EXMOUTH director of rugby John Hill admits his players’ poor start left them with too much of a mountain to climb in their 40-22 defeat at Clifton.
Sitting bottom of National Two South, the Cockles conceded three tries inside the first half hour, with Robert Avery-Wright’s penalty their only positive contribution.
The visitors rallied after the break, outscoring their opponents by three tries to two with David Bargent, Mark Wathes and Ross Morshead all crossing the whitewash.
They were pushing for the losing bonus point right until the end, but came up just short with frustrations boiling over as Christopher Bentley was shown a red card.
“We’re bitterly disappointed with our team performance. We didn’t play very well at all for a good 50 minutes of the game,” said Hill.
“We gave possession away cheaply and conceded a number of soft scores.
“We were camped on their line looking for the bonus point at the end, then had a player sent off for reacting to a Clifton player who was slowing up our ball.”
Clifton wing Will Pomphrey ran in two early tries down the right flank, both of which were converted by Bradley Barnes.
Exmouth’s only reward was Avery-Wright’s penalty before Mario Sambucetti added a third converted Clifton try for a 21-3 half-time lead.
But led by Garry Hooper, Exmouth slowly started to restore some pride in attack with the scrum-half executing a fine break to play in Bargent shortly after the break, Avery-Wright adding the extras.
Clifton responded with two tries of their own but it was Exmouth finished with Wathes and Morshead both crossing.
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