1XV shine on gloomy day
Bracknell 27 Exmouth 17
Bracknell hosted Exmouth at Lily Hill Park on a damp and dull November day, the light from the new electronic scoreboard cutting through the gloom. Bracknell welcomed back both Rhys Verley to the second row and Sam Gibbons at blindside wing forward.
Bracknell received the kick off playing away from the clubhouse. It would be the visitors, in their heliotrope kit, that would open the scoring. Capitalising on their early pressure fly half Tom Whelan brushed off a tackle to score, then converting his own try to give an early seven point lead to Exmouth.
Exmouth maintained their early pressure on the Bracknell try line and they were further rewarded when centre Nick Headley gilded through a gap in the Bracknell defence to score. This time the conversion was missed but Exmouth had accumulated a 12 point lead with 20 minutes gone.
With half an hour gone Bracknell finally sprang into life. On what was until this point a rare venture in to Exmouth territory, Peceli Nacamavuto cut a line though the Exmouth defence to score under the Exmouth posts. Conversion from Vic Hardwicke was good.
Bracknell, now enjoying more of the territory, equalled the score when Gabe Hills finished off a fine backs move, just before the half time break. Unfortunately for Bracknell the conversion was just wide.
Half time: Bracknell 12 Exmouth 12
Bracknell kicked off the second half and picked up where they left off in the first half. On the ten minute mark, a catch and drive off a line out, coming from a penalty for a high tackle, saw Ken Dowding bulldozer his way over the Exmouth try line to give Bracknell the lead for the first time in the game.
Neither side would trouble the scoreboard further until the final quarter. With Exmouth open side Connor O’shaughnessy in the sin bin, Vic Hardwicke extended the Bracknell lead with a penalty. Bracknell secured their bonus point minutes later. Quick ball from a Bracknell line out in the Exmouth half allowed Peceli Nacamavuto to cut an exquisite looping reverse run to find Gabe Hills in space for him to dot down for his second try of the afternoon. Conversion from Vic Hardwicke was good.
If Bracknell thought it was game over they would need to rethink, a late try from Exmouth meant that they would spend the final minutes of the game camped on their own try line as Exmouth looked to secure a losing bonus point (or two).
With Lily Hill almost completely shrouded in Autumn darkness referee Brad Bignell brought the game to an end.
Full time: Bracknell 27 Exmouth 17 (Points: Bracknell 5 Exmouth 0)
The result sees Bracknell jump to tenth in the league and are now seven points above the drop zone although as we all know things change quickly in the SW Premier. At the top of the table Bournemouth’s win over, Bracknell’s next opponents, Ivybridge sees them go 11 points clear at the top of the table. A run that has only seen them drop bonus points on two occasions this season (that being in games against Bracknell & Ivybridge).
Next Saturday Bracknell are on their travels again, with a tough trip to Ivybrdge on their new 4G pitch. They return to Lily Hill for the final 1XV home league game of 2018 (and Berkshire derby) vs Maidenhead on 8th December. Please come down and support the team where you can.
Man of the match: Ken Dowding
Bracknell: 1. Elliott Bellman 2. Michael Clarke (c) 3. Ken Dowding 4. Leo Bailey 5. Rhys Verley 6. Sam Gibbons 7. Thomas Spencer-Jones 8. Giuseppe Salustri 9. Conor Segre 10. Vic Hardwicke 11. Cam McDonald 12. Peceli Nacamavutu 13. Jason Henry 14. Chris Lailder 15. Gabe Hills Replacements: Jake Hodge, Ash Stevenson-Leigh, Jake Findley