A hard-fought win
The home team dominated the first 40 minutes that ended with their 15 – 0 lead and Barnes having had to defend for most of that half. The visitors got a converted try at the start of the second half and later outscored the opposition without completely getting the upper hand and were still 3 points behind with one minute of normal time left. An Exmouth error then gave Barnes’ goal-kicker the chance to draw level. The Seasiders had slightly the better of the first 10 minutes of extra time but there was no further score until the 19th minute when an error was pounced upon that secured the win.
Exmouth kicked off high and the visitors returned the ball to touch at their 10 metre line. From their line-out Exmouth's pack kept the ball and advanced 3 metres to get a penalty. Fly-half Meadows kicked for the points but missed. Soon after the 22 drop-out Exmouth got another penalty for a tackler not releasing the tackled player back at the same distance but near centre field. This at 3 minutes and this time Meadows was successful.
The Seasiders returned the restart well to touch just outside the opposition 22. An error at the line-out gave Exmouth a scrum there, after which the forwards kept the ball close and advanced 7 metres before good counter-rucking got the defence the second put-in. The visitors got a free-kick at that and ran the ball with the back row making good yards before the fly-half kicked ahead and an Exmouth error gave the opposition another scrum just outside the home team's 22. The Riversiders went wide from that and got to 6 metres out near the corner before an isolated ball carrier was turned over. Kicks were exchanged before an Exmouth error gave the visitors a scrum at halfway. After this there were 5 kicks for territory before Exmouth kept the ball in hand and advanced well with 11 phases until the defence forced an error to get possession then got a penalty 28 metres from the Seasiders’ line. The kick didn't find touch and Exmouth ran the ball again advancing by varying their options with 7 recycles until penalised 17 metres out. The visitors kicked for a line-out and from it soon went wide. An error then a turnover meant possession change hands twice before the visitors went wide again. They went blind not far from touch and were intercepted with wing Bright running more than half the length of the pitch for the first try at 17 minutes and Meadows added.
Exmouth cleared the restart to touch 6 metres inside their half. After the line-out the visitors were forced backwards then turned over. The Seasiders then let their backs have some ball; after 3 recycles they had a kick charged down but recovered and advanced well then recycled tight 7 times before the defence forced an error to get a scrum put-in 18 metres from their line. The Riversiders cleared to touch at their 10 metre line with their scrum under pressure this time. Exmouth's pack kept the ball at first then let the backs have it before recycling tight twice; after one wide recycle they then kicked to the line and the defence got back to save for a 22 drop-out. This was long and Exmouth kicked to touch at halfway. After the line-out the visitors released to their three-quarters then were forced backwards to their put-in at their 10 metre line. Their pack kept the ball in and made a few metres to get a penalty that they kicked to touch at their opponents' 10 metre line. The ball was released to centre then recycled twice to the backs before a kick to touch got them only 4 metres to an opposition line-out. After advancing tight the Seasiders kicked diagonally and their player nearly got the ball but knocked on 14 metres into the other half. The visitors kept the ball close for a couple of phases before kicking ahead high. Exmouth ran the ball and advanced with a couple of close phases before chipping over the defence. This attack ended with a penalty for the visitors 5 metres from their own line that was kicked for a line-out just inside their 22. From this they launched a high kick to touch that gave the home team a line-out 17 metres into their opponents' half. From this their pack drove well and into the 22 where the drive went down then they recycled close twice to get a scrum 17 metres out. After it they released to centre then recycled 3 times before a very good kick by Meadows diagonally towards the corner was touched down by centre Wathes wide out at 36 minutes for a 15 point lead. The conversion was wide.
Exmouth cleared the restart to touch at halfway. The line-out was thrown not-straight then from an under-pressure scrum the Seasiders got the ball away and broke through strongly and recycled wide again before being turned over then penalised 12 metres out just before the halftime whistle. The first half did not last 40 minute, except by including some stoppage time. Exmouth had 80% territory and 70% possession but the visitors' defence had been very good.
The Seasiders returned the second half restart with an up-and-under that they nearly got but knocked on. Advantage was played and the visitors advanced recycling twice to get a scrum 29 metres from the opposition line. Before the scrum there was a serious injury to a Barnes' player. From the scrum the Riversiders released to their outside centre who made yards before releasing their right wing who touched down before 2 minutes (not counting the injury time). The fullback converted.
Exmouth regained their high restart and recycled close 3 times then the opposition held up a ball carrier to get a scrum 19 metres from their line. From that they soon kicked long ahead; Exmouth started to run the ball but a foot in touch gave the Riversiders a line-out 5 metres outside of the home team's 22. From it they quickly went wide then recycled wide again; after one more recycle, this time close, an error gave Exmouth a scrum just outside their 22. Their forwards kept the ball in to get a penalty; the kick took them to nearly halfway. From the line-out they set to drive and after this broke up they were penalised for an offside, only just into the other half. This kick took the visitors to 28 metres out then after their line-out they only just got the ball away and were forced backwards but got a penalty after 2 close recycles. This was 12 metres into the opposition half and they tried for the 3 points but missed. Two more kicks followed the 22 drop-out resulting in a line-out for the visitors 3 metres into their half. Again they struggled to get the ball away then kicked ahead; Exmouth kicked out on the full giving their opponents a line-out at halfway. From that they soon kicked high; the Seasiders chipped over the opposition line then their error gave the visitors another scrum near halfway. From that they kicked laterally for their winger to get but an Exmouth player got the ball only to straight away lose it. From the next scrum at their 10 metre line, the visitors’ replacement scrumhalf made a half-break then the ball was got wide but only to an opposition scrum just inside Exmouth's half. Barnes got the ball at that scrum and sent it wide. Their full back chipped through to touch just outside the 22. Exmouth's pack drove well from the line-out then their fly-half kicked. The visitors returned with an up-and-under then charged down an opposition kick. Their left wing ran the ball to the line after 17 minutes and the fullback added with a 45o angle kick.
The visitors dealt with the restart then kicked ahead well; Exmouth ran the ball into touch 5 metres inside their half. The Riversiders' pack kept the ball in from the line-out and advanced well before releasing a bit then recycling 4 times before chipping through. An error by the Seasiders gave the opposition a scrum 30 metres out. After the scrum Exmouth gave away a penalty and the kick took the visitors to another line-out 7 metres out. The pack kept the ball to get another line-out; another two penalties followed with a yellow card going with the second. From the next line-out the pack drove over with their replacement flanker on the ball at 26 minutes. The conversion missed.
The visitors secured the high restart and soon returned an up-and-under; Exmouth dealt with this and first went wide then recycled twice before being turned over. Barnes soon kicked diagonally to touch to 12 metres from their opponents' line. From the line-out Exmouth kicked then the Ref. went back to award them a penalty that they kicked to touch 27 metres out. From the line-out they advanced keeping the ball in then opened up a bit and recycled 3 times then went wide with the fullback making very good yards until being forced into touch 6 metres into the other half. After their line-out the Riversiders' pack first kept the ball in then it was kicked out on the full. From the next line-out 11 metres into the opposition half the Seasiders set up a maul that was soon held. They then recycled mostly close with 6 phases but unable to advance and then got a penalty that they kicked to touch just inside the opposition 22. At this line-out they threw to the front and drove to the line and were straight away awarded a penalty try at 34 minutes. This was significantly different from the oppositions' try 8 minutes previously where the visitors had 3 penalties within seconds of each other close to the line and had not been judged worthy of a penalty try. Meadows added.
Exmouth secured the restart and kept the ball tight recycling 6 times before being penalised at their 10 metre line. The kick took the visitors to a line-out 17 metres out. The Riversiders then kept the ball tight before being penalised 14 metres out. The next kick took Exmouth to their 10 metre line where they threw the line-out not-straight. The visitors' pack kept the ball in and got a penalty at the same place in the last minute of normal time and their goal-kicker, with a 20o angle from the left hand side, put the ball through the posts. The ball flew low and some said he had miss-hit it, but it meant extra time would have to be played. Both teams had scored 3 Tries, 2 conversions and 1 penalty.
The Riversiders secured the long restart and soon returned an up-and-under that the receiver dropped. The visitors were penalised at their put-in and Exmouth tried for the 3 points from just inside the opposition half and missed. They ran back the long 22 drop-out and launched an up-and-under then gave away a penalty when their opponents dealt with that. The visitors kicked to touch 10 metres into the other half before an error at the line-out gave the Seasiders a put-in there. After the scrum kicks were exchanged to the home team's disadvantage resulting in their line-out just outside their 22. The pack kept the ball but were soon penalised and Barnes kicked for a line-out 10 metres out. A driving maul was attempted that resulted in a penalty for the defence. A very good kick took Exmouth to 4 metres into the opposition half. From this line-out they varied their plays going wide earlier then close then wider again with 3 recycles before passing forward while not having advanced. The visitors' replacement scrumhalf broke near the scrum but the opposition got a penalty at the breakdown. Another excellent kick took them from their half to a line-out 8 metres from the Riversiders' line. Their pack was held at the line-out and then were penalised before halftime of extra time. Exmouth seemed to have just had the better of that 10 minutes.
Two kicks followed the restart, the second one to touch just inside Exmouth's 22. After the line-out the Seasiders soon cleared to touch 15 metres inside their half. From their line-out Barnes set up a very good driving maul that eventually broke up giving the defence a scrum 18 metres out. From that the ball was cleared to touch 28 metres out. The line-out was not straight and from the scrum Exmouth went wide but were very quickly turned over. The visitors kicked to touch 12 metres out then an error gave them another line-out 14 metres out. For a long delay throwing in, the opposition got a free-kick and the home team's pack ran the ball and it was kicked high after being recycled. Barnes got a penalty after just dealing with the kick and they kicked for a line-out 17 metres into the opposition half then had that stolen. The Seasiders' pack kept the ball in at first then released and a replacement three-quarter broke away attacking for the first time in this last part of the game. After one recycle the defence forced an error to get a put-in 17 metres inside their half. From the scrum they kicked ahead deep into the other half. Exmouth kept the ball in hand and went wide then recycled close 4 times without advancing before the opposition forced an error not far outside of 22: a dropped ball was pounced on by the visitors' inside centre and was almost immediately in the hands of their no. 8 and flipped outside to their right wing who sped along the touchline to the corner in the last seconds of the game. The conversion was wide.
The handling of the engagement at the set scrums throughout the game was unlike anything seen in a game in which Barnes have taken part since the last time the laws were changed.
100% overcast, some wind but not much, the pitch hard; there was trivial drizzle for most of the game.