Devonport Services 10, Sidmouth Quins 16

Sidmouth Quins opened the second half of the season with a fine win away at Devonport Services in a closely fought contest, writes Robert Baugh.

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This was a match that Services expected to win after their victory at The Blackmore in the first encounter of the season, however, even though the fleet was obviously in, Sidmouth travelled with intent. The Rectory ground, in excellent condition despite the January storms, produced open rugby from the start. Devonport forwards from the first scrum had the upper hand, but with Tom Reed’s hooking prowess supported by an ambitious pack the Quins secured reasonable ball, even taking a couple against the head. In the backs Sidmouth held the advantage especially in the first half, varying play with good use of the ball, wing Dwight Pansegrouw opened the scoring with an unconverted try after changing the line of attack to wrong foot the defence. Adam Squance popped over a penalty from a ruck infringement in front of the posts which was nearly cancelled out but the Services kick fortunately just drifted wide. The home side were not short of pace, as their centre showed when he broke through a couple of tackles and scored wide out, which was converted from the touch line. Sidmouth however, were undeterred and Jevon Astley-Jones, playing his best game of the season at centre, caught Devonport napping when he attacked their dog legged defence and scored a well taken try after a 30-metre run which sent Quins into the break with a 13-7 lead.

The second half was again even-steven with the Quins all round defence staying solid and showing glimpses of what was possible in attack, however rustiness from not playing for a month was evident. Services reduced the deficit with a penalty midway through the half, but missed a vital one hitting the upright which would have made it 13-all; the final score came from the boot of Adam Squance whose second penalty 10 minutes from the end made sure of the win.

Cameron Grainger took Man of The Match award (and the coveted pink T-shirt), with a sparkling all round display at scrum half, his quick hands kept the ball flowing and he probably came out on top in the tackle count.

With Sidmouth still coping with more than their fair share of injuries it was also good to see Dan Prettejohn back in the fold after more than a season away.

On Saturday the Quins host Newton Abbot at the Blackmore with the game kicking off at 2.30pm.

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