Sidmouth lift the Under-14 Devon Cup

The Sidmouth Under-14 squad and coaching staff at Sandy Park for the Devon Cup Final

The Sidmouth Under-14 squad and coaching staff at Sandy Park for the Devon Cup Final - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth 22, Topsham 19 Sidmouth Under-14s left it late, but emerged worthy winners of the Devon Cup, writes Chris Robinson.

The result does not portray the full story; it is not often in life that you literally jump for joy, but this final was one such occasion!

The final was played on the Exeter Chiefs pitch and what a privilege for all the boys to play there.

Topsham made a bright start, catching their own kick-off to put Sidmouth under tremendous pressure. A charged-down kick led to their first try followed by a superb touch-line conversion.

Sidmouth were clearly up against it and tried to play their natural game, but, in spite of being dominant in the scrum, little mistakes kept handing back possession and Topsham took advantage to score again.

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Sidmouth upped the intensity of their game, camped on Topsham’s line during which time both Syradd and Wright were a whisker away from scoring.

The pressure eventually told! Wright burst through, offloaded to Counsell and he crossed for the final score of the first half.

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After the break disaster struck when Dunn and Counsell clashed heads and Dunn had to go off. A wayward Sidmouth kick went to the Topsham winger and, with 20 minutes remaining, Sidmouth trailed 19-5.

The remaining time was halved and then Sidmouth got the break their endeavour deserved! A late, high tackle, on Wright led to a penalty and also served to fire up the team. From the line-out Syradd powered through the middle, passed to Moore who in turn fed Wright before Counsell finished the move off. Belief flooded through the Sidmouth ranks and, from the re-start the forwards secured quick ball, the half backs linked well and when the ball arrived with Counsell he crossed for his hat-trick try.

With three minutes remaining Sidmouth trailed by just four points. Topsham tried to pin them back, but from the Sidmouth 22, Down made a break, passed to Robinson who passed to Kennaugh and he drove forward where Wright was on hand for the off-load, and when he passed the ball to Counsell the hat-trick man was tackled just in Topsham’s half. As he fell to the floor he spotted the white flash of Wright’s scrum cap and the ball was taken on by Man of the Match Wright who sprinted 40-metres to score the winning try under the posts. Allen slotted the conversion, Sidmouth caught the restart and retained possession through to the final whistle greeted by spontaneous leaps of joy that were instinctive and ecstatic!

Sport is so compelling, because you literally could not have written a better script for these fantastic Sidmouth boys, especially after last year’s disappointment.

Congratulations to the coaches and the whole squad and not just those playing today.

It has been a pleasure to be a part of this group. Needless to say the celebrations, on a spectacular Devon day, were long and epic!

Sidmouth squad: Hughes, Unsworth, Chugg-White, Syradd, Pearce, Moore, Hill, Wright , Davies, Down, Kennaugh, Counsell (Captain), Allen, Lau, Morgan, Bright, Robinson, Bolton, Innes-Kruger, Dunn, Smith, Johnson-Graves.)

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