It was the visitors who charged in to 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 to 14-0 very swiftly. The Exmouth team looked little downbeat at letting the large, abrasive forwards take early control. By 18 minutes The Cockles were finding their way back in to the game with Fly Half George Meadows penalty 3-14. This was countered by Stevenson who got one back, 3-17. The first half continued to be attritional, on 24 minutes Exmouth went down to 14 men when Flanker Connor O’Shaughnessy had to sit out for 10 minutes with a technical yellow card. This seemed to drive the home side as Second Row Mike Richards crossed the whitewash next, Meadows missed the conversion, 8-17. With the Cockles on the attack it was only a matter of time before Wing Jack Downie weaved through the defense to cross for his try. Meadows converted, 15-17 at the half way point.
A feature of the home side is their blistering second half start and so it proved when prop George Savage took Exmouth in to the lead on 50 minutes, 20-17, Meadows missed the extras. The play form both teams saw the action see-saw up and down the pitch. Drybrook were then reduced as Mitch Renton received a yellow card for infringing as Exmouth were close to scoring. The resultant phases saw Prop Shane Cooper cross, with a little assistance of the Exmouth forward pack. This time Tom Whelan converted to 27-17. 2 minutes later, replacement Nick Headley, stepped his way through several defenders with strong running, also converted by Whelan, 34-17. Drybrook were beginning to test the referee and his patience ran out when Drybrook centre Ben Large received his yellow card, 16 minutes from the end. There were assured performances from Ethan Langson Justice, starting at Hooker and also Matt Fowler off the bench in to the front row. Exmouth took the opportunity to capitalise on the numerical advantage and Henry Goldson crossed for try number six, Whelan adding the extras, 41-17. Head Coach Pez may want to review the footage from the last 5 minutes as Drybrook looked like travelling back up the M5 with nothing to show from their outing. Hats Off to the visitors as they scored two late tries from Ben Large and Dean Jelf, one converted by Stevenson. Final score 41-29. Drybrook deservedly took home a 4 try bonus point although Pez will see it differently. A word of thanks must be said to the Drybrook club and in particular the players and support who traveled for a second time in as many weeks. True spirit of a great rugby club. Good Luck for the rest of the season.
The Cockles now break and resume on Saturday 5th January with a short trip to Topsham to take on Exeter University. Finishing 2018 in 6th Place in the South West Premier League, the Cockles will look to kick on during the second half of the season.
A massive thank you to all our members, supporters and volunteers, across our senior and junior rugby. We look forward to seeing current and new faces back in the New Year.
Updated 18:58 - 27 Dec 2018 by Ian Harris