Sidmouth II power to deserved success at home to Cullompton II

Sidmouth II 36, Cullompton II 17 With the welcome return of a couple of Quins’ ‘Old Boys’ Sidmouth welcomed Cullompton II to Sidford with real optimism having won two of their three previous outings, writes Robert Baugh.

Adam Howe making his first outing of the season and 75 per cent of Beau Hendrickson, also on his debut for the season, added to the core of players that is turning Sidmouth Quins into an effective team and also an enjoyable group to play with.

The game might not have been a pretty spectacle, but it was an effective display of winning against a larger and more experienced Cullompton second string. In what is becoming a habit Sidmouth went 7-0 up within two minutes of the kick-off with Howe, on the wing, scoring in the corner after good hands moved the ball quickly through the backline and full back Adam Squance converted.

A somewhat surprised Cullompton team settled down and slowly got themselves into the game resulting in 20 minutes of evenly balanced play with both teams both threatening and defending in equal measure. An infringement by Cullompton allowed Sidmouth to extend their lead with a well taken penalty by Squance. Against the run of play the Cullompton number-eight took all by surprise by outpacing everyone to score from a scrum on half way, the try was unconverted, but it got the visitors back into the contest and half-time arrived with Sidmouth 10-5 to the good.

Without the benefit of detailed analysis at half time the team were given two things to improve; their structure and their discipline!

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Both were heeded and the second half could not have started better with flanker Ryan Davies stealing away from a maul for a 30-metre dash for the line with only the fullback to beat.

Unfortunately, the 15 didn’t fall for the Ali-shuffle but Davies, remembering a long lost skill, passed the ball to a somewhat surprised prop Tony Martin who got the ball over the line and Adam Squance again added the extras.

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Cullompton then rallied with their best spell of the game as their left wing took the ball between his centres to race over unopposed for a converted try, bringing them back to within a score, Cully then piled on the pressure, but the Quins all round defence proved to be sound.

Sidmouth, perhaps sensing the game was slipping away, moved up a gear with centre Dom Hawke gathering a loose ball on halfway, drawing two defenders and putting the elusive running wing Harry Shayler away on a mazy run ending under the posts, converted again by Squance.

Inspirational Skipper Stu Bickerstaff playing at number-eight started and finished the next try by going the direct route from 40-metres out after a quick tap penalty, which Squance converted making the game safe.

Cullompton showed resilience with their wing scoring his second try for their last points.

The Quins dominated the final period and again a penalty quickly taken by Bickerstaff saw Adam Squance over for a try which he then converted.

This was a display of some basic rugby, Tony Martin catching every restart safely giving the Quins a platform to attack, Beau Hendrickson playing a technically excellent game at tight head when he perhaps would have preferred playing flanker and intelligent use of a fast running set of backs.

The overall result however, was due to hard work from the whole squad and particularly from teenagers Tom Reed and Harry Shaylor to the slightly more aged Rog Goulding and Rob Cruze which was recognised by the crowd staying till the final whistle.

On Saturday Brixham away will be another stern test but if all this group of players make the journey another win is not beyond possibility.

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