A much anticipated semi final was played under floodlight just before Easter at the Imperial Road Ground. The Cockles welcomed Ivybridge and a large crowd was entertained by a thrilling, but low scoring cup game.
Ivybridge held the bragging rights having beaten Exmouth twice this season with the last match a convincing win for the team in green. Exmouth hoped for a much closer game and delivered.
Exmouth played with the wind behind them in the first half and started with an impressive intensity. This intensity was sustained throughout the match. In the first period Exmouth pressed the visitors’ line but couldn't quite score the try they so wanted. Several driven mauls got close but errors and stout defence limited Exmouth to two penalties, slotted by Cooke, leaving the score 6-0.
The second penalty followed a huge driven maul which took the home pack across the half way line and some 20 metres and more into Ivy territory. The maul was stopped illegally and the points followed.
Ivybridge has some strong runners in the back line and the concern at half-time for Coach Justice was whether the visitors would make good use of the wind at their back.
The contest continued at a great pace in the second period but Ivy couldn't quite get a kicking game together. Much of the play was in their half as they adopted a running approach. Several breakouts had the home support anxious that the cockles’ line would be breached but teamwork and cover tackling left it in tact. The Home team’s discipline was also good and they managed to threaten a score on several occasions. The Exmouth Coaching Staff felt it was the squad’s best team performance all season.
Both sides played with heart and spirit and the fixture was a great advert for Devon Junior Rugby. With only six points the difference the tension lasted until the final whistle when a very relieved and pleased Exmouth booked a place in the Devon Cup Final.
The final will be played on 17th April against Topsham.