The visitors, on the back of a losing run, were looking to bounce back. Exmouth had not lost in their last 3 games and were seeking a good 5 league points at home.
Exmouth started brightly on a day made for great running rugby. A mix of hard graft from the forward pack, great running lines and super ball offload laid the foundation for a very good team performance. Hooker Nick Halse found himself on the left wing after 3 minutes and paced over for the first try, missed conversion from Tom Whelan, 5-0. Ivybridge clearly decided this was their day and took the lead 2 minutes later; Damon Ackerman went over, converted by Billy Pinkus, 5-7. The first half was littered with infringements from both team and penalties featured heavily in the first 40 minutes. On 14 minutes Pinkus missed a shot at goal, on 21 minutes Exmouth grabbed the lead back through a Tom Whelan penalty, 8-7. Play from both teams was open and wide with Exmouth drawing the next score. Ben Hawley, at No. 8, muscled over for a score under the posts, converted by Whelan on 29 minutes, increasing The Cockles lead 15-7. Pinkus then kicked a penalty to close the gap 2 minutes later, 15-10. The final 10 minutes of the first period of play was fast and furious however two further penalties from Full-back Tom Whelan on 37 and 40 minutes helped the hosts to a 21-10 gap at the break.
The lead would not be relinquished by Exmouth but it was Ivybridge who scored first after 4 minutes, a try from Ben Watts, the normally very reliable Pinkus missed the conversion, 21-15. Whelan kicked another penalty to increase to 24-15. Marcus Prout for the visitors crossed for a try 24-20, as Pinkus failed to convert again. Exmouth were clearly working to grab field position, breaks from Scrum-half, Lloyd Watkins, backs Mark Wathes, Nick Headley, Sam Whitehead and returning Dave Bargent made it very difficult for the visitors. 57 minutes in to the game and Charlie Tribble scored next, converted by Whelan, 31-20. The Bonus Point 4th try was scored by Dave Bargent to slice through a missing defence as they were busy elsewhere. Whelan missed the extras, 36-20. 2 minutes later Fly-half George Meadows repeated the play and dived over for his try. Almost flying over the dead-ball line, before touching down. Tom Whelan converted 43-20. With 10 minutes left on the clock Ivybridge were hunting their bonus point try and also to close the gap for a losing bonus point within 7 points. Reward for their hard work. They did manage tries from Billy Pinkus and Damon Ackerman however Pinkus could only convert one, final score 43-32. Both teams scored 5 tries, both achieved the try bonus point; however Ivybridge walked away with 1 point.
This was a satisfying team performance for the home support and Head Coach, Steve Perry. Big thanks to our Match Day Sponsor St Austell Brewery, hosted by Kirsty Hemmens. Great performances all round however Kirsty chose Ben Hawley as Man of the Match. Well deserved.
Next up, a tricky trip to Maidenhead on their all-weather surface, this will be another tough encounter on the road.
Updated 16:24 - 25 Jan 2019 by Ian Harris