Sat 3 Feb 2018, 14:30
Season 2017/2018 • 31st League Season
South West Premier • Level 5
Bournemouth (2nd) v Exmouth (6th)
Saturday, 3 February 2018, KO 2.30pm at Chapel Gate
Match Sponsored by Team Jobs
Result: Bournemouth 28/3t2c3p v 7/tc Exmouth
HT: 10/tcp v 7/tc
The Cockles prove hard to prise from their grip on the game
Bournemouth: Alex Sutherland, Harry Davis, Danny Kirkpatrick, Scott Chislett, Alex Everett-Bolter, Grant Hancox/2c3p, Sam Hardcastle, Tom Napier/t, Alan Manning/t, Luca Firetto, Adam MacDonald, Jack Hennings, Richard Sharp, Alexander Bennett, Joe Rees/C. Substitutes: Pat Fraser/t, Dan Stewart, Mike Treloar. Touch Judge: Nick Hill. DoR: Will Croker. Coach: Jon Sanchez. Medical Team: Andy Curtis. Man of the Match: Tom Napier. Records: Scott Chislett extends his own league record of starts as inside centre to 180. Grant Hancox extends his own league record to 105 penalty goals. Sam Hardcastle extends his own league records to 313 starts (300 as scrum-half). Joe Rees extends his own league record to 80 starts as No 8. Milestones: Grant Hancox passes 700 (708) points, only the third person to do so, Dan Pollard and inevitably Sam Hardcastle being the others. Alex Sutherland plays for the 75th time.
Referee: Andy Green. Referee Advise: Keith Latham.
Bournemouth made three changes to the team that faced Dings Crusaders last week. Danny Kirkpatrick replaced the unavailable Freddie Gleadowe at outside centre while Harry Davis came off the bench, swapping places with right wing Dan Stewart. On the bench, Joe Spiller was originally selected to replace Pat Fraser who was starting with the twos only to be injured in the warm up and Pat to be restored.
The referee declared the 1st XV pitch to be unfit and the game was moved to the 3rd pitch. Overhead it was overcast, the persistent rain of the morning having stopped. What little wind there was com from a north-easterly direction when it did bother to disturb the touch flags.
Bournemouth (Alex Sutherland) kicked off from left to right as viewed from the southern touch line, ie towards the 1st team pitch and to their left.
Bournemouth had an early indication of the threat they faced when blindside flanker James Harris burst out from a line-out and made 20/30 metres in very rapid time before being hauled down by a brave Davis tackle and Bennett was glad to kick the ball off the park before anymore damage could happen. Exmouth went right from the line-out but a forward pass conceded a scrum to Bournemouth on their own 10m. Rees linked with Hardcastle going right but it was only the scrum-half’s clever tip on that kept the movement going in the face of a very aggressive Exmouth defence. Sutherland, in the line, made progress, but this obviously aggrived someone and a fight broke and the two captains were up in front of the beak to be suitably admonished. The upshot was a Bournemouth scrum where Exmouth were promptly penalized. Rees took the penalty quickly and with his fellow forwards in support gave the opportunity for Manning to burst through and score right of the posts and Hancox added another two points in his quest to pass 700 points for Bournemouth to lead 7-nil after less than ten minutes. Exmouth pressed after the restart with No 8 Ben Howley making a dent but Bournemouth were awarded a scrum and when they went right through Davis a high tackle on the winger enabled to
Hancox to relieve the siege by finding touch to his right inside the Exmouth 22m. That advantage was lost when Exmouth nicked the ball at the back of the line-out and they cleared left to the halfway line.. Bournemouth drove off the line-out and Exmouth were penalized for handling on the ground and Hancox pressed them even farther back by finding touch to his right again inside the Exmouth 22m. Again the line-out didn’t work and Exmouth had a scrum. Hawley again threatened and when he released right Exmouth found touch to their right. Hennings made a half break off the line-out and Exmouth were penalized on the halfway line trying to stop him. Hancox again found touch on his right. This time Bournemouth managed to secure their own ball but Bennett was brought down by a high tackle and Howley was shown a yellow card. Hancox, from the 22m, exacted the required toll and at the same recording his 700th point for Bournemouth to lead 10-nil a quarter of the way through the match. Exmouth chased down the restart very rapidly and Bournemouth found themselves under pressure. Hardcastle was penalized at the scrum and Exmouth had an attacking line-out on their left just 10 metres out. They rather threw that advantage away but a ‘not straight’ but Bournemouth gave it straight back when Bournemouth were penalized when Rees broke off the back of the scrum. Exmouth opted for a scrum. Bournemouth were again penalized and referee Andy Green had a ‘chat’ with captain Rees and I’m sure issued all sorts of dire warnings to the big man. Exmouth again opted for a scrum but there was much rejoicing in the Bournemouth ranks when Exmouth knocked on at the base of the scrum. The upshot was an exchange of kicks saw Hardcastle chase down his own kick ahead into the Exmouth 22m where a less than mobile Exmouth forward was fielding the ball and after much excitement Exmouth were lucky to be able to touch the ball down rather than conceding a try. Hardcastle fielde the drop out and linked with Hennings but Exmouth managed to turn the ball over and cleared right for a Bournemouth throw in on their own 22m. Hancox went right but Bournemouth were penalized for ‘holding on’ and Sharp was ‘yellow carded’ for his part in the misdemeanour. As a result Bournemouth were defending a line-out on their left on their own 5m. The Bournemouth forwards countered the Exmouth drive but they managed to release the ball left. In midfield in the face of a determined Bouthe defence they knocked on and Bournemouth had a scrum. What’s more Rees, breaking right, put boot to ball in an exemplary manner and Exmouth were pressed back to their 10m line where they could do less damage. Mind you fly-half George Edwards thought otherwise and made a great beak back deep inside the Bournemouth half where Bournemouth managed to win a scrum. We countered in like fashion through Chislett supported by Hardcastle but the scrum-half lost the ball forward in the contact to end a promising move. Exmouth attacked first right then left off the scrum but were penalized. Bournemouth attacked left through Sutherland but Bournemouth were penalized at the breakdown and Hancox was ‘yellow carded’ for his part in the proceedings.Fly-half George Meadows found touch to his right and his forwards drove off the line-out. When their counterparts resisted, they released the ball left. Outside centre Sam Fellows made a dangerous break before being stopped but Exmouth kept the move going and captain Jack Fahy forced his way over left of the posts. Full back Harry Ottaway curved the ball for an excellent goal and The Cockles, who were hardly of this game anyway, were right back in it at 7-10 with less than five minutes left in the half. A strong Bournemouth attack from the restart was brought to a staggering halt by a knock on prompting Green to blow for half time.
Exmouth suffered a grievous blow right at the start of the second half when, unfortunately, lock and captain Fahy was ‘red carded’ for a spear tackle. His loss, undoubtedly, would make a huge difference to the outcome of this match. Sutherland failed to find touch with his penalty but Bournemouth ran back the Exmouth clearance kick through Hnnings and Kirpatrick. Nobody was able to latch onto the outside centre’s little grubber kick in behind the Exmouth defence and Exmouth had a drop out. Bournemouth worked the ball patiently back to the Exmouth 22m through excellent ball retention and were rewarded with a penalty when Exmouth were penalized in trying to defend. From the 22m, Hancox kicked his third goal of the game and Bournemouth lead 13-7 ten minutes into the half. Exmouth eagerly chased down the restart and almost regathered it but Bournemouth were awarded a scrum outside their 22m. Bournemouth broke left and Chislett almost opened up the defence with a deft offload back inside but a knock-on was the disappointing conclusion for an Exmouth scrum on their 22m. Despite being a man short, Exmouth kept Bournemouth under pressure in the set pieces, especially the line-out, and their was no obvious deficiencies in defence when they continued to knock the Bournemouth lads over. It was from a Bournemouth knock-on in a line-out when Hawley broke from a scrum to take play inside the Bournemouth 22m. From another scrum. Meadows made a half break but there was a knock-on in front of the posts. From the scrum, Hancox cleared right but Exmouth ran the ball back and were caught offside at the contact. Ottaway pressed them further back by finding touch to his right inside the Bournemouth 22m. Exmouth drove off the line-out but Bournemouth turned the ball over and Hardcastle was able to clear left. Manning managed to win the throw-in and broke out but the ball was lost in the contact for an Exmouth scrum. Meadows kicked right but Stewart, on for left wing Everett-Bolter, could not catch the ball and to his mortification saw the ball bounce off his chest for an Exmouth line-out. Exmouth broke dangerously going left and it was only a desperate Bournemouth defence that kept them out and even force the turn over for Hancox to clear right. Chislett got hurt and was replaced by Sutherland as Exmouth attacked off the lineout. They constantly probed the Bournemouth defence who were on full alert to keep them out. Hancox failed to find touch to his right when Exmouth were penalize and The Cockles pinged the ball back. This time Bournemouth worked the ball back into the Exmouth 22m from the line-out where they won a penalty. From right of the posts, Hancox kicked his fourth goal of the afternoon and Bournemouth were beginning to stretch away at 16-7 at last with ten minutes left. Bournemouth turned the screw straight from the restart when Hancox fed Stewart going left and the winger kicked the ball through to chase the ball down and force the Exmouth defender into touch for a Bournemouth line-out. Almost irresistibly, the Bournemouth forwards drove their counterparts back for Man of the Match Napier to score his second league try of the season. Hancox kicked the goal and Bournemouth were surely beyond Exmouth’s reach at 23-7with just over five minutes to go. Exmouth won the ball back at the restart but despite some good ball retention, Bournemouth forced the turn over and Davis broke out. Exmouth were penalized for Hancox to find touch to the right. Bournemouth drove off the line-out and when they went left, Exmouth were penalized and Hancox again found touch this time to his left. From a line-out on the Exmouth 5m, Bournemouth drove for the line and Fraser scored his second try for the club. Hancox pushed the ball past the nearside post to leave the score at 28-7 and Green blew for no side.
Tough match and Exmouth proved very hard to breakdown with Bournemouth only making it safe in the last ten minutes. We remain second but with Newton Abbot’s game being postponed, Maidenhead are now third just three points behind us with a game in hand. Their visit on 24 March should prove, shall we say, interesting. Not to be missed whatever.
We have a week off next week and the following week, 17 February, we are away to Lydney, KO 2.30pm.