Cockles coach on the defeat at Hornets

PUBLISHED: 14:17 12 January 2018

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Archant

Exmouth head coach Jon Hill was candid in his assessment of the Cockles’ defeat at bottom of the table Hornets.

Hill said: “We are all bitterly disappointed with our display and we were lucky to take a point from the game.

“We struggled to gain the ascendency at the set piece and didn’t gain any momentum in initial phases as a result.

“Our breakdown skills were poor and we made far too many errors ,coughing up possession at vital moments.

“Playing with 13 men for a crucial period in the second half didn’t help matters either!

“All in all, it has to be a case of a poor day at the office!”

Hill was clear in his praise for the winners. He said: “Fair play to Hornets, who were clearly up for the game and caused us issues.

“Steve Pape carried well, led the team well, and caused issues for us at maul time, where he found himself in a position to stop our maul using a wide array of borderline, but effective, tactics.

“We were naive tactically and mentally and without doubt underestimated our opponents and paid the price for our complacency.

“It would have been a crime had we won the game at the end, and some of our decision making from penalties made it very difficult for us to get into decent field position to close out the game.

“Classic things like choosing to tap-and-go twice from 50 and 35 metres out, when a lineout 10 metres from their line would have been far more effective.

“There’s no doubt that this result has to be a big wake-up call indeed, and well done to Hornets, who showed a work ethic in abundance and one that we should aspire to achieve for the rest of the season.”

In terms of the Cockles’ Man of the Match, Hill was very clear as to which of the Exmouth players earned that particular tag, something he explained saying: “The Man of the Match honour went to Richard Bright, who was a constant threat and a try scorer.”

The bonus point for the 1st XV does mean that they remain sixth in the South West Premier table and with three big games looming there remains much to play for.

Exmouth 2nd XV were also in action on the first Saturday of the year and they banked two bonus points in a 36-35 defeat away at Clifton. It was so nearly a Cockles win, for fly-half Richard Cadywould hit the post with a touch line conversion with the last play of the game that would have won it.

The bonus points gained see the 2nd XV move up to fifth in the South West Pilot league.

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