Sidford pitches hold up when so many others are unplayable

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Wessex. Ref shsp 02-16TI 9096. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Wessex. Ref shsp 02-16TI 9096. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The value of the major improvements to the Sidford rugby pitches was illustrated last weekend when three games were staged there despite torrential rain on Friday night and Saturday, writes Terry O’Brien.

In the first game on Saturday afternoon the Quins entertained Wessex first XV, who currently lead Devon League One with eight wins out of eight.

In wet and windy conditions, Wessex settled first with their heavier pack proving effective in the conditions. They took an early lead with a well-struck penalty by the fly half.

Sidmouth gradually adapted to the conditions and used the wind advantage to kick for position. Half backs Jonny Hammill and Adam Squance both kicked well to gain position, but most pressure was created by Ben Pratt kicking from the outside centre position. With the defence committed, he exploited the space behind well.

The Quins spent much of the second quarter in the Wessex half and eventually took the lead with a well-worked try on the half hour. The forwards drove forward in a maul before Dan Ledger peeled off and burst through the first line of defence. He found Scott Savage in support to finish the move off. The try was unconverted.

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Just before half-time Adam Squance kicked a penalty to make the score 8-3 at the break.

Despite playing against the wind, the Quins continued to dominate as their backs came more into the game. They soon increased their lead when Ryan Davies touched down after good approach work by backs and forwards. Adam Squance added the conversion.

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Rory OBrien almost increased the lead when he hacked on a loose ball from halfway but the ball just crossed the dead ball line as he chased up.

As the rain returned midway through the half, Wessex regained momentum. They scored a an unconverted try when a forward crashed over from close range after good driving play.

Despite continued pressure from the visitors, the Sidmouth defence held firm for a well-deserved victory.

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