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Match Report: Maidenhead RFC stun Exmouth with second half comeback

RUGBY 132331-4

Maidenhead RFC vs Exmouth RFCMaidenhead RFC, Braywick Park, Braywick Road, Maidenhead.

Maidenhead RFC 44, Exmouth RFC 27

Maidenhead RFC completed a remarkable recovery by scoring three tries in 10 minutes through Niall Crosley, Scott Prince and Ben Mitchell to beat Exmouth 44-27 at Braywick Park on Saturday.

The hosts had trailed 20-7 at the break but rallied to stun the Cockles and kick off the second half of their season in the best possible fashion.

The Cockles dominated the first half in terms of territory and possession, using the pace and trickery of their wide men to evade the bulk of Maidenhead’s backline. The first points of the game came within 10 minutes as Exmouth opened the scoring with an early try and George Meadows added the extras to give the visitors a bright start on a sunny afternoon.

Maidenhead responded with some good pressure and were awarded a penalty try to give themselves brief parity before a drop goal against the run of play restored Exmouth’s lead, the scoreline 7-10.

Dan Armstrong’s 22 metre catch and drive extended Exmouth’s advantage as Maidenhead’s defence continued to struggle in the wide areas of the pitch. A penalty for Exmouth put the final touches to a solid first half display and the visitors went down the tunnel with their heads held high, 20-7 up.

At half time, it looked like an uphill task for Maidenhead to reverse their fortunes. But, in what must have been an inspirational half time team talk from head coach David Mobbs-Smith, the hosts made sure Exmouth weren’t to have everything their own way.

Will Runciman - who marked his 50th game for Maidenhead - was introduced at half-time as a replacement for Ed Keohane and the change paid dividends in an eventful second half.

Minutes after the restart, Niall Crosley scored a free-flowing try with Runciman adding the extras to give Maidenhead some encouragement. 

Scott Prince chalked up another try for the hosts just minutes later, this time with the backing of the home support who gave Runciman the belief to slot home another conversion. Exmouth barely had time to catch their breath as Ben Mitchell grabbed himself a try to cap off an incredible 10 minute turnaround which saw Maidenhead lead 28-20. 

Keohane returned to the field at outside centre before Runciman slotted another penalty to extend Maidenhead’s advantage (31-20). Mitchell added another try for himself and his team with Runciman kicking the extras from the touchline.

Some late pressure from Exmouth’s pack saw them crack the Maidenhead defence to touch down once more. Runciman then put the game to bed by slotting two more penalties before full time.

The result keeps Maidenhead firmly in the promotion hunt. They've moved to within a point of leaders Barnstaple, but the pace setters have two games in hand over Mobbs-Smith's men. Maids are back in action next weekend, away to Ivybridge.

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