The Blues made the lengthy journey to the west country to play winners of the South West leagues in the 1/4 finals of the AoC league Playoff.
The pitch was well presented, substantial in size, with the wind supporting the team playing from the river end in the first half. Worthing played into the wind in the first period and started much the better taking the game to Exeter through multi phase play. The Blues camped on the opposition line and remained patient before Forster went over from close for the five points and Sanderson added the extras for a 7-0 Blues lead.
Unfortunately for the Blues a great restart from Exeter in the windy conditions resulted in a knock on and turn over. Some nice build up play working from right to left created a try scoring opportunity in the far corner and it was 7-5 Blues moving into the fifteen minute.
More excellent pressure built from the Raiders taking them deep into the Exeter 22m, with this time the sniping Linfield nothing the first of his brace on the day. Sanderson unable to add the extras and Worthing lead 12-5.
Good pressure again was being applied and Worthing gained a penalty 35m out just to the right of the posts. On a normal day a bread and butter nudge, today however with the wind blowing across the kick from right to left and against, it was no done deal. Up stepped Sanderson for the strike and it sailed through, chalking up another 3points. Blues 15-5 up at the half.
The second half started with Worthing matriculating the ball up the field adding significant pressure on the Exeter forwards at scrum and line out. This continued and eventually the Blues were in a position to attack from the scrum from 15m out and 10m in from touch. MoM Holmes broke from 8 and drew the first two defenders giving the nimble footed Linfield enough grass to dance down the touch line and dive into the corner. Sanderson again adding the extras for a 22-5 lead entering the final 15mins of the match.
By now the pitch was getting heavier, players were fatiguing and mistakes being made. This period is where the home side sprang into life building phases of their own and moving the ball up field. The efforts aided by some poor decision making by Worthing in and around the ruck and back foot. Exeter scored their second try and well deserved it was with the door still slightly ajar it was still game on.
Good restart work and pressure in the home 22m provided Dingle with an opportunity to complete from the try line. This immediately preceded by two very good catch and drive tries that drew the yellow card for the home side. 29-10 Blues.
The last 5mins was all Exeter with momentum being gained and gathered all too late to challenge the result but another very well deserved try resulted from continued endeavour. 29-15 Blues was the final score in this tough and challenging encounter.
In truth Exeter struggled throughout to gain the set piece ball to allow their talented backs to influence the game. Worthing dominated the forward encounters and as a result the home side did extremely well to compete as they did. A very good rugby encounter and Exeter again were excellent hosts.
Tries: Linfield 2, Forster, Dingle
Cons: Sanderson 3
MoM: Freddie Holmes