West Premier League, the Cockles will look to kick on during the second half of the season.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7349. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7349. Picture: Terry Ife

Cockles’ chairman Ian Harris said: “As a club, we would like to take this opportunity at year’s end to say a massive thank you to all or members, supporters and volunteers, across our senior and junior rugby. We look forward to seeing current and new faces back in the New Year.

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7348. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7348. Picture: Terry Ife

Ref Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7346. Picture: Terry IfeRef Exmouth at home to Drybrook. exsp 52 18TI 7346. Picture: Terry Ife

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