Exeter University U16 League Final

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Sidmouth RFC U16s 13 , Exeter Saracens 0

The two best sides of the15 contesting the University League met in the final at Crediton last Thursday and the outcome was a fast, physical, skilful and exciting game.

The Sidmouth win was founded on good preparation and attitude and relied on an outstanding performance by the forwards who took control and produced sufficient quality ball for the talented Sidmouth backs. The forwards’ performance was lead by the front row of Welsford, Rutland and Haydon Down, who was strong under the kick-off.

from the resulting offensive maul, Toomey kicked cross-field where Faulkner was within inches of opening the scoring - this play set-up Sidmouth to dominate the opening exchanges. Working hard to keep good field position, tight defence and great teamwork contained Saracens and Sidmouth started to get half-chances and sniffs of a score.

This sustained pressure created an opening on the left where Charlie Cotton was worked into a narrow channel to burst through and put Sidmouth into a deserved halftime lead.

From the restart Kearn, Gilby, Carlisle, Perchard-Richards and Headon raised their games and, by closing down space, forced mistakes in the opposition who were having to chase the game.

As the second half wore on Sidmouth won a long range penalty which Toomey confidently converted to create a two score lead. Saracens now responded with an intense period of pressure and kept possession through multiple phases in the Sidmouth 22.

Led by their captain Theo Thomson, with support from Watts, Wright and Little, Saracens piled into Sidmouth who withheld to force a turnover and an opportunity to break out.

At the heart of this crucial defensive phase were half-backs Toomey and Goddard who repeatedly contained the Saracens runners and organised and dominated the space close to each breakdown.

Having started the better side, Sidmouth finished in style when Jack Faulkner attacked the blindside then cut into midfield with the support of Wells-Burr and Locke, to link with Harry Thomas who was able to glide-in and seal the victory.

● In 24 games this season the U16s have now scored over 1000 points and conceded just 270. The squad of 25 have developed and matured and are all capable of stepping-up to play Colts and Senior rugby.

They fully deserve this league win and an outstanding season now concludes on Sunday May 6 at Sandy Park in the Devon Shield Final against Kingsbridge.

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