Wanderers beaten by Exeter Braves in A League final

James Wilson was in action for the Wanderers at Sandy Park (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)
James Wilson was in action for the Wanderers at Sandy Park (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

The Wanderers suffered disappointment in the final of the Aviva A League as they fell to a 55-25 defeat against Exeter Braves at Sandy Park on Monday afternoon.

The Saints second-string, who beat Saracens Storm in the semi-final at Franklin’s Gardens last week, were 25-24 up when Tom Collins scored two minutes after the break.

But Exeter stormed back, scoring 31 unanswered points in a blistering final 32 minutes to snatch the silverware.

The Wanderers had included plenty of experienced faces in their side, with James Wilson, Jamie Elliott, JJ Hanrahan and Michael Paterson all in the starting 15.

But they were to fall behind after just two minutes as Michel Campagnaro broke a couple of tackles and powered over.

The Wanderers responded 10 minutes later through an Elliott effort but Brett Sturgess restored the Braves’ lead with another score.

In a see-saw encounter, Rory Hutchinson replied three minutes later, but Elvis Taione got over again for the Braves, with former Saints fly-half Will Hooley converting.

Reece Marshall hit back two minutes later and a successful conversion and penalty from Hanrahan put the Wanderers in front for the first time.

But the Braves were determined not to go in behind at the break and Kai Horstmann dotted down, with Hooley’s conversion making it 24-20 at half-time.

Collins claimed a score soon after the restart, but it was to be one-way traffic in the opposite direction from then on.

Exeter scored five more tries, through Tom Hendrickson, Ben White, Horstmann, Byron McGuigan and Sam Simmonds, and lifted the trophy on home turf.

Wanderers: Wilson (Packman 56); Elliott (Duchesne 74), Hutchinson, Olver, Collins; Hanrahan (Furbank 65), Kessell; Beesley (Hobbs-Awoyemi 56), Marshall (Williams 55), Denman (Parkins 56); Paterson (c), Onojaife; Nutley, Ludlam, Bennett (Fish 65).