12:00PM, Thursday 26 September 2019
Maidenhead boss David Mobbs-Smith insisted his team will ‘make the necessary adjustments’ to tip future games in their favour after sufffering a nail-biting 30-32 loss to Exmouth on Saturday.
The Berkshire side made the long trek down to the South West at the weekend to face a confident Exmouth team that went into the tie off the back of a 76-24 victory at Launceston.
Maidenhead had plenty to play for themselves, hoping to maintain an unbeaten start to the season spurred on by a recent comeback against Exeter University which ended 45-43.
Both sides were looking to pick up where they left off and push for a win knowing a victory could put them into the top spot in the South West Premier table.
Maidenhead kicked off the game with the breeze on their backs, Will Runciman able to slot a penalty away on the sixth minute.
Exmouth’s George Meadows was able to tie the score 13 minutes later as both sides looked to assert themselves in the match. After a period of ding-dong rugby, with Cockles Dan Sanders replacing Nick Headley to an injury, Runciman furthered Maidenhead’s lead with a penalty just before the half hour mark. Strong tries from Scott Prince and Joe Parkin gifted Maidenhead a considerable 18-3 advantage approaching the end of the first half.
Under a late surge of pressure, a penalty try right on the stroke of half-time gave Exmouth a lifeline and a route back into the game, which Mobbs-Smith said was invaluable for the home side’s fightback.
“We were leading 18-3 and feeling very positive,” he said.
“They then got a penalty try just before half-time to make it 18-10 and so the lead – a really good lead – we built up was reduced.
“It just gave them real hope.
“It changed the game as the score would’ve been a little bit more inspiring for them to chase down.
“It was great timing for them.”
Exmouth came into the second half on the attack, looking to reduce the deficit further between the two teams with the wind now well in their favour.
Meads reduced the score to 13-18 with a well taken penalty but the gap was shortly returned following the restart. Maidenhead skipper Myke Parrott capitalised on an Exmouth error and scored a rare try to put his side back into a five point lead.
Some clever attacking play and a series of quick penalty tries gave momentum to the Cockles.
A yellow card to prop Sam Rawsthorne reduced Maidenhead to 14 men and the home side were able to take the lead for the first time in the game following a Dan Armstrong try.
Power from the Cockles’ forwards drew another penalty try, stretching the lead to 32-23.
With a couple of minutes remaining, there was still time for Maidenhead’s number eight Dave Cole to barrell over a try, with the extras added by Runciman to put the score at 32-30.
Reflecting on the final scoreline, Mobbs-Smith admitted: “They clawed their way back into the game well and performed in the second half like we did in the first.
“The score pretty much reflected the game as we were both able to hurt each other in our own style.
“They played quite tight at times, carried hard, kicked and ran, and it was difficult to stop them.
“They were very effective at it.
“We managed to get four tries on the road, but it was a tight game no doubt about it.
“We’re a good pack and a good team.
“We will hopefully make some good adjustments that will tip future games our way.”
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