Exmouth Colts 7 - 15 Barnstaple Colts
Barum makes the possession and territory count
This clash was billed as a big test and the copywriters were spot on. Barnstaple, winners of the Devon Colts Cup for the last two seasons, brought a strong squad to Exmouth who wanted to put on a good show and measure up against the Champions.
A strong wind backed the visitors in the first half as they played towards the clubhouse. Choosing not to kick possession down the field, Barum’s big runners tore into Exmouth from the back of rucks and mauls and from line-outs but strong a resilient defending kept them out. Effective exit kicks (even into the breeze) kept a lid on much of the pressure on the home team’s try line. The North Devon side, however, had most of the possession in the first half and managed to put 3 unconverted tries onto the score board without reply. Disappointingly for the Cockles two of these came from poor attacking choices, when possession was kicked directly into opposition hands.
The Exmouth line out and scrum operated well and winger Richard Hill was making big gains on the left wing and putting in some great defence. At half time the game did not feel like Barum had the result in the bag despite the 15 point lead.
The second period started with the Exmouth players repeatedly trying to run the ball out of their own 22 yard area, putting themselves under unnecessary pressure, when the game needed to be played close to the visitors’ try line. The ball spent a lot of time near the middle of the pitch but the Cockles did have periods of pressure and earned themselves with several try scoring opportunities but only one was taken: a driving maul dotted down by Brett Millsom for his first try ever.
The conversion was successful but Exmouth ran out of time with the final score 15-7. Richard Hall and Harry Ottaway shared man of the Match but the coaches had praise for all the squad who had tackled brilliantly, worked hard and provided the crowd with an entertaining game of rugby.
Exmouth’s next game is away at Okehampton on Saturday.