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Barnstaple challenge is overcome by Exmouth's second-half tries

By NDJSport  |  Posted: February 16, 2013

Tom Skelding scored a fine first-half try for Barnstaple against Exmouth

Tom Skelding scored a fine first-half try for Barnstaple against Exmouth

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Exmouth scored four second-half tries to end Barnstaple's challenge in this afternoon's National Three south west derby at Pottington Road.

Barnstaple were the better side in the first half and led 13-8 at the break, with brilliant footwork by Ryan Carter creating a try for Tom Skelding.

But Exmouth came back strongly and dominated the next half an hour, scoring tries through Garry Hooper, Dave Kimberley, Tom Kill and Bob Armstrong for a 34-18 win.

Barnstaple might have gone into the game with trepidation after losing four in a row, while Exmouth were in third place with one defeat since September.

But the hosts more than matched their visitors in the first 40 minutes, which saw both sides score thrilling tries.

Luke Berry, for Barnstaple, and Andrew Powell, the Exmouth fly half, exchanged penalties in the opening six minutes before the away side scored the game's first try on 15 minutes.

Jon Fabian ghosted past a couple of tackles in midfield and delivered a superb one-handed offload to Matt Garner to finish wide on the left.

Ten minutes later, Barnstaple conjured up a terrific try of their own. Carter, the inside centre, skipped through the midfield and, with options to his left and right, wisely went left where lock Skelding had a clear run to score under the posts.

Berry nudged Barum ahead with the conversion and added a penalty on 29 minutes to make the advantage five points.

They were playing so well Barnstaple should probably have led by more but they were to pay a heavy price for their unforced errors, which included a number of penalty kicks failing to reach touch.

Three minutes into the second half, Barnstaple were already rocking and Hooper, the scrum half, found a gap big enough for him to squeeze through and score.

Kimberley, the No 8, then got the final touch as a maul drove over the line on 55 minutes.

Six minutes later, James Harris intercepted a pass on halfway and, after Exmouth had swept from right to left, Kill scored the try.

In the 71st minute, Garner streaked through a series of tackles to put his side within sight of the line and eventually replacement forward Armstrong powered over.

Powell converted three of the scores to put Exmouth out of sight at 34-13 up.

Six minutes from time, Toby Williamson snatched a pass from under the nose of Exmouth wing Matt Ryan and stepped inside the last defender to score. 

After their first-half display, that try and the fact they made the title chasers work so hard for a fifth successive win will be of little consolation to Barnstaple tonight. 

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