Exmouth's promotion hopes set to be tested
EXMOUTH'S promotion credentials will come under serious scrutiny when they visit Chippenham this Saturday.
Mid-table Chippenham aren't going to win promotion this season, but seem to have a knack of getting involved in who will.
Weston-super-Mare had the look of a promotion side about them until they ran into Chippenham last Saturday and lost 37-24.
Second-placed Exmouth, who beat Brixham 20-15 last time out, can ill afford a defeat which would let the Seasiders clamber back in front of them.
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"It is a massive game, although every game is huge between now and the end of the season," said Exmouth coach John Hill.
"Chippenham play a fantastic brand of rugby and have some dangerous players in their side, such as the Surry brothers.
"We go into the game on the back of two big performances, and having not conceded a try for 170 minutes.
"Chippenham have the most bonus points in the division and will be a huge test of our defensive qualities."
Lock Jack Westlake and centre Adam Higgins will be banging hard on the selection door. Will Hodgetts has no England Colleges commitments in the back row, so could also feature.
Exmouth's win over Brixham at the Imperial Ground put them second in the table behind London Irish Amateurs, two points ahead of Weston, who have played one more game.
The Cockles had to come from 9-0 down to lead 10-9 against Brixham – Andrew Powell and Shane Cooper their try scorers.
A Powell penalty and a Lloyd Morgan try put Exmouth clear in the second half.
Newton Abbot may just have turned a corner if their 25-22 win over Redingensians is anything to go by.
The All Whites have been up one week and down the next since Christmas without stringing together a run of wins.
Back-to-back wins over Oxford Harlequins and Redingensians may not seem a turning point, but director of rugby Roy Henderson thinks otherwise.
"We still have some difficult matches left to play, but Redingensians was the best performance since the turn of the year," said Henderson.
"We can face each match with growing confidence and with players returning from injury it certainly looks a lot healthier than a few weeks ago."
"Despite the scoreline it was a comprehensive victory," said Henderson.
"Our forward dominance was the key with the driving maul outstanding, giving tries to Jason Keenan, Pete Mortimore (2) and Alex Gayle.
"We scored four tries to a late penalty try by Redingensians, who kicked every opportunity.
"Our regular kicker was away and we missed three easy conversions and two penalties, which helped Redingensians to a flattering scoreline."