Early blast from Brixham condemns Cockles to fourth successive league defeat
PUBLISHED: 13:37 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:37 04 December 2018
Exmouth slipped to a fourth successive defeat when beaten 37-26 at home by Brixham.
The game was ‘won’ by the visitors in an explosive start as they racked up 24 points and secured a bonus point all within 15 minutes of kick-off!
The Cockles hardly touched the ball for the first quarter of the contest as Brixham abrasive and strong running saw them score four tries through Connor Bedwell (2), Tom Goodman and Jesse Lowe while Mitch Pinkus slotted two of the conversions.
When the Cockles finally got their hands on the ball they were quickly into their stride and, after some great phases, Mark Wathes ghosted in to score a try that was converted by Tom Whelan.
Boosted by the try, the home side looked to play on the front foot, but, unfortunately, the odd knock-on or slight error popped up at the wrong time and, on 26 minutes a Pinkus penalty saw Brixham into a 27-7 lead, one they carried into the break.
It certainly seemed as if the Cockles used the interval well for they looked a livelier prospect in the early stages of the second half and, just four minutes after the re-start, skipper Jack Fahy went over for the try, but the Whelan conversion was not clean and the lead was trimmed to one of 15 points at 27-12.
All season long the Cockles’ Achilles heel has been a high penalty count and it was evident again in this contest with a Pinkus penalty kick on 55 minutes being followed minutes later by a Harrison Cully try and a Pinkus conversion for Brixham to now lead 37-12.
A big plus for the Cockles was that, throughout the contest the home forwards had control of the set piece scrum and always looked good in the line-out.
It was the scrum that was particularly pleasing and this proved to help as the game wore on.
Front row George Savage, making a welcome return to action, Nick Halse and Charlie Tribble, muscled up well and dominated the Brixham front three. On 63 minutes, second row Jack Fahy went over for his second try, this one converted by George Meadows. Meadows, playing at fly-half in the latter stages, constantly looked to threaten the gain line.
Brixham lost Matt Skeet to a yellow card. With 15 minutes to go the superior scrum battered Brixham, as they had done previously.
The end result, the referee had no choice but to march under the posts for a penalty try and suddenly, the Cockles were within a couple of scores of the visiting total.
A desperate hunt was launched to bag a second bonus point with another score, and the final exchanges were physical and both teams had ideas to run and increase the point gap.
The introduction of replacements George Meadows, Nick Headley and Ethan Langson Justice, the latter making his 1st XV debut, ensured that the home side worked seamlessly until the final seconds, but time ran out on the bonus point bid and the Cockles had to troop off having suffered a second successive home defeat and a fourth loss on the spin.
To start the day with nothing and finish the day with a bonus point is a gain. The effort from all is unquestionable. With other results around the South West Premier League coming in, it was clear the league positions would not change despite the defeat. Exmouth stay mid table in seventh position and so move into the next game, this Saturday’s (December 8) trip to Camborne, a tough place to go, however the Cockles did gain a valuable win away last term.