Launceston 44 Exmouth 5

FLANKER George Bone notched a hat-trick as Launceston ended a four-match losing streak by dispatching Exmouth 44-5 at Polson Bridge on Saturday.

The hosts led 20-0 at the break courtesy of a James Tucker penalty followed by tries from Cam Fogden, Todd Crofts and Bone.

The All Blacks were even better in the second 40 as they kept possession almost throughout despite being against the wind, and were rewarded with scores from skipper Tom Sandercock, Tom Bottoms and Bone’s late brace which give his hat-trick.

Exmouth scored five minutes before the end through full-back Fin Marks.

The hosts were again missing a number of players, but it didn’t show.

Influential number eight Brandon Rowley was only fit enough for the bench and replaced by Charlie Tummon, while Adam Collings’ absence meant Sandercock was back at scrum-half.

Todd Crofts lined up at fly-half with youngster Jamie Chapman recalled on the left wing, while Mitch Hawken was at prop in place of the injured Ethan Pearce-Cowley.

The game was just four minutes old when the visitors were done for offside, and full-back James Tucker added a simple penalty (3-0).

Although visiting fly-half George Meadows missed a kick of his own, a home try was coming and it arrived on 12 minutes. Bone picked up following an overthrown Exmouth lineout, and made it into the 22. A few phases later and the ball was worked out left for Fogden to squeeze through a couple of tackles. The conversion was missed.

For the next 15 minutes, Launceston fell into the trap of trying to play too much rugby.

However they eventually got back on track and were rewarded close to the half hour. Bone again went on a storming run that saw him tackled a metre short of the line, but Crofts was on hand to collect and fall over the line. Tucker’s kick was good this time for 15-0.

A third try would have put the icing on the cake and it arrived with the last play of the half with Bone this time the scorer.

Despite being 20-0 up, Launceston knew they had to keep their foot on the pedal, and did so, keeping the ball for extended periods of time.

And they got their reward ten minutes in as Sandercock dummied at a breakdown before running in from just outside the Exmouth 22.

With the bonus point in the bag, the home side could relax and they kept applying the pressure.

On the hour, Bottoms stretched out his lanky frame to dot the ball down from close range, before Bone grabbed his second on 72 minutes.

Prop Alex Bartlett broke through before offloading to Bone to go the rest of the way. Tucker added his second two-pointer for 37-0.

Exmouth ensured they didn’t leave with a zero to their name with a decent try of their own.

Left-winger Jake Inglis broke through some poor tackling before offloading to Marks to cross.

However the hosts had the last laugh with the final play of the game as prop Cian Baker’s fine run saw him pop a pass to Bone for his hat-trick. Tucker added the extras for good measure.

Launceston now have the weekend off before next Saturday’s final league game of the season against Ivybridge.

LAUNCESTON: James Tucker, Ollie Bebbington, Ben Bryant, Cam Fogden, Jamie Chapman, Todd Crofts, Tom Sandercock (capt); Mitch Hawken, Levent Bulut, Alex Bartlett, Dan Goldsmith, Albert Horne, Tom Bottoms, George Bone, Charlie Tummon. Replacements: Cian Baker, Brandon Rowley, Archie Dinnis.

Tries: Fogden, Crofts, Bone (3), Sandercock, Bottoms; Convs: Tucker (3); Pens: Tucker.

Launceston man of the match: George Bone.