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UCP Marjon 2nd 31 – 34 Exeter University 6th

Wednesday 7th November 2012

Marjon – (0) 31 Tries: Elliott, Pearce (2), Snowdon, Seaman Cons: Elliott, Pearce (2)
By Josh Cousens Despite an impressive and brave comeback in the second half, Marjon eventually lost to a tidy and well drilled Exeter. Exeter’s swift, efficient back line proved to be the difference as they ran riot in the first half against a ragged Marjon defence. With numerous changes having to be made due to injuries and other commitments, it became apparent on the pitch that the Marjon side had not played together as a team previously. With a catalogue of rookie mistakes, that the energetic Exeter managed to convert into points. The game kicked off behind schedule, as the referee was delayed in his arrival to the ground. This seemed to have more effect on the Marjon side as they began the game very slowly, as opposed to Exeter, who came flying out of the blocks. It did not take long for Exeter to stamp their dominance on the opening exchanges, with several forceful carries from strong running forwards. They were able to recycle the ball quickly and then used their classy backs to move the attack wide and were able to score using the overlap. Exeter continued with their explosive start and the Marjon defence did not seem to have any answers to the attacking options that the away side created. It was not long before Exeter created and finished another two tries with clinical execution, really putting Marjon on the back foot and leaving them with a lot of work to do. With Marjon making a huge effort to get themselves back into the game they managed to string a few phases of play together, bringing a bit of structure to their game. This resulted in a series of mounted attacks on the Exeter defence, which gave Marjon a new found confidence. Unfortunately a forced knock on, resulted in Exeter picking up and using the advantage played by the referee to sprint downfield and inflict further misery on the score line. With the half time whistle not coming a moment too soon, Marjon regrouped at the interval and made several changes, bringing on a few powerful first team players in an attempt to change the game. After the second half kicked off the Marjon plan seemed to fail, as Exeter carried on with their first half intensity and after regaining possession from the kick off, they were able to break the defensive

line through their bulldozing runners. They were able to use the phases well and retained the ball, which allowed Exeter to squeeze over in the corner. Finally Marjon looked to snap into life and the substitutes started to have an impact on the game as the game began to break up. Strong running Rob Elliot was the first to be able reduce the deficit as he pounced on a bouncing, hacked through ball and used his strength, dragging a few defenders over the line to score. Elliot was able to convert his own try. Playing with a sense of positivity now Marjon began to use the ball better and soon found themselves back in the Exeter 22. After sucking the defence in through forward carries, the ball was spun wide and the illusive Dan Pearce used his quick feet to step the covering defence and score under the posts. Aware of time running out, Pearce quickly slotted over a drop goal to convert his own try. The momentum of the game had now turned the way of Marjon and again they found themselves deep in opposition territory. This time they were able to go route one and forward, Max Snowdon was able to pick up from the base of a ruck and bully his way over. Knowing that they had to keep up this level of intensity, Marjon continued to mount pressure on the smaller Exeter defence. Pearce collected the ball in a bit of space after a well-rehearsed backs move and used his agility and pace to score a fine individual try beating several defenders on his way to crucially, scoring under the posts. He converted his try without any fuss. With only moments of the game left, it looked like the game was slipping away from the clutches of Marjon. Harry Seaman took it upon himself to change the result as he deftly chipped over the rushing defence and was able to collect his kick and touch down to score. Unfortunately the conversion attempt was narrowly missed and the referee called it a day.

Marjon Captain Ed Stigle Said:
“We lost the game in the first half, through too many silly mistakes and not arranging our defence well enough. I don’t want to take anything away from Exeter because they are a classy team who performed well today.” “If we had played and defended as well as we did in the second half in the first, the outcome of the game would have been very different. I don’t understand why it took us so long to get to the level of intensity that we needed to be competitive in the game.”

Line Up
Marjon: Ward, Fallows, Fairless, Cousens, Stigle, Palmer, Lloyd, Dowrick, Jeram, Hall, Salisbury,
Snowdon, Elcock, Allcock, Sach.

Replacements: Seaman, Elliott, Pearce, Spurrier, Magee, McCafferty, Bjorn