11:16AM, Monday 23 December 2019
Exeter University 20, Maidenhead RFC 20
Maidenhead RFC once again left it late to frustrate Exeter University as they came from behind to claim a 20-20 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Earlier in the season Ed Keohane slotted a late conversion to earn Maids a thrilling 45-43 win over Exeter and, in slightly different weather conditions this time around, Keohane converted prop forward Mark Darlington’s late try to deny the home side a victory.
The draw takes David Mobbs-Smith’s side to within a couple of points of leaders Barnstaple, who for the second week running saw their match postponed, and the Maidenhead coach is delighted with how his side have concluded the first half of the season.
"Barnstaple are top of the table but if you told me at the start of the season that at Christmas we'd be second in the league, I'd say okay let's just play from January," said the coach.
"We've had a couple of narrow squeaks and lost, but we've also had a couple of narrow wins so it's probably a true reflection of where we should be.
"We have no control over the rest of our opponents until we play them. It's going to be a very interesting run now post-Christmas."
Saturday’s game was played in persistent rainfall and then sleet and hailstones and it was nip-and-tuck throughout, with neither side able to get away from the other on the scoreboard.
Mobbs-Smith’s side made the better start with Scott Prince picking up Keohane’s clever dinked kick to run through and score. The extras were converted to make it 7-0.
But these sides have traded blows all season and it was no surprise to see the hosts hit back with a converted try of their own to make it 7-7.
Exeter managed to touch down again before the break, but Keohane slotted over two penalties, the second from long range, to give them a slender 13-12 lead at half-time.
When Exeter barged over to score their third try and then added a another penalty it looked like at least four points would be going their way. However, Maids ramped up the pressure in the final stages and got their reward when Darlington went over for their second try of the afternoon. Maids get back to action at home to 10th placed Exmouth on January 4.
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