Sidmouth show skill, desire, character

Devon under-9s Festival – Tavistock: The team arrived in Tavistock with a nervous excitement for the challenges that lay ahead.

Devon under-9s Festival - Tavistock: The team arrived in Tavistock with a nervous excitement for the challenges that lay ahead.

Eighteen teams from across Devon took part in a well organised competition.

The draw for the pool stage resulted in Sidmouth grouped with Teignmouth and Devonport Services.

Game 1 v Devonport Services

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There was a hesitant start to this game with both teams demonstrating good defence.

The first half ended without any score.

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Sidmouth secured a line-out just on the half way line and the ball found fly-half Jake Allen, who provided an inside pass to Will Counsel, who stormed his way through the Devonport defence to score the first try. This was swiftly followed by a try from Harvey Sargent. Sidmouth won the encounter 2-0.

Game 2 v Teignmouth

The second game against Teignmouth was also tight. Line breaks from Jonny Dunn and Connor Murphy gave the opposition problems.

Some typically creative runs from Flynn Wright saw the game end in a 1-1 draw.

Sidmouth then waited anxiously for the third pool game result. Devonport secured the win and Sidmouth were through.

Game 3 v Topsham

After a short wait, the teams were announced for the cup group stage. Sidmouth were in a tough group with Topsham and Kingsbridge.

The first game was against old foes Topsham. As expected both teams were closely matched, providing spectators with a feast of good rugby.

Luke Dix was in roaring form and Ed Boulton picked up scraps around the fringes with Douglas Evans.

A try from Will Counsel was the only score in a game that finished Sidmouth 1 Topsham 0.

Game 4 v Kingsbridge

The game between Kingsbridge and Topsham ended in a draw and Sidmouth only needed that to go through to the Cup final.

The game started well with some great cover tackles from Rory Morgan and Finlay Marks that let Kingsbridge know they were up against tough opposition.

A try from Harvey Sargent was followed by a try from Kingsbridge. The score finished level but Sidmouth were through to the final.

Game 5 v Ivybridge:

the final

The final was always going to be tough and the match did not disappoint the spectators.

As soon as the whistle blew for the start of the game, Sidmouth were committed. Tackles flying in from everywhere stifled a strong Ivybridge attack and, against the run of play, Sidmouth pressure resulted in a turnover ball and Harvey Sargent ran the full length of the pitch to score. Dan Thomas showed good composure, replacing Jake Allen at fly-half.

The first half continued to delight as Sidmouth and Ivybridge traded possession and territory. A concerted attack by Ivybridge in the closing moments of the first half saw them rewarded with a try. The half ended with one try apiece.

With all to play for, the second half continued with the same commitment from the entire Sidmouth team. Some say they could hear the tackles being hit from as far away as Okehampton!

Mid-way through the half, Ivybridge scored what was to be the decisive try. The final score Sidmouth 1 Ivybridge 2.

The players were clearly disappointed with the result but Ivybridge were well-organised, powerful and were deserved winners in a tough encounter.

Sidmouth had the toughest of routes to the final, playing some really good teams, and showed character, desire and skill. Families, friends and coaches were rightly proud of the boys who can hold their heads high having won second place. The final was the only loss in a fantastic season.

The squad for the day: Jake Allen, Ed Boulton, Will Counsel (capt), Luke Dix, Jonny Dunn, Douglas Evans, Finley Marks, Rory Morgan, Connor Murphy, Harvey Sargent, Dan Thomas, Flynn Wright.

By Jason Allen

Devon under-9s Festival - Tavistock

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