Season 2017/2018 • 31st League Season
South West Premier • Level 5
Exmouth v Bournemouth
Saturday, 21 October, KO 2.30pm at The Imperial Recreation Ground
Result: Exmouth 17/3tc-27/3t3c2p Bournemouth
A strong second half performance wins the match for Bournemouth
Bournemouth: Grant Hancox/3c2p, Harry Davis, Freddie Gleadowe, Scott Chislett/t, Alex Everett-Bolter/t, Adam Davies, Sam Hardcastle, Pat Fraser, Alan Manning, Luca Firetto, Tom Napier, Adam MacDonald, Richard Sharp, Alexander Bennett/t, Joe Rees/C. Substitutes: Dave McDonald, Alex Sutherland, Frazer Wilford. Touch Judge: Gavin Fisher. DoR: Will Croker. Coach: Jon Sanchez. Manager: Andrew Evans. Medical Team: Andy Curtis. League Debut: Harry Davis. Milestone: Luca Firetto plays his 100th league match
Referee: Mason Davies. Match Official: Tony Lindsell.
A number of changes to the team that played Dings a fortnight ago. At full back, the returning Grant Hancox replaced Alex Sutherland who was on the bench. Likewise, Adam Davies replaced Joe Gwyther at fly-half. Joe was with the seconds. On the left wing, Alex Everett-Bolter swapped from the right wing to replace Wyn Roberts who was also with the seconds. Harry Davis, making his league debut, replaced Alex on the right wing. In the front row, loosehead prop Tom Napier replaced Matt Christopher at lock with Pat Fraser moving from hooker to replace Tom, Alan Manning moved from tighthead to replace Pat at hooker and Luca Firetto returned to take over from Alan tighthead. On the bench, Dave McDonald replaced Adam MacDonald.
The weather was forecast was dire with gale force winds and heavy rain predicted for the Saturday afternoon. However, the weather turned out to be fine and sunny although there was an extremely strong blowing from the West straight down the pitch as storm Brian drifted East. Underfoot, the pitch looked very good despite the recent heavy rain.
Bournemouth (Adam Davies) kicked off down wind, right to left as viewed from the stand and to their left.
Bournemouth had an early chance to score when Exmouth were penalized just outside their 22m resisting firstly a Bournemouth drive off a line-out and then a three-quarter move which saw Davis come off his wing to make a dent supported by Rees. However, rather than kicking for goal, Davies was asked to find touch to his left. Exmouth ‘stole’ the throw-in and kicked to clear but Hancox returned the compliment with a finely judged kick right which forced Exmouth back to their last starting point. Sharp appeared to ‘steal’ the ball at the back of the line-out to run through and score only to be ‘pulled back’ to an Exmouth scrum given for a Bournemouth knock on. Bournemouth turned the ball over when Exmouth tried to break out and Rees made a promising ‘dent’ but the ball was ‘lost’ giving Exmouth the chance to counter. They were penalized for not ‘releasing’ and this time Hancox was asked to kick for goal from some 30 metres out and he duly obliged his skipper to give his side a 3-nil lead after less than ten minutes. Bournemouth kicked the restart back and Exmouth attacked right. A little chip ahead was fielded by Hancox and he released scrum-half Hardcastle who took the ball into contact on the half-way line. Bournemouth maintained good possession but no advantage was gained from and earlier Exmouth infringement and Davies found a good touch to his left from the half-way line. Exmouth ‘nicked’ the throw-in and the forwards drove the ball before releasing left. The supporting Exmouth forwards kept the ball tight and were rewarded with a penalty and referee Mason Davies spoke to captain Rees about something. Fly-half George Meadows, from the Bournemouth 10m, found an excellent touch to his right and Exmouth had a throw-in on the Bournemouth 5m. Bournemouth resisted but when the ball was ‘held up’ over the line Exmouth were not to be denied from a 5m scrum and blindside Ben Hawley eventually got over to score. Full back Tom Whelan saw his kick at goal kept out by the wind to go wide of the far post but his side lead 5-3 after quarter-of-an-hour. From the restart Exmouth went left but Bournemouth applied enormous pressure and the home side could make no progress. A Bournemouth turn over allowed the ball to be moved left where Everett-Bolter, coming off his wing, evaded the tackles to dance through and score under the posts. Hancox landed his second goal to put Bournemouth back in the lead at 10-5 just a couple or so minutes later. Davies kicked the restart back left and Exmouth knocked on for a Bournemouth scrum. Going right they also knocked for an Exmouth scrum. Bournemouth were penalized at the scrum and Whelan found touch to his left on the Bournemouth 22m. Driving off the line-out Exmouth were rewarded with another penalty as Bournemouth resisted. Whelan got even closer this time and Exmouth had a line-out on the Bournemouth 5m. The Exmouth forwards drove for the line and scrum-half Owen Nesbitt released the ball left down the ‘short’ side where Sharp was ‘yellow carded’ for his attempts to stop them. Exmouth opted for the scrum at the penalty, drove for the line and scored to tie up the scores. Whelan was unable to convert which would have put them back in the lead again. Exmouth went left at the restart but when they were ‘off their feet’ at the contact, Hancox was able to restore Bournemouth’s lead with a well-struck penalty from just outside the Exmouth 10m. Rees fielded the restart going left and when it came back right Davis had a chance to show his pace. Everett-Bolter latched onto a Davies Chip supported by MacDonald and the lock was stopped just short of the line. As the ball bobbled free Hancox was unable to regather with the line at his mercy and Exmouth had a line-out on their 5m. ‘Not straight’ saw Bournemouth awarded a scrum. Despite Davis making up for the absence of Sharp at blindside, Exmouth won ‘against the head’ and went right where Bournemouth were penalized. From a line-out on their 22m, Exmouth went left but Bournemouth turned the ball over and Davies had a little ‘dart’. A Hardcastle dummy saw no progress and the referee came back to the original penalty. Bournemouth ran it going left and Chislett almost made it through but openside Matt Ryan was ‘yellow carded’ for his efforts in trying to stop the threat. Again the referee came back to an original penalty and, keeping up the pressure, Hardcastle ‘ran it’ going left but Exmouth turned the ball over to go right. They were penalized again and Davies found touch to his left on the Exmouth 5m. Secured at the back, good passing saw Chislett through to score. From his ‘wrong side, the left-footed Hancox judged the wind perfectly and he must have been mightily gratified, as all us Bournemouth supporters were, to see the ball curl in as the wind took hold and sail between the posts for refeee Davies to blow his whistle to end the half.
Was ten points enough in the face of this still very strong wind? Arguably, Bournemouth won the game with an exemplary example of playing tight, controlled rugby they denied Exmouth a sniff of the ball for long dispiriting periods. Initially they had to work very hard just to get the restart back to their own 10m. A Davis half break followed by good ball retention saw them cross the half-way line. Exmouth nonetheless resisted strongly driving them back but a great break right by Hancox supported by Everett-Bolter took play deep into the Exmouth half where they managed to turn the ball over. They were then awarded a penalty for a high tackle and the referee talked to captain Rees and the newly restored Sharp. He might have been fortunate not to receive a second yellow card. Whelan found touch to hisleft inside the Bournemouth 10m but Bennett did exceptionally well to ‘steal’ the throw-in giving valuable possession back to Bournemouth. Going left the centre-pairing of Chislett and Gleadowe combined to take the ball into the Exmouth half. They were offside at the contact and Davies pushed them even further back, finding touch to his left just ten or metres short of the Exmouth try line. The Bournemouth forwards drove for the line but Exmouth turned the ball over but a knock on saw Bournemouth have the ‘put in’ at a scrum inside the Exmouth 22m. Despite their scrum struggling in the face of the Exmouth push they managed to retain the ball but going right they lose the ball. However referee Davies came back for a high tackle and had a chat with captain Jack Fahy. Davies found touch to his left but Exmouth countered the Bournemouth drive and were awarded a scrum. After a couple of resets, No 8 Sam Richardson broke off the back enabling Exmouth to kick and find the sanctuary of the touch on their 22m. Securing the ball, Bournemouth released the ball right. A Davies chip saw the fly-half secure the ball with a brave dive. Pop up to the supporting Gleadowe saw the centre, under pressure, flick the ball inside to Bennett and the flanker ran in unopposed to round off a thrilling move by scoring under the psts. Despite the difficult wind, Hancox had no difficulty in kicking five out of five and Bournemouth lead 27-10 giving themselves a more comfortable margin and of course the prospect of try-scoring bonus point after just a quarter-of-an-hour into the second period. With Bournemouth maintaining the pressure, a wonderful break by Hardcastle was cut down just short of the line. The Bournemouth support couldn’t get the ball over the line and were penalized for their efforts enabling Exmouth to clear left for a line-out on the half-way. Bennett again ‘steals’ the throw-in and Bournemouth were back on the offensive with a wonderful break by Chislett supported by Manning. As with Hardcastle’s effort, the hooker was brought down short of the line and winded himself badly when he fell on the ball, knocking the ball on in the process and a another fine chance went begging. From a 5m scrum, Exmouth used the wind to kick long up field to their right for a Bournemouth line-out on the half-way line. In trying to stop the Bournemouth drive off the leine-out, Fahy was ‘yellow carded’ and Davies found touch to his left inside the Exmouth 22m. Exmouth retrieved the situation by ‘nicking’ the throw-in and cleared right. Fronm the line-out on the Exmouth 22m, Bournemouth again drove at first before releasing right and a deft pass back inside by Chislett almost saw Bournemouth through but only had a scrum on the 5m line to show for their efforts. Chislett again threatening and was almost ’in’ but was penalized for ‘holding on’ and again Exmouth were able to lift the siege with a long kick down field with the ball landing up in the Bournemouth ‘dead ball’ area where it was ‘touched down’ for a 22m drop out. Bennett recovered the drop out and Bournemouth attacked down the right through Hancox supported by MacDonald. Exmouth managed to force them into touch for a line-out but again Bournemouth managed to steal it and went left. ‘Crossing’ rather spoilt a promising attacking move and Bournemouth, instead’ found themselves contesting a line-out outside their own 10m. When Bournemouth stopped the forwards’ drive, Exmouth went first right and when they came back left they scored wide out. Whelan, with another well-judged kick in this difficult wind landed his first goal fo the afternoon., Bournemouth’s lead had been cut to 27-17 with perhaps a quarter-of-an-hour to go. From the restart, Exmouth found it hard to make any progress in the face of the Bournemouth defence and were in fact penalized with a third Exmouth player, this time prop George Savage, shown a yellow card. Davies found touch inside the Exmouth 22m and the forwards played ‘keep ball’ as they probed the Exmouth defence down the ‘short side’. Exmouth managed to turn the ball over but a knock on gave Bournemouth the put in at a scrum. That was very untidy under the Exmouth pressure and a Bournemouth knock on gave the initiative back to Exmouth. Although Bournemouth drove the scrum back, Exmouth did well to retain possession and then Bournemouth were penalized for not ‘rolling away’ after the tackle. Exmouth found touch to their right on the Bournemouth 10m. Bournemouth secured the ball but, Hancox now at scrum-half in place of Hardcastle, could not hold on but Bournemouth were given a scrum any way. Bennett broke off the back going right. The ball came back left but Exmouth knocked the ball on in the contact for a Bournemouth scrum on their own 10m. Going right, a Davies chip was caught by the wind and Exmouth were able to snatch the ball instead. Recovering the ball Bournemouth again pressed, testing the Exmouth defence but they were up to the task forcing the attackers into touch for Davies to blow for ‘no side’.
Inflicting the first home defeat of the season on Exmouth and denying them any sort of bonus point made up for the slightly disappointing feeling of not securing a try-bonus point of our own, especially in the light of that second half performance into that wind. It was our first win at Exmouth since September 2011 and our biggest at The Imperial Ground. Scott Chislett, Sam Hardcastle, Alan Manning and Frazer Wilford will remember that. Tempus fugit. Back to the present, we remain sixth but just three points separate the four teams between third and sixth. We need those bonus points. Still we had a jolly good time celebrating Hannah’s birthday on the way home. We play Lydney at home next Saturday, KO 3pm. Another one for your diary. We play Winchester in the semi-final of the Hampshire Cup at Chapel Gate on Saturday 18 November, KO 2.30pm. The last time we played Winchester was in March 2012. Included in our team that day were Backs Coach Jon Sanchez and players still playing Matt Coxon, Mark Awdas, Damian Carroll and Kevin Dubach.