Okehampton RFC Colts v Exmouth Colts RFC - League
By John Justice
Colts grind it out at Oke
Exmouth travelled to the moor in search of a first league victory last weekend and returned as 7-11 winners after a hard fought and competitive game.
The first half was played in both bright sunshine and driving wind and rain as the Cockles put early pressure on the Okehampton line. The result was a 3 point lead from a penalty. Unfortunately for the visitors the restart was allowed to bounce and George Alum was hurt as he tidied up the loose ball. He was tackled into touch and some typically large Oke forwards landed on top of him. The ref was taking no chances with George’s injured neck and play was held up and an ambulance called.
Eventually the game restarted on a smaller, adjacent pitch and a reshuffle in the Exmouth pack saw Schunck then White take their turn in the front row. Oke’s game plan was to run big forwards into the spaces around the scrum and this was often successful in gaining yards. During what remained of the first half a great set of drives led to the home side’s first try and the score at half-time was 7-3 in their favour.
In the second half Exmouth pressed hard and had lots of possession but knock-ons in the wet conditions and a line out not quite up to their usual high standards meant that the Cockles couldn’t get on the scoreboard again. Oke were driving their way out of defence and their replacement stand-off kicked several very long clearance kicks to keep their guests out.
Exmouth were never less than 100% committed to their cause and some great offloading out of tackles took them down to Okehampton’s try line. Fulthorpe, enjoying his first start of the season at 9, picked up from the back of an attacking ruck and touched down in the left corner. The difficult conversion was missed but Exmouth were back in the lead 7-8. The Cockle’s second half efforts were helped when Oke were reduced to 14 after a high tackle led to a yellow card.
A further three points from Ottaway settled the Exmouth supporters’ nerves a little but there was still time for Okehampton to run the ball up the slope and get a match-winning try. Their big forwards drove and drove and got up to the half-way line despite stout resistance from the Cockles. A final thrust was held when Schunck got his arms in under the ball, the maul was halted, the ball turned over, and the ref blew for full time.
Another spirited performance from the whole team has given the Exmouth Colts their first win and the good news increased when it was confirmed that Alum was not seriously injured. The Colts can be pleased with the huge effort they put into defending against a strong pack and the manner in which players stepped into different positions to cover some players’ unavailability. Exmouth play next on Carnival Saturday when hosting South Molton.