Astley Park preparing for an Irish invasion
BRIXHAM face National Three South West leaders London Irish Amateurs at Astley Park this Saturday well aware they have a task on their hands.
The Irish have only lost once all season and are fresh from putting 72 points on Barnstaple and 52 on Oxford Harlequins.
Brixham's last outing was against second-placed Exmouth, which they lost 20-15. It doesn't get any easier this week.
The good news for Brixham is they are under no pressure as they are sixth in the table, although there is always room for improvement.
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Assistant coach Ian Morgan said the defeat at Exmouth may have been narrow, but he has no complaints.
"We played some great rugby at times but didn't have enough field position to win it," said Morgan.
"A few times in the second half we got it wrong tactically, although it was pleasing to take a bonus point.
"Exmouth are worthy of their league position and good luck to them if they are promoted."
With the Cockles playing three-quarters of the game in the Brixham half, and almost a third of it inside the Fishermen's 22, their ability to turn pressure into points was questionable – or perhaps it says more about the Fishermen's defensive capabilities.
After Exmouth missed an early penalty opportunity, Brixham took the lead when Ben Lovell slotted a long-range effort.
Exmouth went straight back at Brixham but a spell when their forwards virtually set up camp on the try line brought nothing.
Brixham weathered the storm, got into the Exmouth half and a second Lovell penalty extended their lead midway through the first half. A third penalty put Brixham further ahead.
With the hosts enjoying most of the territory, and their backs often looking dangerous, something seemed sure to happen eventually.
It did when Brixham failed to clean up a kick through their defence and Exmouth pounced for the opening try. They added a quick second. With both conversions missed Exmouth held a 10-9 lead at the break.
Although they were unable to mount any real, sustained, pressure, Brixham had a rather better second period.
Exmouth were unable to test Brixham close to the try line so often, though their threequarters looked dangerous.
Ten minutes into the half an Exmouth drop-goal put them further ahead but by the midpoint Brixham, courtesy of two penalties from Lovell's boot, were back in front and a win seemed possible.
Exmouth called on their experience. With their pack unable to make the breakthrough it fell to their backs and a nice angled run took their centre through to the posts for an easily converted try.
Five points ahead and Exmouth were looking for the fourth try that would bring a bonus point.
Brixham could still scent the possibility of victory. A Lovell penalty goal that would have made it more likely rebounded unhelpfully from the upright and no other chances were forthcoming for them.
IT'S Irish all the way at Brixham this Saturday – on the field and off it.
The main match at 3pm will be preceded by a game between Brixham's O35 side and their Irish counterparts at 1pm.
Then at 5pm the big screen in the Brixham bar will be showing Ireland against France in the Six Nations.