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Second-half try blitz enables Exmouth to continue their pursuit of top two

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: February 18, 2013

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Exmouth kept the pressure on joint leaders Weston-super-Mare and London Irish in National Three South West with a 34-18 win at Barnstaple.

Barnstaple had the best of the first half to lead 13-8 at the break – Luke Berry converting a Tom Skelding try and two penalties.

The second half was a different story with Exmouth outscoring Barum four tries to one to secure maximum bonus points. With games in hand on the top two, Barnstaple playing chief Kevin Squire believes Exmouth can go all the way.

"We were terrific in the first half – I hope Exmouth would admit that – but in the second they came back at us like the champions elect I believe they are," said Squire.

"Tom Skelding had our forwards roused into action and Steve Perry was causing carnage in their back line.

"We were cutting them to pieces.

"In the second half we made way too many unforced errors against a side with too much power and experience for us.

"I take consolation from the fact we played well for 40 minutes against a mature side at the top of their game.

"The average age of our side is a lot lower than Exmouth's and our players will have many days like they had in the future."

Exmouth coach Jon Hill admitted he was happy not to be further behind at half time, but added the second half could have been a different game.

"Scrums and line-outs were even, but we outplayed them in broken play and our support was the clear difference between the sides," said Hill.

"We took our chances well, whereas I don't remember them getting into our 22 until the last minute, when they scored a try.

"It was a battle at times, but it was a bonus point win in a Devon derby and you can't ask for any more."

Matt Garner, Garry Hooper, Dave Kimberley, Tom Kill and Bob Armstrong scored tries for Exmouth. Andrew Powell kicked the goals.

Tom McLean and Darren Pitts scored two tries each as Brixham beat Chippenham 69-28. It was quite a turn around from the defeat by Weston seven days earlier thanks to lessons learned from watching the match DVD.

"Chippenham's defence wasn't as well organised, which helped, but we helped ourselves looking after the ball better and not kicking it back to the opposition all the time," said Brixham's assistant coach Ian Morgan.

Sam Jones bagged two tries and there were singles for Lee Williams and James Hannaford, in Newton Abbot's 24-12 win at Oxford Harlequins.

Taunton suffered the heartache of a last-minute defeat at Lydney which drops them into the bottom three in National Two South.

Tries from Jack Claydon, Mike Pope and Paul Davis, plus three conversions and a penalty from Gary Kingdom, had Taunton 24-18 up going into stoppage time.

Lydney lock Dave Bennett crashed over for a try to leave a point in it, then Anthony Wicks kicked the conversion to win it.

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