Jack Fahy's early second half try seals deserved home win for impressive Cockles
PUBLISHED: 13:57 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:57 09 October 2018
Exmouth made it four home wins from four South West Premier League starts with a 22-14 Imperial Ground win over Maidenhead.
As one of another large crowd was overheard saying, post match: “That was a ‘proper’ game of rugby today!”
The two sides had begun the day in the top six of the table and both started as if they were determined that they would be the winners at the end of the 80 minutes of action!
Clearly with a larger forward pack, Maidenhead looked to dominate up front. On a blustery day that sapped the energy it was the home side that looked fitter throughout the game.
It was the Cockles who took a deserved early lead with a Tom Whelan try, but the visitors hit back with a try of their own and converted it too to lead 7-5.
Whelan then booted a penalty to see the lead switch back to the home side, albeit by a single point at 8-7. However, Maidenhead carried a real threat throughout the contest and it was they who scored next to move into a 14-8 lead. On the half hour, during a period of Cockles dominance, a superb passage of handling ended with a deft off-load from Mark Wathes, who wrapped up two defenders, and saw fly-half George Meadows run in unchallenged under the post to dot down. Whelan slotted for the extras and the Cockles were able to take a narrow 15-14 lead into the interval. From the whistle to start the second half it was clear that Exmouth wanted to up the tempo of the game. Playing against the increasing wind, their effort was rewarded quickly when Jack Fahy was at the bottom of the forwards to score his try. Whelan again added the extras 22-14. There followed a period of intense rugby with a feature being the once again much-improved Exmouth defence that was able to withstand the very best the visiting pack had to offer.
At the other end of the pitch the Cockles worked hard to bag themselves the bonus point that comes with a fourth try. On a couple of occasions they looked to close out, but simple handling errors and curious penalties halted the advance. A technical offence yellow card for George Savage balanced out the one the visitors had received earlier in the game. Maidenhead did have chances to land a losing bonus point, but the gusting wind put paid to their hopes with two late penalties missing the target.
The Cockles Man of the Match, chosen by match day sponsors Trinity Fire and Security Systems, was Dave Bargent, who is sponsored by Stuart Line Cruises. This coming Saturday (October 13) is the first of this season’s ‘break weekends’ and so the next action for the Cockles will be a visit to Newton Abbot on Saturday, October 20.