Bideford Colts 24 – 19 Exmouth Colts
By Rob Masters
Cockles suffer another very narrow defeat in the league.
Bideford 24 – 19 Exmouth
Exmouth Colts made the long trip North to Bideford on Saturday hoping to get their new year off to a good start. With early pressure from the cockles it looked as though it was going to be their day as they kept Bideford pinned deep in their own half for the first quarter which eventually resulted in a try in the corner for winger Jack Greenaway who was there in support to receive a fine offload from flanker Tom Sanderson.
Eventually Bideford gained some possession and were awarded a penalty which was kicked to touch on the Exmouth 22. A well worked catch and drive followed and when the Cockles left a big hole in their defence Bideford spotted the gap and peeled off the back of the maul and level the score.
Exmouth were soon back on the front foot again were looking good with ball in hand and the forwards making the hard yards when needed. However the next try came after Bideford made gains into the Exmouth half but were penalised at the ruck, Quick thinking from skipper Owen Brinkworth who took a quick “tap and go” evading the home defence he was clear to run half the pitch for a fine individual try which was converted by full back Bertie Hughes which concluded the first half with Exmouth deservedly in the driving seat leading 12 – 5.
Bideford made some changes at half time which added some considerable weight to the pack and this showed as they were soon over for an unconverted try. The Exmouth forwards were now struggling with the pressure in the scrum and as the game entered the last 20 minutes Bideford secured good ball from the back of a scrum on the Exmouth 5m and were quickly in for a try which was successfully converted.
Exmouth Colts showed determination and belief in their own ability and were soon back in front following a piece of individual brilliance from Hughes who demonstrated why he is in the Devon squad with fine balance stepping off first the right then left he left the home defence flat footed to score under the posts which he then converted to take Exmouth back into the lead by 2 points.
This is how the Exmouth supporters thought the game would and should end with a narrow but deserved victory. However the script was re-written as Bideford pushed Exmouth back testing their defence which unfortunately leaked at a critical point allowing Bideford to score with just a couple of minutes to go.
This was a most entertaining game and the loud cheer from the Bideford team on the final whistle showed how relieved they were to take victory. This is now the third narrow league defeat on the trot for the Cockles who are putting in great performances but not able to get the results their efforts deserve. Unfortunately the Cockles now have a period of no league games due to other clubs being unable to raise teams.