The Cockles did not have this game in the bag until the very end. It was Maidenhead who led for most parts and looked strong in most areas. Will Runciman slotted a penalty on 6 minutes, with a George Meadows tying the score on 19 minutes. In between, both team looked to assert themselves and defence on both sides was direct and solid. Attack was a clear directive from two well matched teams. On the front foot, Exmouth lost centre Nick Headley to an injury early, with Dan Sanders making his 1st team debut off the bench. Sanders was added late, due to an injury to Sam Whitehead before the game. Jacob Unwin moved from bench to start. Just before 27 minutes, Alex Goldman had to take a 10 minute break following an infringement from the home side. After a period of ding-dong rugby, Maidenhead then increased their lead with a Runciman penalty on 28 minutes, with further tries from Scott Prince and Joe Parkin, one converted, to move away to 3-18 at 35 minutes. Exmouth had battered the visitors try line throughout but had been unable to get over the white wash. A feature of the first half, and ultimately the game was the power of Exmouth forward pack. Maidenhead under extreme pressure the Cockles forwards won a scrum penalty try right on half time. Back to 10-18 at the break.
It was clear that The Cockles were up for a comeback. They did have the breeze at their backs at the start on the second half. Meads reduced the gap to 13-18, with a well taken penalty. From the resultant re start, an error from Exmouth handed a try scoring opportunity to Maidenhead skipper Myke Parrott, 13-23. The Cockles boys still had the upper hand in the scrums and knew they had the ability and nous to shape their own end to this game. Super play, a lovely kick chase from Jacob Unwin, gathered by left wing pace-man Lewis Geran set the home side crowd purring. Meads just hit the outside of the upright, 18-23. The power of Exmouth meant that Maidenhead were reduced to 14 men following a yellow card to prop Sam Rawsthorne. On 63 minutes, an assured performance from youngster Dan Armstrong was capped with a try, converted by Meads. The Cockles take the lead for the first time in the game, 25-23. Things got even better when the power from the forwards drew another penalty try, stretched the lead to 32-23. The visitors are resilient as proven the previous week against the Uni. A couple of minutes remaining on the clock there was still time for a final twist when Maidenhead No 8 Dave Cole barreled over, with the extras added by Runciman, final score 32-30. Both teams captured a 4th try bonus point, Maidenhead a losing bonus point also. Cockles moved to the top of South West Premier with their 5 point win.
This was a very strong team performance, which started in the front row; Nick Halse, sponsored by The Point Bar & Grill, took the fizz for MOM as presented by Ross Lambeth from our Match Day Sponsor ~ Wolseley Exmouth (formerly Plumb Centre)
Next weekend the lads are on the road to Newbury Blues.