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Brixham win semi-final to set up Devon Cup final showdown

By Alistair Smith

From the Herald Express. Photo by Emily Irvine

Brixham and Newton Abbot are set for a showdown in the Devon Senior Cup final after beating Cullompton and Exmouth respectively in the semi-finals.

Newton Abbot carried too much firepower for Cullompton, running out 57-7 winners in a one-sided affair at Stafford Park.

Brixham had a much tougher task against holders Exmouth, who were eventually defeated 24-16 in a gripping encounter at Astley Park.

Exmouth were aiming for a fifth successive cup win this season and determined not to give it up without a fight.

When Brixham were 16-3 up at half time it looked like a formality, but Exmouth got back to 16-13 to set plenty of nerves on edge around the ground.

The final, which is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at Newton Abbot’s Rackerhayes Ground, will be a re-run of the 2004-05 final, which Newton won 33-31 thanks to a late penalty.

That was Newton Abbot’s last win in the Devon Cup final. Brixham haven’t lifted the historic silver trophy, first contested in 1888, since 1932.

Newton Abbot were 27-7 up at half time against Cullompton and from then on there was only going to be one outcome.

There were two tries for Kevin Dennis, one each for the Browne brothers, Kyle and Martin, and singles for Stephen Ward, Nic Holt, Matt Dowrick and Sam Gbbins.

Gibbins and Will Castleton shared the kicking chores.

There were five yellow cards at Brixham – all in an anxious second half – as the pressure got to both sides.

Ben Lovell converted three penalties and a Jarryd Harris try as Brixham eased into a 16-3 half time lead.

George Meadows, who potted a first-half penalty for Exmouth, then got three points back after Harris was sent to the sin-bin.

When Ollie Pyne was driven in for a try Meadows converted again and the gap was down to three points.

A Jonathan Merlin try gave Brixham some wriggle room and another Lovell penalty helped.

With players coming and going from the sin-bin – Sam Thomas and Declan Sexton for Brixham, Mark Wathes and Dave Bargent for Exmouth – Meadows landed another penalty.

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