TOPSHAM’s backs proved too hot to handle as Bude were well beaten at Bonfire Field.

Bude arrived in Exeter on the back of a convincing victory over North Tawton but struggled to get going from the start as their usually dominant pack were contained by the hosts.

The visitors started the better, pinning the hosts in their own 22 in the opening exchanges, however a penalty kick to the corner was sliced into the dead zone, allowing Topsham to clear their lines. That set the tone for the rest of the game as Topsham led 18-0 at half-time thanks to three unconverted tries.

Bude decided to kick a lot, but their chase proved ineffective, which allowed Topsham’s dangerous backline to run it back.

The Cornishmen did pull a try back in typical fashion ten minutes into the second-half when scrum-half Olly Mounce finished off a driving maul. However Topsham continued to find space and scored three times in the next 20 minutes.

Bude grabbed a second with ten minutes to go through stand-in hooker Joe Wilson after he peeled off a driving maul, before Topsham crossed for a seventh time before the end. Saunders was successful with all four of his second-half kicks.

Bude’s player/coach Angus Hodges admitted they were outplayed.

“We knew we were going to be in a battle, especially out wide, and we weren’t good enough. They’ve got a big wide pitch and like to use it. They’ve got some decent backs while our strengths are much more forward-orientated. We knew it’d be a similar game to the Truro one (32-28 defeat), where it would come down to who could play their style of game better. But unfortunately this time we didn’t dominate their forwards like their backs did ours.”

Bude, who remain fifth, one point ahead of Topsham, go to second-placed Paignton on Saturday to face the only side that has turned them over on home soil.

Hodges said: “Realistically we need to get back to being strong in defence, especially after this week. They’ll be pretty strong across the park, so we can’t afford to show any weakness anywhere, although that can be easier said than done. It’ll be a difficult challenge for us but hopefully we can get a couple players back and improve from Topsham.

“I may look to change a couple of things, but we’ll see how we go.”