Double Devon champions

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:36 17 June 2010

Sidmouth RFC under-13s, not content with being 15-a-side Devon champions, a first for a Sidmouth junior side, achieved an historic double by winning the Devon Sevens festival at Brixham, on Sunday.

Sidmouth RFC under-13s, not content with being 15-a-side Devon champions, a first for a Sidmouth junior side, achieved an historic double by winning the Devon Sevens festival at Brixham, on Sunday. The Devon festival was always going to be an added bonus for the U13s, as they had concentrated purely on winning the 15-a-side competition. With only one hour of sevens training, the squad found themselves in a relatively tough group. Brixham were dispatched efficiently in the first match 35-7 with Brynley Henrickson opening the scoring. A strong Tavistock side, who went on to win the Plate, were battled into submission 21-7. Occasional mistakes due to rustiness were inevitable, and the coaches were not immune. Against Exmouth, Sidmouth were cruising 21-0 at half time, and the coaches made the wrong substitutions. They substituted their two best defensive players to save their energy for later rounds. Exmouth scored from the kick-off and the score ended 21-21. Sidmouth learnt rapidly and thereafter did not concede a point in the rest of the tournament. A weakened Ivybridge were comprehensively beaten 35-0 in the pool decider with Finn Cawthera outstanding. A semi-final against strong pool winners Kingsbridge, who beat Devonport, saw Sidmouth go up to a level previously unseen in the tournament. Sidmouth scored freely, but the match highlights were a brilliant tap tackle by Jay Wright and a remarkable sprint back by Patrick Lee to save two tries early on. In the second half Isaac Radford shone and scored, showing newly found pace. Sidmouth cruised in to the final 33-0. This was against Barnstaple and Sidmouth by now were becoming experts in the art of sevens play. Gone were the harem-scarem 15-a-side tactics of the first few matches.Sidmouth played with a composure not normally seen in this age group. Barnstaple were simply overwhelmed by the magnificent rugby. Captain Olly Blyth (3 tries) and Alex Dunn (1 try) were awesome and had a telepathic understanding, by now scoring at will. Unfortunately, Sidmouth had lost two forwards to injury. Connor Male stepped in superbly at hooker. He had a storming match, and deservedly scored in the corner. Gavin Pearson, commanding throughout the tournament, added another, to seal a memorable performance. Sidmouth won with an astonishing score of 42-0, with the referee playing shortened halves to save the score line. All 11 players should be incredibly proud of themselves for producing perfect sevens rugby, gaining praise from the referee, who, almost lost for words, called them a 'fantastic team'. l Due to their phenomenal achievements this season, Sidmouth U13s have been asked by the club to be the ball boys at the Chiefs' important play-off match this Saturday at the Blackmore.


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