Weakened Weston crash at Exmouth

Weston SM in action against Exmouth at the Imperial ground on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exs

Weston SM in action against Exmouth at the Imperial ground on Saturday. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref exsp 2515-14-13SH To order your copy of this photograph go to www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on MyPhotos24. - Credit: Archant

A weakened Weston side were easily defeated in a top of the table clash against Exmouth.

Exmouth 43 pts

Weston 8 pts

WHAT should have been a fiercely and closely competitive top of the table clash was somewhat devalued as Weston fell foul of the RFU League diktat that insists previously postponed games had to be played on Easter Saturday.

Weston’s rugby committee worked miracles to get a team on the pitch. Their opponents had no such problems with a county cup semi-final already pencilled in and a full cast to select from, and unsurprisingly proved too strong on the day for their patched up opposition, who against the odds made an excellent fist of things for an hour.

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The early signs were good for the visitors, who tore into Exmouth up front, bullying them in the set piece with an obviously stronger set of forwards and trying to play a tight nine-man game.

Credit must be given to the Cockles, who defended well as they withstood the early onslaught. The visitors’ problems started when the home side threw the ball wide, seeking the open spaces for their speedy backs.

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Exmouth opened the scoring after 18 minutes with a well-worked try from a centre and increased the lead to 8-0 with a penalty. Weston responded with a try from Sam Smee, who brushed aside defenders in a 40-metre run to the line.

A penalty after 36 minutes levelled things at 8-8, which probably reflected things to date, but the home side took the lead on the stroke of half-time with a controversial score in the corner to lead 13-8.

The second half continued with Weston forwards dominating. Four penalty scrums on the Exmouth line yielded nothing, the referee unwilling to venture under the posts and the threat was eventually relieved by a fifth penalty, this time to Exmouth.

This represented Westons’ last hurrah as the Cockles strength in depth off the bench became influential and the visitors had to work ever harder.

They were not helped when naïve refereeing, and misguided intervention from a third official resulted in two Weston players being simultaneously despatched to the sin bin.

The home side inevitably prospered against the 13 men, and found the space to score four tries in the last 20 minutes to give the scoreboard a slightly unbalanced look at 43-8, and a generally unsatisfactory and forgettable day for the visitors.

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