Cockles need to show improvement in derby
EXMOUTH coach Jon Hill has warned his side they will need to find another gear if they expect to win the Devon derby at Barnstaple on Saturday.
The Cockles returned to the fray in National Three South West after a two-week weather break with a 43-15 win over lowly Avonmouth Old Boys last time out.
Exmouth were 43-3 up with 10 minutes to go, during which the OBs made the scoreline look a shade more respectable with a couple of tries.
A five-point win isn't to be sneezed at – and with promotion still achievable you won't catch Hill complaining too loudly.
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However, what was good enough to beat Avonmouth probably won't suffice against a Barnstaple.
"I was particularly pleased with our ability to open up Avonmouth's defence, although a little concerned with our strike rate, having made initial inroads," said Hill. "We created 16 clear try-scoring opportunities but only finished seven of them, a percentage rate which would not be good enough against some teams higher in the division, including Barnstaple."
Man-of-the-match Mark Wathes started the move which led to veteran forward Stuart Lowe opening Exmouth's try account on three minutes.
By half-time Exmouth were 19-3 up thanks to further tries from Dave Kimberley and Matt Garner, who had come on as a scrum-half replacement for Garry Hooper moments earlier.
A penalty try when Kimberley looked set to score a push-over try at No. 8 gave Exmouth the bonus point.
In the time left there were two tries for prop George Savage and one for Tom Kill in the centre after good work by Dave Bargent. Andrew Powell popped over four conversions.
Newton Abbot go to Oxford Harlequins this Saturday struggling to get back on an even keel after another defeat.
The All Whites have had a testing time when they have been able to play since Christmas, losing heavily to London Irish and Weston and only beating struggling Malvern by a point.
Back at Rackerhayes last Saturday it all went wrong against Old Patesians when a 17-8 lead became a 25-20 defeat.
Newton would expect to have too much in the tank for Quins this Saturday, but director of rugby Roy Henderson is cautious of such talk.
"When we beat Exmouth just before Christmas we were either second or third in the table and couldn't wait for the next game to come along," said Henderson.
"We went three weeks without a match, got hammered away at London Irish, thrashed Maidenhead. After Weston put 83 points on us, our confidence just hit the floor. Right now every game we go into is difficult – and that includes Oxford Harlequins, despite what the table says."
Alex Gale and Brett Stroud scored a try each for Newton in the Old Patesians game.