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First XV


2013/4 Season

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12th April 2014 NEWTON ABBOT 32 BRIXHAM 26
The All-Whites got revenge for their defeat at Brixham at the beginning of the season but it was a hard-fought and nail-biting encounter.
Brixham got off to a flying start with a brace of tries in the first ten minutes. Centre Tom Goodman opened the scoring after he intercepted a pass and ran three-quarters of the pitch to touch down. A break by fellow centre Tom McLean; carried on by prop Russ Morris gave heavyweight winger Matt Crosscombe room to go over in the corner. Outside half Ben Lovell missed both touchline conversions but the Fishermen had a ten point lead.
Newton were shocked but began to put real pressure on the visitors. For twenty minutes or so their pack pounded away at the Brixham defence. To no avail. Brixham were even coping with the loss of hooker Chey Bryce to the sin-bin but a chip kick over their defence brought Newton their opening try and conversion.
Back to full strength, Brixham had a spell of attacking of their own as the first half wound down. A Lovell penalty gave them a 13-7 lead at the interval.
From the resumption Brixham were straight back on the offensive and were within feet of the try line on a couple of occasions. The second of these saw Crosscombe brought down just short but the recycled ball went back inside and Morris powered over for a try. Lovell added the extras.
Within the space of ten minutes it all went wrong for Brixham as the hosts scored three tries and a conversion to take the lead for the first time. The Fishermen woke up again and twenty minutes of ding-dong tussles ensued. As play ebbed and flowed Brixham added two Lovell penalties and Newton a try. In the last fifteen minutes either side could have won. The best chance for Brixham escaped when they lost control of the ball going for an almost certain pushover try. Newton were more than relieved and a penalty goal steadied their nerves as the clock ran down. Brixham could not get possession as the fat lady warmed up her vocal cords and the season ended in disappointment.
At the top of the table Lydney were promoted and Redingensians are in the promotion play-offs. At the other end old friends and rivals at Avonmouth and Chippenham were relegated.

Here is a short movie clip of the flying start and disappointing conclusion.

5th April 2014 BRIXHAM 13 OLD CENTRALIANS 17

29th March 2014 OLD PATESIANS 39 BRIXHAM 34
Old Pats needed a result to ease their relegation worries and with Brixham struggling with injury and unavailability problems this was the day to get it. In the warm spring sunshine a high scoring match ensued - marred for the visitors by the leg injury to winger Jonny Brown which earned him a trip to hospital.
Brown had almost opened the scoring after two minutes when he was just beaten in the chase to reach his own kick ahead. By ten minutes the hosts had a lead that was threatened but never surrendered. An attacking scrum provided the base for their first try and the conversion, in the strong cross-wind, was good.
The Fishermen soon had a try of their own to celebrate when centre Tom McLean touched down. Brown missed the conversion and on the twenty minute mark sustained his injury. Brixham rearranged but the team had an odd look about it with forwards filling both wing positions.
A rolling maul set up the second Pats try. Brixham had one denied for a forward pass and then scored one to reduce the gap. McLean broke down the right and three phases later flanker Rhys Cattell touched down.
12-10 to the hosts at the break seemed a likely outcome but the hosts had ideas of their own and in the final five minutes of the first half added two more, unconverted tries.
Brixham started the second half in determined fashion. Scrums on the Pats line failed but the ball was released across field and the attacks yielded a try for lock Adam Thomas.
Playing up the slopes of Everest Road the hosts now started to have Brixham in trouble. A converted try and a penalty goal extended their lead and the victory they sought seemed assured.
The Fishermen failed to roll over. McLean broke through the centre and had the line at his mercy but a despairing tap-tackle sent him tumbling and the ball was spilt. Recovered by Pats and hacked upfield the chase was won by them and the lead was out to 24 points.
In the final fifteen minutes the home fans grew more and more vocal in their calls for the final whistle. Three tries for Brixham in that time cut back the lead. With prop/lock Russ Morris and centre Tom Goodman (twice) touching down and two conversions by Andy Sandercock the deficit was down to five points ant the finish.
Pats had the five points they needed , the Fishermen had an unlikely two and nobody except Jonny went home too disappointed.

22nd March 2014 BRIXHAM 15 LYDNEY 18
Next season Lydney will return to National 2 South as champions; Brixham will face life in National 3 South West for the third year. However, on Saturday there was little to choose between the two sides.
The Fishermen had first use of the wind and the slope but were unable to use the elements to build a commanding lead; in the second period the visitors pulled back the deficit but only had a slender margin of victory at the end.
The opening exchanges were even but Brixham took the lead with their first concerted attack after ten minutes. Winger Sam Hedges flew down the wing for the opening try. Fellow winger Jonny Brown's conversion attempt rebounded agonisingly from the upright.
Further attacks ended in disappointment. The first ended with centre Tom Goodman being sent to the sin-bin; the second culminated in Brown missing a penalty goal attempt.
Lydney got on the scoreboard with a penalty of their own before Brown missed for the second time. Lydney had had a man yellow-carded and with Goodman back Brixham soon made their numerical advantage count. Scrum-half Andy Sandercock broke down the left, his reverse pass found prop Russ Morris in support to cross for a try which Brown converted.
After this little spell of scoring the final fifteen minutes of the first half were barren. A penalty by Brown on the stroke of half-time gave Brixham a 15-3 lead.
After a somewhat lengthy interval Brixham started the second half on the offensive. Their first attack was halted illegally but Ben Lovell failed with the penalty attempt. From the restart Nunber8 Sam Thomas made good yards and put Brown through for a try. The final, forward, pass ruled it out.
Lydney now started to get on top and Brixham were forced back on the defensive. A lineout catch and drive rolled over the try line for the Foresters' first try. The conversion cut the Brixham lead to five points.
A quickly taken tap penalty five minutes allowed Lydney to cut through the defence; the unconverted try levelled the scores.
This could have been the final result but ten minutes from time a penalty goal put Lydney ahead for the first time and the clock wound down without further incident.

Here is some of the action - opens in a new window

8th March 2014 Chippenham 5 Brixham 28
Brixham cemented their hold on fourth place in the league with a bonus point victory over relegation-threatened Chippenham. The early spring sunshine was welcome but a strong wind over the North Wiltshire plains made life interesting for the kickers.
In the opening quarter Brixham failed to make much use of the wind at their backs. A series of penalties kept them penned into their own half but Chippenham showed little in attack.
The stalemate was broken by number 8 Sam Simmonds. He picked up at the base of a scrum, broke through the defence and was fast enough to outstrip the chasers to the try-line. Ben Lovell had a straightforward conversion.
Four minutes later another Brixham breakout was carried on by winger Jonny Brown. Chippenham conceded a penalty in halting the attack and Lovell added another three points.
The home side needed a swift response and raised their supporters hopes by doing so. Several phases of attacking saw them over for an unconverted try in the right corner.
Lovell had the chance to extend the Brixham lead with a penalty goal but was foiled by the upright. Chippenham restarted with a 22 drop out but winger Tom Goodman recovered the ball and a couple of phases later Brown was over for the second Brixham try on the opposite side of the pitch.
Lovell missed the conversion but added another penalty before the break. A Chippenham attack on the stroke of halftime brought no reward but Goodman saw yellow and the sinbin for his part in halting it.
With the wind at their backs Chippenham must have felt that an 18 - 5 deficit could be turned around in the second half. With Brixham down to fourteen men the first ten minutes of the half saw them forced onto the defensive. A missed penalty goal was all the moonrakers could show for their efforts.
The return of Goodman to the fray was immediately marked by a change in proceedings. Brixham attacked on one wing - the ball was recycled and sent over to the other flank where Goodman grounded for a try.
As a contest the game was effectively over though both sides still had bonus points to play for. Neither could, however, much by way of exciting or sustained pressure and the game started to fade out as a spectacle.
In the final minutes Brixham brought it back to life with a series of attacks that had them virtually camped in the Chips 22. Attacking scrums and forward drives failed to breach the defence but eventually the ball went out across the pitch and Andy Sandercock dived over for the fourth try for the Fishermen.
The fat lady might have been singing somewhere in the bar - the missed conversion attempt ended the game.
Click for: Mini videoclips of the first three touchdowns
A rather longer clip of the fourth try

March 1st 2014 Worcester Wanderers 35 Brixham 36
Like an insect this was a game of three parts. The head section started with an early bite but developed into a tit for tat affair that lasted until just after half time. The body was shorter but saw the lead change hands decisively. The tail was by far the shortest but contained a wicked sting!
From the kick-off Brixham bit hard and deep - number eight Sam Simmonds retrieving the start and running through for a try under the posts. Outside half Ben Lovell converted and the Fishermen had a seven point lead. A penalty goal by Lovell extended the lead but the hosts had soon narrowed the gap with a converted try. A quick reverse pass opened the Fishermen's defence to let them through.
Scoring opportunities in the remainder of the first half were restricted to penalty attempts. Lovell kicked two for Brixham; Worcester only converted one of their two attempts. Half time came with the Fishermen leading 16-10 but not really controlling the game.
As in the first half Brixham scored almost immediately when Lovell slotted his third penalty goal but this was the cue for the game to enter its second stage.
A Worcester attack from halfway by their lively young backs found a mismatch and an opening for a try in the right corner. Minutes later another attack from a similar position foundered but they were awarded a penalty. This was missed but Brixham never really cleared their lines and more attacking gave the hosts another try in the right corner. With neither try converted Worcester now found themselves a point in front.
Ten minutes later and a succession of attacking scrums brought them a fourth, penalty, try and an easy conversion. Try number five soon followed when quick hands again put them over in the corner.
With just over ten minutes remaining Brixham lost Andy Sandercock to the sin bin and his penalty offence added another three points to the Worcester total. A 35 points to 19 lead looked enough for a useful victory.
Just when Brixham might have been looking at damage limitation they sparked into life. A quickly taken throw-in and penalty were taken by Simmonds and he started off on a long run into the opposition half. Brought down, he had support on hand and the ball was kept alive through several carriers before returning to Simmonds to run in a try.
A powerful run by prop Russ Morris minutes later set up an attacking position and culminated in lock Rhys Cattell touching down. Winger Jonny Brown missed both conversions and Brixham still trailed by six points.
As the sands ran out Brixham continued to press forward and ignoring the overlap outside him Cattell went over for a second try. Brown had only just enough time to put the conversion over. Worcester had been stung, stunned and silenced.

22nd February 2014 BARNSTAPLE 18 BRIXHAM 14
The winter sunshine of North Devon brought no cheer to the Fishermen on Saturday as Barum, probably deservedly, edged an entertaining Devon derby match.
The first ten minutes went to the hosts and a try under the posts took them into an early seven point lead. Brixham then began to find their feet. A powerful run by number 8 Sam Simmonds; continued by prop Russ Morris set up a threatening attacking position for the Fishermen.
From a series of attacking set pieces the try line was threatened. Centre Matt Tichias crossed it but was deemed held up before Simmonds broke off a scrum and looped around the defence to touch down. Outside-half Ben Lovell converted to level the scores.
Further attacking by Brixham was thwarted by the home defence and the game became more level as the first half wore on. Barnstaple celebrated a succession of attacking phases with a penalty goal before the break but the defences generally held the upper hand.
With the wind off the estuary now at their backs Brixham had every reason to expect to overturn the three point deficit. Barnstaple were not about to make it easy for them though.
The first ten minutes saw Brixham penned into their own half. When they broke into the Barnstaple half for the first time a rolling maul took them from halfway to the 22 before being stopped illegally. Ben Lovell's penalty attempt went just wide.
Brixham were forced back on the defensive and two minutes of desperate last ditch heroics midway through the half ended with Barnstaple doubling their lead with a penaltygoal.
Brixham restarted. Barum retrieved the ball, ran back at Brixham whose defence was stretched by three attacking phases before Barnstaple crossed for a try in the right corner.
Brixham restarted again. Barnstaple knocked on and from the resulting scrum Simmonds peeled off the back to charge in from twenty metres out. Lovell converted and Brixham trailed by just four points as the game entered the last ten minutes.
The final stages saw Brixham close to the homesters line but the try they needed for a last minute victory eluded them.

15th February 2014 BRIXHAM 13 BRACKNELL 23
Brixham remain in fourth place in National 3 South-West after losing to the ambitious Bracknell side. On the balance of play the Fishermen might feel that they deserved more but were lacking a cutting edge to convert their attacks into points.
Brixham welcomed back Ben Lovell in a rejigged back division and he duly opened the scoring with a penalty goal after just one minute.
Within fifteen minutes the advantage had been totally wiped out. Weak tackling in midfield allowed Bracknell to run in two tries - both converted - but Brixham tightened their defence and launched a series of attacks.
A period of pressure brought a sequence of line-outs close to the Bracknell line but the catch and drive tactics did not work and the defence held out. A penalty goal from near halfway provided reward for the defensive efforts and extended the visitors lead.
Brixham continued to have the better of the attacking up to halftime but struggled to find gaps in the committed and organised defence. A Lovell penalty was scant reward for the efforts and was negated by one for Bracknell on the stroke of half-time.

Having played uphill into the wind in the first period Brixham needed to capitalise on the elements in the second and turn around the 20-6 deficit.
For twenty minutes they failed to do so - but equally they prevented Bracknell from increasing their lead. A long distance penalty midway through the half extended the visitors' lead but ushered in a period of Brixham dominance.
Full-back Jamie Shone raised the home hopes when he went over for a try; Lovell converted from the touchline. More attacking failed to reveal any gaps in the Bracknell defence but a second Brixham try was denied when the ball was spilt and further efforts were stopped agonisingly short of the try line.

25th January 2014 BRIXHAM 10 AVONMOUTH 7
Based on their league positions Brixham were clear favourites. Avonmouth, however, need points to escape from the bottom of the league and the Fishermen found themselves dragged into what could have been a relegation dogfight.
Despite playing uphill and into the wind, Brixham exerted most of the early pressure. Although they threatened the try line on several occasions they were repulsed and conceded penalties that allowed the visitors to clear their lines.
Midway through the first period a throw-in on halfway provided the unlikely platform for the opening score. The ball flew over the entire line out; a fairly obvious knock on by Avonmouth was ignored by the referee and the visitors went through the defence for a converted try.
In the remainder of the half the game failed to reach any heights with Brix engaged largely in defence and looking forward to the advantage of the elements in the second period.
Five minutes into the second and the Fishermen were back on level terms. The 'mouth had a man in the sin-bin and Brixham made the advantage count with a series of scrums and penalties close to the visitors' line. Repeated infringements brought Brixham a penalty try and Jonny Brown an easy conversion.
With neither side able to make a breakthrough seven points each seemed a likely result. Brixham could not make anything of lineout catch and drives and the backs similarly failed to make progress.
With five minutes of normal time remaining Brixham opted to go for three points from a penalty rather than looking for a try. Jonny Brown duly obliged.
In the remaining time Avonmouth could have got a winning score and Brixham greeted the final whistle with some relief. The Mouth have never been easy opponents and probably returned to Bristol thinking that they should have won.

18th January 2014 AMERSHAM & CHILTERN 36 BRIXHAM 27
The Fishermen returned from the longest away trip of the season feeling that this was a game they could have won.
In the opening minutes it was all Amersham. Twice Brixham made mistakes and were penalised - only for the homesters kicker to fail to split the uprights. On the ten minute mark Brixham had their first real attacking spell. An attack down the left was halted but the ball went out along the backs to centre Tom MacLean who touched down for a try. Winger Jonny Brown added the conversion.
Almost immediately Brown had the chance for a try of his own but Amersham put the ball dead. The resulting scrum brought a penalty to Brixham; a lineout catch and drive followed and Russ Morris grounded under the pile of bodies.
Twelve points ahead and it looked good for Brixham. Unfortunately the tide turned. A penalty goal got Amersham on the scoreboard and the Brixham defence had plenty to occupy them.
A converted try put Amersham just two points behind and a penalty would have given them the lead but was, sadly, missed. They made amends moments later when a Brixham clearance kick was charged down and a second converted try ensued.
From the restart Amersham were penalised and Brown slotted the goal to leave the Fishermen 17-15 down at the break.
Almost immediately after the resumption the gap had widened as Amersham scored another seven-pointer. Brixham restarted and the hosts were back on the offensive with the Fishermen defending furiously. Brixham skipper Adam Thomas went to the sin bin after an ill-judged tackle but the easy penalty goal was missed.
Brixham weathered the storm and despite being a man short pressured the Amersham line. The home defence held out against catch-and drives, attacking scrums and everything else the Fishermen threw at them for fifteen minutes.
When Amersham stole the ball close to the touchline on their own 22 they got their reward. An attack up the wing; quick recycling and three phases later they had their fourth, converted, try.
Brixham resumed the offensive. Another catch and drive was held up but the ball went over to the other side of the pitch where centre Tom Goodman forced his way over for a try.
With the game entering the final quarter the Fishermen still needed to score twice to win. They now struggled to get out of their own half and Amersham put the game safe with another try.
All Brixham could get out of the game was a bonus point and needed a try to get it. At the end of the match four minutes of consistent pressure on the try line brought it. Amersham withstood the Fishermen but conceded a man to the bin and penalties in the process. The referee eventually awarded Brixham a penalty try; Brown had the easy conversion and the retreat to the warmth of the clubhouse could take place.

11th January 2014 BRIXHAM 34 WESTON-s-MARE 31
Earlier in the season the Fishermen went to Weston and defeated the Seasiders by three points thanks to a late try. On Saturday they did the same again at Astley Park.
With the result in doubt until the final whistle the spectators were kept on the edge of their seats and plenty of action ensured that it was a high-scoring match.
In the third minute a line out catch and drive saw the Brixham pack (with the assistance of some backs) power over the line for the opening try. Hooker Chey Bryce claimed the score and winger Jonny Brown added the conversion.
The visitors reduced the arrears with a penalty goal and started to put Brixham under pressure. Just over half way through the half a converted try put them ahead but sparked the Fishermen on to greater efforts.
An illegally stopped rolling maul cost Weston a yellow card and an equalising penalty. A second sin bin soon after led to the Brixham pack scoring a pushover try from a scrum in front of the posts. Number 8 Sam Simmonds controlled the ball at the back before touching down. Brown's conversion put the Fishermen seventeen points to ten ahead at the break.
After the interval Brixham resumed the offensive but when after five minutes the ball was lost, Weston counter attacked and a converted try levelled the scores.
Undaunted, Brixham were back on the attack. Winger Tom Goodman went close to scoring on the left, the ball was recycled and Jonny Brown touched down wide right - only for the try to be disallowed for a foot in touch.
Midway through the half the stalemate was broken. Brixham's forwards made progress with a rolling maul before releasing the backs. The ball went left before being sent right where Brown had an easy run in for the try.
Five minutes later the Brixham lead was up to twelve points. A scrum ten metres from the Weston line provided the platform. Simmonds came off the back and eluded the defence to crash over.
Fifteen minutes to play but a worrying spell for the Fishermen. A quickly taken penal;ty in midfield and a missed catch led to two tries in quick succession for Weston. Both were converted and Brixham were behind.
Two long range penalties to the visitors were missed but used up valuable time. Brown missed a similar one for Brixham before he administered the coup de grace by running in the final try. His conversion failed but brought the final whistle.
Brixham relief was matched by Weston misery.

4th January 2014 Redingensians 22 Brixham 17
Although volunteers were still getting water off two areas of the pitch just before kick-off, the pitch was in remarkably good condition and the match provided action and tension for players and spectators alike.
In the opening quarter both teams had to get to grips with the conditions and though Brixham exerted some pressure early on there was no scoring. The hosts' back line looked threatening and, for Brixham, the opening score was worryingly simple. The conversion left the Fishermen trailing seven points to nil. Brixham responded immediately and the forwards had the try-line in their sights. A maul stopped just short of the line (pulled down illegally according to some biased observers) was as close as Brixham got.
With the Brixham pack edging the forward battle the contest was close. With the interval approaching Brixham were penalised in midfield and were immediately in trouble from a quickly taken tap penalty. The Rams backs linked well for a try in the corner. Brixham were back under the cosh from the restart. A poor kick enabled the hosts to run the ball again and the Fishermens defence was tested. A penalty kick on the stroke of half time was all that they conceded and they turned around twelve points adrift.
Rams came out for the second period in a changed strip. Although they had the advantage of the slight slope they found themselves having to cope with a Brixham fightback. In the opening ten minutes Brixham threatened but could not get the line out catch and drives working. An offence at a scrum in front of the posts brought their first clear-cut chance - Jonny Brown nailed the penalty to get the scoreboard moving. The next fifteen minutes of play brought nothing but ended with another Brixham attacking lineout. The defence ensured that the resulting drive was in reverse gear but lock Luke Maggs peeled off the retreating maul, sold a dummy to outwit the defence and capped a thirty metre run with a sliding try. Brown added the conversion and Brixham could sense victory.
Rams had other ideas. From the restart they kept possession, stringing the phases together, stretching and testing the Brixham defence and ending with a try in clubhouse corner.
Their nerves were stilled somewhat when they scored their fourth try with five minutes remaining but Brixham had the final say when they scored a try and secured a losing bonus point. Flanker Sam Thomas was hauled down just short after breaking from a scrum in front of the posts. Jonny Brown snapped up the ball and dived over the ruck to ground the ball for a try. In the increasing gloom he converted and the final whistle blew.

14th December 2013 BRIXHAM 27 OLD REDCLIFFIANS 15
The strong, gusty wind blowing across the pitch did nothing to make rugby easier but Brixham gained a comfortable victory. They got revenge for the defeat up in Bristol earlier in the season; put last week's disappointment behind them and can look forward to the Devon Cup match at Newton and Christmas festivities.
Brixham's early attacking bore fruit after ten minutes when flanker Trae Gosling ran in from thirty metres - refusing the support outside and breaking tackles on his way to the line. Jonny Brown's conversion attempt came back off the post.
Old Reds struck back almost immediately - their try levelling up the scores - but Brixham were having the better of the play. Ten minutes before the break a series of scrums close to Reds' line had the visitors in trouble and Number 8 Sam Simmonds had a straightforward pick up and dive over for the second try. Brown added the conversion and slotted a penalty to put the Fishermen fifteen points to five ahead at the break.
Five minutes into the second half Simmonds had a major part in the third try. From a try on Reds 22 he picked up and went on the blindside. A neat reverse pass found a sprinting Jonny Brown who touched down in the corner. For a second time the Reds reply was almost immediate with their right winger racing in for a try.
Twenty five minutes of play kept the spectators entertained but the scoreboard static. Brixham completed their scoring with the fourth try when they attacked from deep in their own half. Brown had fellow speedsters Matt Crosscombe and Tom Goodman on his shoulders as he went clear. The final pass took Goodman over next to the posts; Brown getting the conversion.
Old Reds got a try in the last minute but the game was over as a contest by that point.

7th December 2013 OLD CENTRALIANS 20 BRIXHAM 19
Cents, or Saints, have been rooted to the base of the table since the opening day of the season. Luckily for them, they welcomed back their leading try scorer of the past four seasons from his travels down under for this match. His abilities in the centre are likely to be important in their attempts to avoid relegation.
Cents set their stall out early - in the second minute their backs attacked down the left and though they were halted the ball went rapidly out to the right for the opening try.
Brixham regained their composure and two tries midway through the half took them in front. The first came from a typical lineout catch and drive - prop Russ Morris grounding under the usual melee. The second try was rather fortuitous in the build-up. A kick upfield was misfielded by the Cents defence and went dead to give the Fishermen a 5 metre scrum in the corner. Winger Matt Crosscombe unexpectedly took a pop pass on the blind side and dived over for the touchdown.
The second quarter saw the two sides sparring with each other but unable to break through the defences. Before the break the homesters scored a penalty goal and Brixham turned around twelve points to eight ahead.
In the second period the Fishermen were playing towards the Matson end but after five minutes of pressure on their defence found themselves behind as the hosts scored a converted try.
When Brixham elected not to kick the ball to the Cents' dangerous backs, but to string attacking phases together, things looked brighter. Number 8 Sam Simmonds scored the third try for the Fishermen after a catch and drive - going through the middle of, and under, a maul to ground the ball. Winger Jonny Brown slotted the conversion and Brixham led by four points going into the final quarter.
That final period was not a happy one. Defensive errors virtually gifted Cents a try. Though the conversion was missed they had a one point lead. Brixham huffed and puffed. A red card (two yellows) reduced the hosts to fourteen men and a yellow card to thirteen for the last five minutes.
Old Cents wanted the victory and hung on for it - Brixham lacked the cutting edge to snatch it from them.

30th November 2013 BRIXHAM 33 OLD PATESIANS 24
After losing at Lydney last time out Brixham welcomed more opposition from Gloucestershire on Saturday. Old Pats have not had a great start to the season but proved difficult for the Fishermen to overcome and were not subdued even at the Final whistle.
In the first half Brixham played up the slope to Rea Barn. Their start was not auspicious - Old Pats opened the scoring with a converted try after five minutes and later extended it to ten points with a penalty goal. Midway through the opening session Brixham were on the scoreboard with a penalty of their own from Andy Sandercock but a second attempt soon after went astray.
Two further penalty goals - one to each side - rounded off the scoring in the first half and Brixham turned around thirteen points to six behind.
Ten minutes into the second period Brixham scored their first try. A line-out close to the Pats line was secured and the drive for the line was assisted by some of the backs before the ball was grounded.
The conversion was missed but a penalty goal put Brixham briefly in front - Pats replying in kind.
Two tries in close order helped the Fishermen to establish a real lead. Centre Tom Goodman had less than five metres to run for the first; the second came as a result of a charging run by winger Matt Crosscombe. When he was brought down short of the line the ball was recycled and Number 8 Sam Simmonds evaded the defenders to burst through for a try.
Pats brought the deficit back to seven points with another penalty but Brixham secured the four try bonus point when they attacked from a scrum in their own half. Swift hands took the ball to Crosscombe who exploded down the wing for the touchdown.
Old Pats never gave up and in the final minute scored a try from a catch and drive. The conversion that would have earned them a deserved losing bonus point was missed and the Fishermen were left to celebrate a hard-fought win and the end of Movember.

23rd November 2013 LYDNEY 31 BRIXHAM 10
In the days of Merit Tables Brixham played Lydney fairly regularly. In the days of Leagues the two sides had never met. Lydney were relegated last season but are leading the league and look favourites for promotion so Brixham knew they faced a stern test on Severnside.
Brixham attacked from the starting whistle and after three minutes had their noses in front. With Brixham threatening the try line Lydney were caught offside; Andy Sandercock slotted the penalty for three points. It was a short-lived lead. From the restart a dangerous tackle cost Brixham a man in the sin-bin. The penalty went to the corner and a lineout catch and drive earned a try for the hosts.
Lydney could not make the man advantage count but midway through the half extended their lead after their scrum-half jinked through a gap to touch down. The conversion opened up a nine point gap but the Fishermen were staight back on the attack and soon narrowed it. Centre Matt Tichias broke through the first line of defence and contrived a kick ahead that fellow centre Tom Goodman followed up to touch down. With the home fans screaming for a knock on the try was awarded, Sandercock converted and Brixham were just two points behind. Before the interval Lydney kicked two penalties and though Brixham had threatened the try line the homesters led 18-10at the break.
A penalty five minutes into the second half extended the lead and a period of Lydney pressure culminated in a second yellow card for Brixham ; closely followed by a second try for the Lydney scrum-half. Four minutes later and Brixham were reduced to 13 men by another yellow card. The Fishermen's defence was valiant as the hosts went in search of the fourth try that would earn a bonus point.
Only in time added on did the defence fail - the Lydney scrum failed again to go over but the ball went wide on the right for the final try.
A Lydney observer claimed that his side never needed to go above third gear - but conceded that Brixham were the toughest side they have faced this season. When the new signings "bed in" the Fishermen will be more formidable and if the penalty count is reduced will have more scope for attack.

9th November 2013 BRIXHAM 51 CHIPPENHAM 15
The last time Chippenham were at Astley Park was back in February. On that occasion they conceded ten tries to the Fishermen; on Saturday it was only nine which is some sort of improvement. For Brixham only one player scored in both matches - a measure of the changes that have been forced on them by injuries and players moving on.
A missed penalty attempt by Andy Sandercock in the second minute heralded a poor day for him with the boot though he was not aided by tries scored in the corners. When his turn came to touch down he showed where they should be scored - under the posts.
Within ten minutes Brixham had their noses in front. A rolling maul took Brixham close to the goal line but when it halted a quick pass out gave winger Jonny Brown room to go over in the corner. Brown scored again ten minutes later when his pace won the race to a kick through by Jamie Shone for a second try. Before the excitement had died down Brixham had a third try. Attacking from their own half, Brown again had a hand in proceedings - his run and pass put winger Tom Goodman through for a try that even the exalted rugby expert Ray Casling conceded was very good. Five minutes more and Brixham had the bonus point for their fourth try. Powerful runs by prop Russ Morris and lock Gareth Williams had the Chippenham defence reeling before Goodman finished off from close range.
The visitors had scored a penalty goal among Brixham's try rush and proceeded to dominate the last fifteen minutes of the first half as Brixham took their foot off the gas. The home defence held firm and Brixham turned around 22-3 ahead.
The second half began as the first had ended - with Chippenham on the attack and Brixham seemingly unable to get, or keep, possession. Two tries and a conversion put Chips back in the game just seven points behind but there was to be no upset and in the last twenty minutes Brixham pulled clear.
The Fishermen rediscovered their strong running, quick recycling and support play. Rhys Cattell scored his maiden First XV try after one multi-phase attack and was soon followed over the whitewash by full-back Jamie Shone. A disallowed try (held up over the line) disappointed the fans but try number seven delighted them - Goodman broke two tackles as he ran through from halfway.
Morris' powerful running almost put him through but when he was brought down the ball was popped up to Sandercock who juggled it before his catch and dive over the line. The last man over the line was debutant Theo Kruger, newly arrived from Natal, and on as a substitute. He gathered a neat kick through before touching down.

More photos to follow

After the Berkshire battering last week Brixham had a more recognisable team for the visit of Worcester Wanderers. The visitors had a poor start to the season but some recent good results promised a close and hard encounter.
With the wind at their backs and the slope down towards Mudstone Lane in front of them Brixham had all the elements in their favour and soon found themselves in the lead. Worcester were penalised at the first scrum and scrum-half Andy Sandercock bisected the uprights for three points. Ten minutes later, after a series of attacks, the lead was increased. A rolling maul in the right corner failed to achieve a touchdown even with the assistance of backs in the drive. The ball went out and three phases later full-back Jamie Shone went over wide on the left, Sandercock used one of the posts to aid his conversion.
Further attacks by Brixham were resisted by the visitors' defence but at the cost of two more penalty goals by Sandercock. With half-time approaching it seemed that Brixham had not made enough of the elements but in the final moments a typical run by prop Russ Morris eased the concerns. From the 22 he burst through some ineffectual tacking to crash over for a try. Sandercock again converted and Brixham turned around 23-0 ahead.
Worcester were down but certainly not out and the second half saw them set about turning over the deficit. One minute in and the task had become more difficult. Brixham attacked; Goodman and Knight made ground, Morris was brought down just short of the line and hooker Chey Bryce finished off with a try in the corner.
Worcesters attacks in the second half foundered on the rocks of the Brixham defence though on occasions they were to come close to the line. Despite the wind it was not all one-way traffic. Midway through the half Brixham had scored their fourth try after several phases of attacks in which the whole team was involved - winger Jonny Brown finding enough space to touch down in the corner despite the attentions of two defenders.
Worcester could find no way to unlock the Brixham defence and the Fishermen rarely threatened to extend their lead in the final quarter but normal service had been resumed.

Photos to follow

26th October BRACKNELL 58 BRIXHAM 0
It has been a while since anybody put so many points on against the Fishermen - mind you it has been some time since Brixham fielded such a makeshift side.
Being depleted by injuries and unavailabilities and forced to blood newcomers were not ideal; losing two experienced players to injury early on was unfortunate. A five-hour journey and hosts in form made the Brixham task even harder. None of the foregoing are excuses and the five tries that Bracknell scored in the final quarter when Brixham tired made the scoreline look far worse than it should have.
In the opening twenty minutes Brixham found themselves under almost unrelenting pressure but the line was resolutely defended. However, two offsides and the resulting penalty kicks left them six points behind at the end of the first quarter. When the first Brixham attack broke down with a poor pass the hosts hacked the ball through and Brixham were back under the cosh. The second Brixham attack ended in similar fashion and from the ensuing play Bracknell claimed the opening, converted, try. Brixham's third, and best, attacking period concluded with winger Tom Goodman hobbling off the field with a knee injury and on the stroke of half-time Bracknell extended their lead with a second converted try.
From the restart Brixham looked to reduce the twenty point deficit. A series of attacks broke down and the Fishermen struggled to create any momentum. A Bracknell try ten minutes into the second period put them further ahead but Brixham were continuing to press forward. Two 5 metre lineouts failed to finish with catch and drives and runs by forwards were often ending with players isolated and the ball turned over. Nothing was going right.
For the hosts nothing could, apparently, go wrong. A foot in touch by the Bracknell winger was not spotted by the touch-judge and his try was the first of five scored by the hosts in the final quarter. Excellent support play and good handling were the keys to unlocking the tiring Brixham defence.

19th October 2013 BRIXHAM 31 BARNSTAPLE 26
If you pay to watch Brixham play rugby this season you can be sure of getting your money's worth. Like a good film the story is in the ending and Brixham have taken delivering happy endings to a new level. Opponents go home wondering where the plot twist came from but in truth the Fishermen are playing for the whole eighty minutes and grabbing the spoils at the end.
On Saturday Brixham broke their duck by scoring their first bonus point of the season - a second, losing bonus point, eluded them when they secured victory in the last minute of the match.
In the first fifteen minutes the Barum looked determined to assert their dominance in this Devon derby. An interception gave them a try in the opening minutes. The conversion came back off the post but a penalty soon extended their lead and a second try followed when Brixham overthrew a lineout. Brixham were fifteen points down in as many minutes. Centre Tom McLean had been denied a try (forward pass) and outside-half Ben Lovell had limped off with a hamstring injury - the omens looked bad.
Ten minutes, and three tries later, and the picture had changed. Number 8 Jarryd Harris, playing his last game for the Fishermen before embarking on a professional rugby career in Italy, crashed through tacklers for the first. Winger Tom Goodman crossed for the second after a powerful run by prop Russ Morris had opened up the defence and fellow wing Jonny Brown ran around the defence for the third. Two conversions by scrum-half Andy Sandercock put Brixham 19-15 ahead. Barnstaple had the gap down to a single point with a penalty goal on the stroke of half-time.
Brixham played towards the Mudstone end in the second period and had soon increased their lead. Flanker Rhys Cattell's run pierced the defence and the ball was swiftly recycled to Harris (lurking in the centre) who powered through for his second try. Brixham now had a bonus point but the lead was back to a slender single point when the visitors engineered a lineout catch and drive.
Barnstaple were now enjoying the better of the play and Brixham were forced back on the defence. Midway through the half a penalty goal had put Barum back in front but, for all their efforts, there was no other scoring. Into the last minute. Some, but not much, extra time was likely. Barnstaple inexplicably put the ball into touch on halfway; Brixham secured the lineout and made ground through Cattell and Harris. Russ Morris charged over from 35 yards for a try. Sandercock converted and Brixham saw out the remaining time for the victory.

October 12th AVONMOUTH 14 BRIXHAM 16

Brixham maintained their record of failing to score a bonus point this season - in fact they are probably the only team in the National Leagues without one! They came close to losing this record however - trailing by five points with as many minutes remaining could have earned them one but a late try tipped the balance.
In the first half Brixham enjoyed much the better of the set pieces and the hosts were normally on the back foot. In the first minute Brixham had a slight scare when Avonmouth were awarded a penalty in front of the posts but the ball went wide. Brixham attacked and quickly took the lead when scrum-half Andy Sandercock drilled over a low drop-goal.
Lots of pressure by Brixham and stout defence by Avonmouth kept the scorer idle. Centre Matt Tichias went clear for a try midway through the half but was called back for a forward pass in the build-up. Brixham then disrupted the homesters scrum and won a penalty - Ben Lovell nailed it to double the lead to 6-0.
Both sides missed a penalty attempt as the first half came to a close; the incessant traffic noise from the nearby motorway did little to entertain either.
Avonmouth obviously like attacking towards the docks and the third quarter decidedly belonged to them as they had Brixham confined to their own half throughout. With no scores arising it fell to the final quarter to provide the excitement. Avonmouth eventually got reward for their efforts when an attack which started in midfield ended with a chip-kick, chase and touchdown under the posts. The conversion put them a point ahead.
From the restart Brixham recovered the ball; pressured Avonmouth and won a penalty on the 22. Lovell scored to give the Fishermen the most slender of leads. The hosts were straight back on the attack and when they were stopped short in the right corner the ball went across the park for a try wide left. With the conversion the Mouth were five points ahead.
Time was running out. Brixham went back on the offensive but when they were denied a try - held up over the line - went back for the penalty advantage being played. They took a scrum and from the ensuing play centre Tom Goodman broke through three tackles before grounding for a try. Lovell added the extras and the Fishermen defended their two point lead to the final whistle.
To be fair Avonmouth have been improving after a poor start to the season and Brixham are struggling with injuries and unavailabilities. For both sides things will get better.

5th October 2013 BRIXHAM 23 AMERSHAM 20
With the lead changing several times and the result in doubt until the final whistle this game had everything a neutral observer could have hoped for. For Amersham this was their longest away trip of the season. Though they came close to sinking the Fishermen it was Brixham errors that led to their tries and Amersham were under pressure in the final quarter.
After early attacks by Amersham were rebuffed, Brixham took the lead after ten minutes when Ben Lovell slotted a penalty goal. While the visitors' backs looked lively, Brixham continued to push forward. Unfortunately an interception enabled Amersham to race through for the opening try and conversion. Brixham were undaunted and within ten minutes had regained the lead with two tries in opposite corners. Centre Matt Tichias scored the first. After a rolling maul in midfield had the visitors back-pedalling the ball went out to the left where winger Matt Crosscombe found too little room to go over but crafted a non-standard pass inside for Tichias to touch down. The second try concluded several phases of pressure by Brixham. Winger Jonny Brown received the ball and created space for himself by chipping over the defence and winning the race to touch down. Lovell missed both conversions from close to the touchline but Brixham had a 13-7 lead.
Tit-for-tat attacks by both sides kept the spectators on the edge of their seats and as the half drew to a close Amersham came very close to the Brixham try line. With the defence firm the lead lasted to the break.
Ten minutes into the second half and Amersham were in the driving seat. A penalty goal in front of the posts culminated one attack and another concluded with Brixham kicking out of defence - only for the ball to be charged down and a converted try scored. Another penalty attempt five minutes later was unsuccessful and Brixham woke up to the reality of the situation. From a scrum in midfield flanker Jarryd Harris broke clear and was brought down metres short of the corner flag. Brixham recycled the ball and set up a maul which was pulled down as it crossed the try-line. The referee awarded a penalty try; Lovell had an easy conversion; Brixham had the lead back.
Twenty minutes remaining and the scoreline was 20-20 after a penalty goal to Amersham. In the final quarter Brixham began to get on top but could find few openings. With time nearly up a kickable penalty was turned down in favour of a lineout and the chance of a bonus point winning try. Amersham held firm the chance went. More attacks by the Fishermen brought another penalty four minutes into added time. Lovell kicked it to the delight of Brixham's fans but there was time for the restart and more nail-biting before the relief of the final whistle.

28th September 2013 WESTON-s-MARE 27 BRIXHAM 30
Weston has not been a particularly happy hunting ground in the past but the Fishermen enjoyed their trip to the seaside and got their season back on track with a deserved, but hard-fought, victory. In recent seasons Weston have been known for their large pack and the omens were not good when the Fishermen were pushed off their own ball at the first scrum. Brixham were not about to be steamrollered by Weston, however, and showed it by driving their hosts back over a ruck to steal possession and set up an attack that led to the first score - Ben Lovell slotting a penalty goal.
The Fishermen enjoyed the best of the play in the opening quarter but could find no way through; Weston looked dangerous on the counter-attack and on the 25 minute mark one of these took them over the try-line. The ball was held-up but from the resultant scrum Brixham conceded a penalty try. Having taken the lead the hosts then enjoyed a ten minute spell of superiority concluded by a penalty goal.
The closing minutes of the opening session saw Brixham back on the attack and a second Lovell penalty reduced the deficit. More attacks followed. On the stroke of half-time Brixham suffered a cruel blow. The ball was lost close to the Weston line; the homesters counter-attacked and while there might have been a hint of a forward pass en route touched down for a try. The conversion sent Brixham in at half-time trailing 17-6
The play in the second period was fairly evenly balanced. It took Brixham eight minutes to make up for the pre-interval disappointment. A strong run by prop Gareth Williams took play deep into Weston territory and a penalty to touch set up a classic lineout. With the pack reinforced by some backs Brixham drove over the line for a try. Lovell converted and landed a penalty goal minutes later. The Fishermen were now just a point behind.
A Weston penalty was scant reward for the attacks the Fishermen had repulsed and midway through the half the visitors got their noses back in front. An attack down the right took them close; the ball was spun out across to the left where No 8 Jarryd Harris drew the cover defence to allow winger Matt Crosscombe to cross and go close to the posts and ease Lovell's conversion task.
Brixham were ahead but there was still time for drama in the last ten minutes. Weston regained the lead when a series of attacks stretched the Brixham defence just a bit too far in the left corner but Brixham kept cool heads and were back on the attack. When a lineout catch and drive failed to push over the line scrum-half Andy Sandercock contrived a neat crosskick and Crosscombe dived to touch down. Sandercock converted and the game was nearly up for Weston. Increasingly desperate attempts to launch attacks failed and at the final whistle the Fishermen had netted a fine catch.

21st September 2013 BRIXHAM 10 REDINGENSIANS 30
Two poor results don't mean that Brixham have become a bad team - the victory over Newton Abbot showed that - but for some reason they have become more error-prone and predictable.
Redingensians' followers said their team had its best performance of the season but they still looked far from the promotion challengers they had been tipped as pre-season.
For most of the first half the Fishermen, playing uphill, had the better of the play. A penalty put them behind after five minutes but they seemed determined to prove coach Dan Parkes right by showing that they were "a winning side". Ten minutes later the ball was grounded over the try-line in the scoreboard corner but a foot in touch had it disallowed. Moments later several phases of attacking play brought more reward. A run by flanker Martin Browne made ground in the centre; his innovative over-the-shoulder pass was recovered by skipper Adam Thomas and the ball was recycled for No 8 Jarryd Harris to touch down in the shadow of the flagpole.
Ben Lovell added the conversion from wide out and slotted a penalty when a subsequent attack was stopped by a high tackle.
This was the high-point of the game for Brixham. A penalty goal reduced the visitors' deficit and a lucky bounce from an overthrown lineout led to a converted try on the stroke of half-time and a 13-10 lead.
A minute into the second period the lead was up to ten points when the Rams ran in a second try. For much of the remainder of the game Brixham were on the back foot with astute kicking keeping them penned back. When they attacked they were, too often, penalised for not releasing the ball and attacks seemed unco-ordinated. One attack ended with Brixham knocking on; Rams recovered it and with the ref playing advantage their centre scampered through and headed for the try line. A smothering, last ditch, tackle by Matt Crosscombe brought him down but from the ensuing play a try resulted.
Rams scored their fourth, and final, try from a similarly unpromising position. A 22 drop-out was not recovered by Brixham. The Rams gratefully ran the ball down the touchline for the touchdown.

14th September 2013 OLD REDCLIFFIANS 31 BRIXHAM 7
An early start; traffic problems en route, a new away strip and the hangover effects of last week's euphoria combined to produce a lack-lustre performance by the Fishermen. Some debatable refereeing decisions did not aid their cause and finding themselves 14 points down after five minutes was not the sort of start they needed.
There was more than a hint of obstruction involved in Old Redcliffians first try and the second seemed to involve a knock-on. Both relied on poor defensive tackling. Despite the early setbacks the Fishermen began to get back into the game. A penalty goal extended the Reds lead but Brixham were on the scoreboard when flanker Martin Browne went over for a try virtually unopposed from a short-range lineout. Just before the break he was denied a second try after he went through a Reds' lineout too early.
17-7 down at the interval and playing uphill in the second period the Fishermen were committed to attack but within ten minutes had fallen further behind. Running the ball out of defence a knock-on gave it to the opposition who gratefully touched down for a thirds try. Whatever Brixham did got them no rewards and Reds eschewed several kickable penalties as they went in search of the bonus point for a fourth try. With their scrum on top this came eventually. Brixham continued to attack until the bitter end but could find no way through. Old Reds deserved their victory on the day but the travelling Brixham supporters departed with spirits deflated by the refereeing they had seen. A view undoubtedly not shared by the homesters!.

More photos to follow

7 September 2013 BRIXHAM 35 NEWTON ABBOT 24
The Fishermen got their league season underway with victory in the local derby. The opening of newly refurbished facilities at Astley Park and the prospect of a tight tussle in the late summer sun attracted a good crowd to the game who were not disappointed at the rugby fare on offer.
Playing towards the Mudstone end with the breeze at their backs, Brixham had the better of the opening exchanges and took the lead when Ben Lovell slotted a penalty. It was a short-lived lead. The All Whites attacked and a chip over the defence was gratefully gathered in and grounded for the opening try. The conversion was good.
Lovell soon reduced the deficit with his second penalty and put Brixham back in the lead with a dropped goal (with a little help from the Newton player it bounced off en route to the posts. With neither side able to dominate proceedings it seemed that the scoreboard would not remain static for long - and so it proved. A rolling maul by the Newton forwards trundled forwards, sideways and over the line for the visitors' second converted try and recaptured the lead. Brixham went back on the attack and winger Matt Crosscombe powerfully evaded the attentions of the defenders to touch down at arms length for the first Brixham try. Lovell converted and Brixham were back in the lead. On the stroke of halftime his boot added another three points with a penalty goal and the Fishermen led 19-14 at the break.
Two more penalty goals from Lovell extended the Brixham lead but the All Whites were not about to roll over and struck back with two tries midway through the second half. The first came from their forwards who eventually penetrated the Brixham defence at close range; the second to the backs who stretched the defence too far and found a gap. With both conversions missed the lead was down to a single point and Brixham supporters were getting nervous. Pressure from their forwards took the Fishermen close to the line and a 5 metre lineout brought the eventual relief. The catch and drive effort was reinforced by backs joining in the maul; Newton did the same in their effort to repel the attack but prop Russ Morris got the touchdown and Lovell added the extras.
Ten minutes remaining and the game could still have gone either way. Brixham's attacking kept Newton pegged back and gave them few opportunities. Another close range lineout routine could have extended the lead further but the ball was "held up" and only a last minute penalty from Lovell (his sixth) troubled the scoreboard,
A satisfactory start to the season for Brixham but results elsewhere suggest that it will be an interesting one with many surprises in the coming months.

31st August 2013 CORNISH ALL BLACKS 37 BRIXHAM 14
It had been several years since Brixham last visited Polson Bridge but the welcome was as warm as ever and the match provided the test that both teams wanted before their league campaigns start next week.
The All Blacks coaches were delighted with the result - feeling that their side had jelled well. Despite the scoreline Brixham can also be pleased as they had much the better of the opening exchanges and the defence coped well with the pressure.
In the opening quarter all of the Fishermen's efforts were in vain but only a penalty goal by the homesters separated the sides. A lineout catch and drive, followed by a flowing backs move, brought them two tries in the space of five minutes and the comfort of a 17 point lead. Before the break, however, Brixham were on the scoreboard . Number 8 Martin Browne broke off the back of a scrum 10 metres out and broke through tackles before finding winger Matt Crosscombe in support to finish off - touching down at a stretch. Ben Lovell added the conversion on the stroke of half-time.
The third quarter saw the All Blacks pressing on the Brixham line. Reward for their efforts came from two penalty goals as they could find no way over the whitewash. When Brixham attacked the All Blacks succeeded in disrupting the lineouts; preventing them from creating a scoring platform. With just over ten minutes remaining the Fishermens forwards were rewarded - the hard way!. From a five metre scrum they pushed their hosts backwards and earned a penalty try. Andy Sandercock had the straightforward conversion.
This was a wake-up call for the hosts and in the time remaining the All Blacks' quick handling and support play brought two more tries and put a gloss on the scoreline.
The number of penalties at scrums as both sides tried to get to grips with the new laws was a feature of the game. This issue looks fair to provide many talking points in the coming weeks.

17 August 2013 BRIXHAM v CAMBORNE - Pre-season friendly

The summer bowled a real googly at Brixham's first warm-up match in the shape of driving wind and rain. For the visitors the game was marred when centre Steve Kenward was knocked unconscious. The game was held up for over 30 minutes after Kenward collided with his team mate George Hill, he was taken away in an ambulance but we hear he is ok.
Both teams used the opportunity to use all the players available to them and with some senior players missing the Brixham lineup varied throughout the game.
In the opening minutes Brixham missed two scoring chances but within five minutes Matt Crosscombe had gone over in the corner for the opening try. A second try in the opposite corner extended the lead but Camborne came back strongly and gave Brixham some tackling practice. A third Brixham try just before the Camborne injury gave Brixham a 15-0 lead before the extended half-time break.
The third quarter brought two tries apiece as the teams practised dealing with the autumnal weather and rang the changes on their lineups. The fourth went to Brixham with a further two tries (to one) and both sides finished relatively content with their performances at this stage in their preparations.
All of Brixham's newcomers and returnees showed up strongly and the Fishermen will be looking to build on the performance before the League campaign begins in September.

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