LUCTONIANS maintained their perfect start to the 2023/24 campaign with a 21-33 away victory at second placed side Exeter University, to tighten their early grip on top spot in the National League 2 West division.

The Herefordshire men did not have it all their own way against an always threatening opponent, but throughout the game looked to have too much power and nous for the young student outfit.

It was Exeter who fired the first shot though, after just a minute, when an inside ball to the dangerous Edward Volley saw the centre dance around the cover defence for an easy converted score, with fly half Jack Park adding the extras.

Woken into gear after that start Lucs began to exert physical dominance at set piece and began to pick up penalties as a result.

From two of these penalties the Black and Whites opted to scrum and on both occasions, on eight and 24 minutes, pushed the students over the line for number 8 Caleb Montgomery to dot down at the back of the scrum. Louis Silver added both conversions for a 14-7 lead.

Lucs passed-up a couple of try-scoring opportunities as the half wore on and were made to pay as the Students would score through the other centre Woody Pugh with the final act of the half, Park converting to tie things up at the break. 

The second half began in similar fashion with the visitors largely on top of proceedings, but with Exeter always showing dangerous glimpses.

Through the third quarter of the game Lucs converted this dominance and scored three tries in 11 minutes to take the game away from their hosts.

Ben Link went over for his ninth score this season, at the back of another dominant driving maul on 45 minutes.

Not to be outdone Charlie Grimes also went to nine for the season, as he picked up a loose ball on 53 minutes before racing his way over 50 metres to go over for another try.

As the visitors then pushed Exeter off their own scrum ball deep in their own 22, the ball was moved to powerful centre Lewis Parkes, and he bashed his way over. Silver converted two of these three scores and by 57 minutes Lucs now lead 14-33.

The University side pressured the visitors during a decent 10 minute period, in which full back Hugo Ellerby went over for a converted score after a number of phases deep in the opposition 22. Park converting once more for 21-33 with 15 minutes left.

However, Lucs showed enough composure and smarts to take the sting out of the game, controlling the last 10 minutes in territory and possession.

Luctonians are back at home this coming Saturday when they host bottom side Newport, before a two-week break.