Downie delights as Cockles make winning start to new SW Premier League season

PUBLISHED: 13:15 04 September 2018 | UPDATED: 13:15 04 September 2018

Jack Downie, the Exmouth Man of the Match from the game against Cleve in the opening game of a new league season. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Jack Downie, the Exmouth Man of the Match from the game against Cleve in the opening game of a new league season. Picture CONTRIBUTED

Archant

Exmouth made a superb start to both a new South West Premier League season and the tenure of new head coach Steve Perry, beating Cleve 38-22 before a good turnout of support at their Imperial ground home.

Sam Fulthorpe made an impressive first start in the Exmouth 1st Xv.Sam Fulthorpe made an impressive first start in the Exmouth 1st Xv.

It was Cleve who struck first with a penalty inside the first minute, but the Cockles were not behind for long as, in the seventh minute, Jack Downie cut through the visiting defence to score and Harry Ottaway slotted the first of his four conversions in the game.

In what was an end-to-end opening, Cleve struck next with a converted try to lead 10-7, but in the closing stages of the first half a young Cockles side stepped up a gear and the increased work rate combined with pace and power saw them score three further tries through Dave Bargent, Harry Ottaway and birthday boy Mark Wathes.

Ottaway slotted two conversions and the Cockles trooped off with a 26-10 lead at the interval.

Cleve began the second half on the front foot and two tries, one of them converted, closed the home lead to one of just four points at 26-22.

Just past the hour mark Exmouth moved further ahead courtesy of a Nick Halse try before, in the final quarter, the Cockles displayed some tenacious defence coupled with slick, fast hands, attacking play and a second Jack Downie try, followed by a Harry Ottaway conversion, completed the scoring.

It was the impressive Downie who landed the Cockles Man of the Match award while Sam Fulthorpe, playing at scrum-half and making his senior debut having been a regular in last season’s colts team, was also impressive.

On Saturday (September 8), the Cockles play their first away game of the new league term when they visit Drybrook in Gloucestershire.

Exmouth 2nd XV also impressed as they powered their way to a 60-21 victory over Paignton 2nd XV.

Exmouth Colts travelled to Exeter Saracens for a friendly, their first outing of the new term. They had a young side in action and went down 27-7, but there were plenty of positives for the coaching staff to take from the game.

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