DRYBROOK again put up a fine battle away at Exmouth but went unrewarded after a performance which really deserved better, writes Chris Tingle.

Once again missing several key players, and an early injury to Danny Price, Drybrook gave their all and no one can fault the commitment.

Exmouth made the better start and Drybrook were forced to defend for much of the opening 10 minutes, eventually the pressure told and they crossed for an unconverted try.

Another blow was soon to follow as Drybrook lost centre Price with a bad injury to his forearm.

After a reshuffle Drybrook began to put some phases together and the game became more even with both sides playing good rugby.

Mitch Bourne, as always was leading from the front, and was getting excellent support from the rest of his pack as they drove their way into the oppositions half.

Exmouth were forced to concede a number of penalties and Drybrook gained good field position twenty metres out with the lineout in their favour.

A well-executed front peel move saw Mikey Addiss break-away to power over the defending winger for a try which left the scores level at the break at five apiece.

If anything you can fault Drybrook for, it is not always remaining focussed and this cost them dearly at the start of the second half as they allowed Exmouth in for a soft converted try.

Spurred on by this early set-back, Drybrook rallied, testing the home team with a number of assaults on their line.

They were rewarded when a well driven maul breached the Exmouth defence, and to everyone’s surprise it was arch poacher Sam Peaper, the Drybrook centre, who was in the middle of the melee to touch the ball down.

Exmouth then had the best of the next five minutes and were rewarded with a successful penalty kick with 15 minutes played.

The game was very much in the balance at 15-10 and both teams were vying to gain the upper hand but when you are struggling, things rarely go your way.

Exmouth kicked long and Dillon Worsley fielded the ball and called for the mark in his 22. He kicked the ball out and the Exmouth touch judge raised his flag.

The Emouth winger who caught the ball, however played on, the attack set Exmouth up to score and at 22-10 Drybrook were now forced to chase the game.

Mitch Renton came onto the field to replace Dean Jelf. Exmouth also replaced a prop which resulted in their scrum being considerably weaker.

Drybrook drove them back on four occasions, and the last of these saw the ball squirt out the side of the scrum.

The home team scrum-half picked up, and with Drybrook heading towards the Exmouth posts, he was able to break away and set up the final try for the home team.

Exmouth deserved their win, but Drybrook will feel confident for the return match at home.

Next week is a well needed rest period, which will hopefully give the injured players a chance to recuperate before the hard push into Christmas.