THEY WERE DETERMINED TO MAKE LIFE AS HARD AS POSSIBLE
In a week dominated by the rain that fell in Herefordshire, Luctonians would have expected to have the upperhand in a game against the Students. The visitors, however, were determined to make life as hard as possible.
The first points came in the 12th minute when Josh Nott, in his debut outing at flyhalf, fired a cut out pass wide to Owien Harriott-Davis who cantered forward before slipping the ball to Josh Watkins for some fancy foot work and a sprint for the line. Owen Randell converted (7-0).
On 15 minutes Exeter’s fullback Billy Kucera made an incisive break to be pulled down short by Rob Aikman, but following a series of drives and some slick handling, Exeter’s No 6 Tirion Bowen scored in the corner; the conversion being missed (7-5).
The visitors then took charge and, following a series of scrum penalties and some uncharacteristic, poor home defence, Jack Park fed an inside pass to a runner following a ruck, who drew the defender and released left wing, Campbell Ridly to score under the posts. Park converted (7-12). Exeter finished off a good first half with a penalty by Jack Park.
There must have been some strong words spoken by the Luctonians coaches, because the home side came out of the changing rooms fired up. Within two minutes Josh Nott switched the direction of play from a ruck and put left wing, James Wheeler through a gap, who in turn found the scoring machine that is Charlie Grimes for a try under the posts which again Randell converted (14-15). This was followed up 10 minutes later with a converted try for Rob Aikman after Lucs were able to string some much needed phases together in the Students 22m (21-15).
For the next 20 minutes Exeter took charge again and had the advantage of numerous penalties that Luctonians gave away around the breakdown. For all this pressure and territory the home side’s defence held and limited the Students to two Park converted penalties (21-21).
As if things couldn’t get any worse for Luctonians, they were reduced to 14 men when Harry Whiteman was sent to the bin. This seemed to galvanise the home team who, on winning their first scrum penalty, kicked into the corner and from the resulting lineout they drove over for Ben Link to touchdown under a pile of bodies. Owen Randell, in his first start at scrum half, finished a 100% kicking display with the conversion.
All in all, Luctonians will be relieved to claim a bonus point win, but a win however shaky, is still a win and sets up the home match in a fortnight’s time against Dings Crusaders. Exeter will leave Mortimer Park feeling that it was a game they should have won, having played with both skill and passion on a heavy pitch that technically should not suit them.
Picture Credit – Andrew Hargraves