As seems to be the way this season for the Nomads another vastly different side from the previous week took to the field featuring two new debutants Benny Benstead & Callum Cordwell plus a late change at fly-half that saw colt Bertie Hughes promoted at short notice due to Glenn Layton having to withdraw on the morning of a game, a huge fine surely awaits at the next court session.
Exmouth lost the toss initially and Ilfracombe elected to play with the wind. Straight from the off Ilfracombe kicked deep and immediately put pressure on the Nomads line. Some outstanding defensive work by the Nomads ensured that the line wasn’t breached and Exmouth were able to break out with Bertie Hughes showing excellent pace and mature head on young shoulders to take play up to the Ilfracombe 22 metre line. Now it was Exmouth turn to exert some pressure and the forwards smashed away at the Ilfracombe line with some particularly strong carries coming from Dan Carey, Jake Sharp and the skipper for the day Aaron Conway. Ilfracombe defence held firm and ultimately Exmouth left empty handed with no points to show for the territory.
At half time the sides turned around with Ilfracombe leading twenty-two nil. Further re-organisation was needed with a couple of injuries to Grant Vaughn-Atkins & Benny Benstead which resulted in Exmouth having to switch open-side Finn Urmston to the centre and Joe Schunk to flanker. Exmouth started the second half brightly but again Ilfracombe well organised defence came out on top with conditions rapidly becoming worse meaning handling in the wet leading to a number of scrums that played into Ilfracombe favour.
Exmouth scored fourteen points in the second half, a fine individual try scored by recent acquisition John Burden who showed good footwork and power to score in the corner, with the touchline conversion being nailed by Bertie Hughes. The Cockles second try came courtesy of big Jake Sharp who cut a nice line somewhere around half way blasted over and through a number of defenders and found himself one on one with the fullback. Most second rows would surely panic in this much space but a cool head prevailed and the fullback brought the outrageous dummy for the score under the posts. Just for good measure the second row then dropped kicked the conversion himself.
The final result Exmouth 14 - Ilfracombe 55, the score line flattered Ilfracombe slightly who managed to run in three converted tries in the last ten minutes which doesn’t reflect the tough battle it was for both sides.
The man of the match award this week went to stand in skipper Aaron Conway who led from the front all afternoon. The night shirt this week was awarded to Joe Schunk for letting the side play ten minutes with only fourteen men on the field rather than declare himself ready to play.