Sat 3 Nov 2018, 14:30
A HORRIBLE injury to Bournemouth replacement Mike Haines with five minutes left overshadowed their ninth South West Premier win out of nine.
It was also the eighth time The Lions had secured a four-try scoring bonus this season - but it mattered little when a rugby player is badly injured.
Initial reports suggest it was his knee which was the affected area but the club await to hear news on his subsequent recovery.
The home side deployed the rolling maul early on and won a penalty after two minutes, but full-back Grant Hancox could not find his range.
He was not to miss for a second time three minutes later when he split the posts for an early 3-0 advantage.
The visitors drew level on 10 minutes when Exeter fly-half Harry Bazalgette converted an offside penalty from outside the 22.
That only brought the first try after 15 minutes when a great Bournemouth turnover originally saw inside centre Scott Chislett break the line.
He had scrum-half Sam Hardcastle in support in the Exeter 22 to go over, but Hancox failed to add to it - to lead 8-3.
The hosts were starting to take control and their second score arrived after half an hour.
Yet again it began in the scrum - a potent weapon this season - when they opted for the set-piece at a penalty five metres from the Exeter whitewash.
A huge shove resulted in number eight and captain Joe Rees given an armchair ride where he happily dotted down for number two.
Hancox again failed to find the target, but his men now led 13-3.
That was increased six minutes before the break when wing Mike Pope sliced through the defensive line at pace and passed out the tackle to supporting outside centre Freddie Gleadowe to score.
Hancox added to it to lead 20-3, and almost complete a perfect half of rugby - before there was more to come.
Exeter left wing Tommy Foot bounced off two tackles to go into score inside the Bournemouth 22 with two first-half minutes left.
Fly-half Harry Bazalgette landed the extras to trail 20-10 at half-time.
Rees was then sent to the sin bin for a breather after 55 minutes for hands on the floor - but it seemed to be mire of a ‘team penalty’ after the referee had spoken to the skipper a number of times before that following numerous previous infringements.
The Chapel Gate faithful were beginning to grow restless - awaiting the fourth score - and it finally arrived on 66 minutes to ease frustrations.
The ball squirted out of a ruck to fly-half Adam Davis - who had recently been promoted from the Seconds following good performances - and he sold a stunning dummy, before stepping inside defenders to score.
Hancox converted to mean his side won the sin-bin period 7-5 overall, before Haines’ horror injury arrived to halt proceedings for 20 minutes.
It would always be difficult to switch back on following such a lengthy delay, but Bournemouth seamlessly slipped back into the groove professionally.
In lengthy extended time, Bournemouth lock Jack Hennings took a quick-tap penalty metres out and barged over for number five and Hancox broke the 900-point mark for the club with two more to maintain their four-point lead at the summit.
BOURNEMOUTH: Grant Hancox; Michael Pope, Freddie Gleadowe, Scott Chislett, Adam Higgins; Adam Davis, Sam Hardcastle; Joe Tarrant, Alan Manning, Gianluca Firetto; Ben Roberts, Jack Hennings; Ben Russell, Hamish Renwick, Joe Rees (captain). Replacements: Michael Davies, Ali Bennett, Michael Haines.
EXETER UNIVERSITY: Luke Mehson; Matthew Atkins, Sam Laity, Kieran Kelly (captain), Tommy Foot; Harry Bazalgette, Aaron Bagwell; Will Cutbill, Rauf Birler, Dan Martin; Charlie Morgan, James Yates; Dylan Atkins, Ollie White, Matthew Bursey. Replacements: Ben Phillips, Matt Johnson, Pieter Di Chio.