At 17-10 down with a few minutes remaining it looked as though Exmouth would suffer a loss on the first day of term. In fact, steely determination from a team that looked to have offered the visitors the victory, dug deep to find enough skill and determination to snatch a 17-17 draw. Almost enough effort to steal the win.
This was a match played for long period without a score, both teams looking for an edge. The Cockles came out blazing, on 3 minutes, after an individual effort, Nick Headley twisted and turned to reach out and touch down, extras missed, 5-0 to Exmouth. 15 minutes later, a sweeping movement from side to side, the ball went wide to Sam Whitehead to score in the right corner, 10-0. Second missed conversion. For the rest of this first half both teams were looking to take the initiative, Skipper Jack Fahy, Steve Pape, Dan Armstrong and Charlie Tribble made some big carries and the Cockles forwards, Nick Halse, Shane Cooper, Dave Bargent and James Harris worked tirelessly to get closer to the try line. At 40 minutes, from a home side error, Matt Dayment, went over for Ivybridge first score, missed conversion, 10-5 to the home side at the break.
The faithful supporters would ask what happened during the break, Ivybridge had the answer as they came out determined to get back in to the game. A real feature of pre-season was the great defensive set put in by our lads in training, this clearly paid off; George Meadows, Nick Headley, Sam Whitehead and returning Matty Ryan along with debutants, James Bath, Jacob Unwin and Lewis Geran certainly shut down Ivybridge. The boys looked sharp all afternoon, just taking a little time to find their rhythm. The introduction of replacements, returning Jack Madge, Henry Goldson and former 2nd team skipper Joe Harris on his 1st XV debut, all were assured in their entry to the fray. It took until 76 minutes before the door could not stay shut and Will Lamont went over for a try, converted by Matt Grieveson, 10-12 to Ivybridge. With their tails up and a deft chip through, Charlie Bryant outpaced and gathered a kick to cross the line, 10-17, conversion missed. All watching were looking at their watch, with very little time on the clock. The Cockles determination got them back in to the Ivybridge half. With a catch and drive at the lineout, 15 metres out, the Cockles forwards did the damage and Dave Bargent went over for a final try, a calm conversion from George Meadows brought the score to 17-17. Unbelievably there was still time for a restart and the Exmouth team sensed they could snatch the win. Although the forwards got field position, eventually they ran out of time. Ivybridge worked hard for the result.
Exmouth had the better of the first half, Ivybridge probably better in the second half. On balance a draw was on the cards; The Cockles will feel this one slipped out of their hands, however they did put in a big shift.
On to Launceston next Saturday.