Leyla Hicks shines as Leah Patch makes welcome return from injury.


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Sidmouth Under-9s had made the short trip to Withycombe with 20 players for their latest action.

Two groups were arranged for 7-a-side games with the hosts.

Team Patch were first up on the slightly bigger pitch and started very brightly taking the game to Withycombe and working well as a team. There was a notable strong run by Henry Tanner up the right wing followed by a deft offload to Lucas Vicary for a very satisfying try as well as great interplay between Jack Bell and Jack Ponting.

Leah Patch made a welcome return from injury playing her first game of contact, and of the season, making some good tackles and gaining ground with the ball in hand which was great to see. The effort of the team paid off and Sidmouth were worthy winners.

The second game was a similar affair with the previous matches ‘Player of the Week’, Laurence Coles, backing up his good performance with more great tackles and running play while Oliver Marchant continued to make a nuisance of himself with the ball, relishing in the physical contest. Once again, Sidmouth were worthy winners and could have been even more out of sight if the ball had been passed to the players in space out wide – something to work on in training!

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Team Wall started on the slightly smaller pitch and were also quick out of the blocks. Noah Clifton made his presence known immediately with a well taken try and Alex Harvey and Isaac Wall did very well coming off the bench, both improving their tackles and passing when in attach. The defence of the whole team was exceptional keeping the Withycombe attack at bay for long periods of time, although there were a few loose tackles that we can work on in training, and Sidmouth had another game in the bag.

The second game was a similar affair with lots of good play and few mistakes – the ball was only dropped once! – However, some players did run off the pitch a couple of times which was a shame.

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The defensive pressure told though and Withycombe were forced into errors that we were able to capitalise on. Joe Ford made good inroads moving up the pitch and managed to offload to teammates at the right time.

With the hosts legs getting tired with no substitutes to help, Sidmouth again finished strong to seal a fourth win of the day.

After a post match lunch provided by the hosts the Sidmouth coaches reflected on a good morning’s rugby.

One said: “What was very pleasing to see was that even with frequent substitutions the kids continued to work as a team well and keep their heads, but the stand out player this week was Leyla Hicks for determined tackling, consistent defensive and attacking support and commitment to the team – well done Leyla!”

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