EURFC 1s got off to a flying start to the season on Wednesday afternoon with a massive 38-0 victory against Cardiff Met. The home side scored six unanswered tries and defended emphatically to maintain a clean sheet in an impressive display. The EURFC supporters’ club were out in force for this opening match and behaved immaculately throughout.
Exeter sent out an early message to the visitors, opting to kick for the corner rather than taking the points after winning early penalties. Hooker Paul Davis and second row Sam Skinner orchestrated a flawless lineout performance and were rewarded soon after kick-off. An accurate throw and brutal driving maul saw the newly bulked-up figure and infamous scrum hat of Fred Wheadon trundle over the line for EURFC’s first try of the year. A difficult conversion was then made to look easy by fly-half James Doe as he put the home side 7-0 up in the opening five minutes.
A few minutes later, after yet another perfectly executed lineout, Doe delivered a weighted pass in the midfield to outside centre Tom Holdsworth who burst through the Cardiff defence on a fantastic running line. He evaded a number of tackle attempts before beating the full- back and scoring under the posts to leave an easy conversion sitting on a plate for teammate Doe.
The score progressed to 21-0 just before half time as Doe and Holdsworth linked up in the midfield again. After skipping through a number of tackles, the outside centre then gave a skilful pass out of the back of his left hand to Exeter’s full-back Gavin Parker, who scored in the corner. The Scotland U20 international gave an incredibly energetic performance throughout the game, putting in a number of key tackles and pinging some outstanding defensive kicks from his own try line. Exeter managed to resist a flurry of penetrative Cardiff attacking plays just before half time to maintain their three try lead.
Ten minutes into the second half, scrum-half Sam Waltier placed a fantas- tic positional kick deep into opposition territory, leaving Exeter with a chance to steal the lineout. After winning the turnover, Waltier picked up the ball from the back of the ruck to run the ball in for their fourth try of the afternoon.
At 26-0, coach Keith Fleming brought on a number of substitutes including the towering figure of Fred Hosking, who immediately managed to steal a lineout on the halfway line. Some skilful hands in the backs and an offload from number eight Tom Lawday put Gavin Parker in for his second try of the match to extend Exeter’s lead to 31-0.
Lawday continued to bulldoze through Cardiff’s defence and an outstanding break from the halfway line saw him held up just before the try line. In the final play of the game, the number eight picked up at the back of the scrum to score a well deserved try next to the posts. The whistle went after Doe converted, ending the opening game of EURFC’s season 38-0 on the highest of notes.
The supporter’s club were making a very merry atmosphere after the overwhelming victory and appear to be very excited this year by the potential demonstrated by their 1s. The squad certainly looked the complete product and are showing hugely positive signs going forward.
Last year, EURFC had a record breaking year with only a single match lost at Topsham during the entire season. To begin with such a victory means that Exeter take five impressive wins out of their last six matches. However, Hartpury have not played yet and they are unbeaten in their last five. Exeter can go top of the league in their next fixture.
Exeter go into next week’s big fixture away at Bristol with the remarkable achievement of having conceded no points at all from this home match. The Fresher 1s also won their fixture 31-21, putting EURFC in a strong position early in the season. With many players having successful introductions to the sides, it looks like the future of the EURFC teams is in good hands.