Sidmouth 2nd XV feel the pain in narrow defeat to Brixham

As any sportsman will tell you it hurts to lose, it also hurts to lose by one point, it hurts even more to lose by one point in the last two minutes of a game and it hurts a lot to lose when it was the best team that lost, writes Robert Baugh.

And so it was at for Sidmouth Quins on Saturday when they hosted Brixham Seconds at the Blackmore, in front of a busy crowd including the Club’s Patrons who, having enjoyed their Christmas lunch watched a closely contested game full of endeavour. The game didn’t start well for Sidmouth as the visitors had the perfect start, with just five minutes gone a rare piece of slack defending allowed a Brixham forward a free run to the line resulting in a try in the corner. Despite the conversion attempt going wide Brixham kept the momentum going with another try in the opposite corner from a long miss pass and some efficient running from their backs. The conversion was again unsuccessful, but some amongst the Sidmouth faithful were beginning to wonder whether this game was to be a repeat of the 89-0 thrashing suffered last season. However, Sidmouth skippered confidently by Chris Otway had other thoughts and started to join the fray with both forwards and backs producing encouraging passages of play. For the first time this season, Sidmouth’s scrum dominated proceedings despite giving away height and weight to the opposition, thus giving Damon Morris at scrum half platforms to attack with. Sidmouth showed control for the last 20 minutes of the first half without reward save for a missed penalty attempt. On half time against the run of play the visitor’s right wing showed his pace scoring an unconverted try in the corner giving a 15 point lead.

A half-time talk from Colin Nice focussed all the players on the task in hand – the game was winnable by using the strength of the forwards and playing off quick ball. The response was immediate, resulting in Sidmouth winning possession and territory and although playing up the slope the increase in pace and by using the blindside intelligently they controlled play.

A series of rucks ended with a penalty, centre Harry Chesterton coming onto the ball at pace raced in under the post from 30 metres, Cam Grainger converting. Keeping the pressure on Cam Grainger scored after charging down an attempted clearance kick which kindly rebounded over the try line, he also added the extras. The Quins were deservedly ahead on the scoreboard after full back Jay Wright took play down the blind side following a scrum and his timed pass put away wing Harry West who, with much to do, showed a clean pair of heels scoring wide out. The crowd, sensing a win, pushed the Quins on and with two minutes to go it was only a matter of running down the clock however the cruel masters of fate saw otherwise and from a turnover Brixham created an overlap allowing the right wing in at the corner. With the conversion missed again and one minute to go Sidmouth still hadn’t given up hope and threw themselves into the re-start, a bungled kick to touch by Brixham kept the ball alive only for it to fall to a second row forward who shuffled it into touch. Sidmouth had won the second half 19-5, but the poor start to the game caught up with them in the end to leave them bitterly disappointed after the narrowest of defeats.

On Saturday the side entertain Tiverton at the Blackmore.

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