A necessary win
but only just
The visitors arrived rather late, meaning that they had less time to prepare. Some of their squad, travelling independently, did not arrive before kick-off. Exmouth didn't get going until the 2nd quarter and scored 17 points in the last 25 minutes. The home team had a lead of 19 - 0 early in the second quarter and led 33 - 11 with half an hour to go. With 5 minutes left to play Barnes held out the visitors' penultimate attack that got to within 5 metres. Fifteen of the visitors’ points came from pack dominance, 10 from excellent retention and recycling. Barnes got 7 points from a long-range interception; their other 4 tries came from mixed attacking play with one score by a forward. Another interception stopped a close attack by the visitors.
The home team kicked off to the 22 and the visitors cleared to touch well 4 metres into the other half. From the line-out the ball was released to centre where Exmouth won a turnover. They kicked into the opposition 22; Barnes kicked back into the other half. The visitors ran wide then chipped ahead. Barnes dealt with this and from the next breakdown their scrumhalf Franklin saw a gap at the blind side and went through it. Two passes sent fullback O'Toole to the line some distance from the posts at 2 minutes. His conversion was wide. The rest of the game was a draw.
Barnes secured the high restart then replied with an up-and-under. Exmouth dealt with this and soon chipped to touch 14 metres into the other half. Another up-and-under followed the line-out; Exmouth ran a bit then kicked to touch 12 metres into the other half. Barnes intended to keep the ball in from their line-out but an error gave the visitors the first scrum put-in at the same place. At first they kept the ball in and advanced a little then released while keeping the ball close before the opposition forced an error to gain possession. Two kicks followed leading to another Barnes' line-out 4 metres inside their half. From the line-out Barnes went wide then they kicked to touch just inside their opponents' 22. This line-out was thrown not-straight; Barnes chose another and made ground from it before the Ref. got in the way then gave the home team a put-in at the 22. Under pressure they got the ball out and Franklin had another go. The ball was recycled close three times with advances to 1 metre out where the visitors lost a man for 10 minutes. The ball was put into touch for a 5 metre line-out. The ball was kept in at the line-out then when their drive went down they recycled twice to get over where they were judged held-up. From the 5 metre scrum they tried blind then recycled wide; after another recycle a chip through was charged down and this led to another yellow card for Exmouth. Another scrum was chosen and after it O'Toole came into the line then the ball was recycled to lock Crane whose recent efforts were rewarded this time, at 14 minutes. O'Toole added.
Three kicks followed the restart before the visitors kept the ball and got a penalty at halfway. They kicked for a line-out 25 metres out. From that they started a drive that soon went down; they recycled to centre and broke through before dropping the ball. Barnes kicked to touch at halfway. After the line-out Exmouth soon went wide then kicked to touch 16 metres into the opposition half. They were penalised soon after the line-out and Barnes kicked for another line-out 16 metres into the other half. From this one they released to centre then recycled wider and broke through before passing forward 7 metres out near touch. From their scrum Exmouth launched an up-and-under. Barnes dealt with this and recycled twice close then went much wider before another recycle and a pass sent centre Butler over at the posts at 22 minutes. O'Toole added.
Again 3 kicks followed the restart, the last for an Exmouth line-out near halfway. From that the visitors put together their first comprehensive set of phases, 10 in all, before they were intercepted. Barnes kicked for territory, dealt with an up-and-under then were awarded a penalty 13 metres inside their half. They kicked for a line-out 24 metres ahead. After it they made a few metres with 5 phases before being penalised for not releasing. The visitors' touch kick gained them 26 metres and the line-out resulted in their scrum near the same place. Again Exmouth set about creating a good set of phases, this time 15, with wing Conway finishing right in a corner at 29 minutes. The conversion was wide.
The visitors cleared the restart to touch 7 metres into the other half. Barnes' pack kept the ball at the line-out but were quickly turned over. Exmouth now tried wider ball with 5 phases before chipping through; Barnes ran the ball laterally before being penalised at their 22 near centre field and fly-half Meadows kicked the points at 32 minutes.
Three kicks followed the restart before a Barnes' line-out 11 metres inside their half. From that the ball was kept in but was kept close to get a penalty after a couple of recycles. The kicks took them to 16 metres into the other half and another line-out. This time they quickly went wide to put wing Hudson over out wide and he came in to the posts at 36 minutes. O'Toole added
The restart kick went directly into touch giving Barnes a put-in back at halfway. Their pack was pushed off the ball; Exmouth's recycling and retention through 4 phases got them a penalty at their opponents' 10 metre line and Meadows kicked the points to reduce the deficit to 15 before the halftime whistle.
Barnes kicked back the second half restart; the visitors kept the ball for 3 phases before kicking to the opposition 22. The ball was cleared to touch 9 metres inside the half. From the line-out Exmouth kept the ball close recycling 5 times before losing possession. Barnes got the ball and soon kicked for territory. Two more kicks followed then the visitors kept ball in hand with 6 phases, mostly wider, to get a penalty a few metres into the other half. They ran this with 8 more phases until penalised 18 metres out. Barnes kicked for a line-out near halfway. Soon after that the kicked into the 22; this was marked and cleared to touch back near halfway. Barnes went wider from this line-out and recycled close twice then twice more wide before kicking out on the full 14 metres into the visitors' half. The line-out was thrown not-straight; Barnes chose another. After 3 recycles the ball was dropped giving Exmouth a scrum at their 10 metre line. From that they released to centre then broke through to their opponents' 22 after recycling once. There they recycled wide and were intercepted by no. 8 Crossland who ran a lot more than half the pitch before passing to Hudson who went on to the posts at 10 minutes. O'Toole added.
Barnes kicked back the restart; Exmouth kept the ball for 5 phases mostly wide for replacement wing Downie to break through in midfield to the 22. After one more close recycle they got a penalty at the 22 and kicked for a line-out 8 metres out. An error setting up a driving maul gave Barnes a penalty that was cleared to 7 metres from halfway. The visitors came away from the line-out with tapped ball and put together an excellent set of 13 phases to get a penalty 17 metres out. They chose a scrum and from it they recycled twice close then went wide for Downie to go over at the corner at 16 minutes. The conversion missed.
Five kicks followed the restart before a penalty to Barnes 11 metres inside their half. The kick gained them 17 metres; the line-out resulted in a scrum for Exmouth. They advanced strongly recycling 4 times mostly wide then were intercepted but this was from offside and they gained a man advantage for 10 minutes. The penalty from 20 metres into the half was kicked for a line-out 7 metres out. From that the pack drove to the line with hooker Gibbings on the ball at 21 minutes. The conversion was wide.
Exmouth cleared the restart to touch 4 metres from halfway. After the line-out possession changed hands quickly from errors then the visitors hung on to the ball for 4 phases before Barnes held up a ball carrier to get a scrum put-in near halfway. After it they were soon dispossessed and Exmouth kicked for territory. Wing Carlisle was set free and had a good run; the ball was then recycled twice before the defence forced an error to get a put-in outside their 22. From that Exmouth advanced strongly with 6 phases to a scrum for Barnes 11 metres inside their half. They were pushed off their ball and the visitors then recycled 8 times before putting Downie through a hole to the posts at 72 minutes. Fullback Cadywould converted.
A very good kick returned the restart to touch 16 metres into the other half. Barnes were penalised trying to set up a drive after the line-out. The kick took Exmouth to 11 metres out then from their line-out they recycled close 4 times getting close to the line before replacement no. 8 Chambers intercepted and made yards. The visitors were then penalised 17 metres out; the kick took Barnes to their 10 metre line. Exmouth dealt with the up-and-under after the line-out and put together an excellent sequence of 14 mostly close phases that Barnes defended well. At the end of that the visitors put through a good chip to line that was touched down for a 22 drop-out. Exmouth ran back the drop-out and put together 8 mostly wider phases until Barnes' defence forced an error at the whistle.
Dry, mild, overcast, almost no wind; the pitch good.