Coaches comments on Devon Derby Victory
A superb second half performance from the Cockles achieved not only victory against bitter rivals Newton Abbot but also confirmed 100% of home victories in this seasons Devon League Derbies.
19 points from key man Tom Whelan (1 try, 1 con , 4 penalties), and a try for Mark Wathes was enough to see off Newton , who fielded their new Tongan International in the back row. Last time out , Newton fielded Samoan International JJ, and their latest South Sea Islander looked to make an impact in the game with his big ball carrying, and hard hitting style.
Head Coach Jon Hill comments :
"Time and time again we repelled Newton with some hard hitting of our own. We demonstrated a huge team spirit and work ethic and had to work hard for our victory. One particular hit from Charlie Gibbings in the first half really set the tone for us and we grew into the game.
"I was disappointed with our completion rate in the first half. We dominated territory and possession but wasted six good opportunities in their 22. We lacked accuracy and Newton showed their strength at the breakdown and in the line out.
"We were hampered by the loss of player forwards coach Dave Bargent who is such an influential player for us, after he had to drop out on the morning of the game. In a side also missing Captain Jack Fahy , and influential back three player Richard Bright, we were also then forced into a reshuffle when we lost key line out forward Ben Hawley to injury after 20 minutes. I felt that it took us a little bit of time to settle , and find our rhythm at line out because of the disruption, but when we did , we caused problems in broken field play when we generated momentum.
"Our scrum was strong, and in the second half, we made numerous line breaks by targeting weaker defenders , and some gaps around the fringe. Lloyd Watkins, in particular was strong around the fringe and set up Wathes' try from a sniping break. Mike Richards probably had his best game of the season in the engine room, and made a series of big carries to give us momentum.
"Credit to Newton who picked off some of our more lumpy forwards in the first half by playing with some good width. After half time, However, I felt that we dominated a 30 minute spell by playing at pace and with width , in a back line orchestrated by the impressive Man of the Match George Meadows and his fellow midfield partner in Tom Whelan.
"Another Devon Derby victory and as per the first game against Newton, another fine display of place kicking from both sides , with former Cockle Rob Avery Wright also impressing off the tee for the visitors.
"A big challenge now is for us to build on yesterday's performance and find some consistency. It is always easy to motivate yourself to play in a Devon Derby, against a side fielding a current International , but now the big test is to string together a series of performances. Fahy, Bargent, Bright, Lewis Cooper, Nick Headley and Matt Ryan will all be hoping to push for selection next week , but it will be hard to justify rotating anyone after impressive displays all round. "
To cap off a fine day for the club, a hastily arranged Club xv including a number of 2nd and 3rd xv players beat Topsham 1st xv, and the colts won 17-0 away at Kingsbridge
Updated 07:11 - 10 Mar 2018 by Exmouth RFC Webmaster
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