Maidenhead artificial playing surface would have a testing outcome as The Cockles went down 38-14, to the better team on the day. Having taken the game at home 22-14, Exmouth would have been buoyed by their recent form. Mistakes happen and that is exactly what happened in minute 1 and minute 4 of this encounter. Centre Niall Crossly intercepted from a bouncing off-load on an attack ball and ran in unopposed from inside his own half. The conversion from Fly-Half Will Runciman, 7-0. The same combination repeated the feat 3 minutes later, 14-0. The game was hotly contested in the mid-section of the first half however it was the hosts who scored their 4 try bonus point on 25 minutes. Tries from Full-Back Olly Foxley and Winger Scott Prince, the first one converted by Runciman took the score to 26-0. Exmouth finally found their feet in the game and had the best of the last 15 minutes of the first period. Great work saw George Meadows go over for a try, converted by Tom Whelan. Right on halt time, some great phases and pace on the ball, Dave Bargent crossed the line for host try, converted again by Whelan 26-14 on half-time.
The Cockles regrouped and returned looking for a glimmer of light to chase the game. Unfortunately the afternoon got darker and the only light came from the flood-lights. Tries from Foxley and Prop Mark Darlington and one conversion from Runciman completed the scoring 38-14. Exmouth worked hard to vary their play and when they did it made difference to attacking opportunity. Maidenhead, very well drilled, managed to slow the game down to their advantage. Sam Richardson, Prop Matt Fowler and Hooker James Goss, the latter on his 1st team debut, all made their presence known off the bench, during a difficult afternoon where effort did not equate to final result.
Results around them have not changed league position for The Cockles who now take a weekend break.
Saturday 9th February, a visit from Newton Abbot to the Imperial Ground, will provide the next challenge. Well worth a visit to come and watch The Cockles at home.