Sidmouth U8s are tag festival champs

In a tag rugby tournament featuring 10 of the top teams in Devon and Somerset, Sidmouth U8s ran out deserved winners .

In a tournament featuring 10 of the top teams in Devon and Somerset, Sidmouth U8s ran out deserved winners with a series of barnstorming performances. Sidmouth's success was down to a fantastic team spirit, staunch defending and some superb running and passing rugby described by the tournament organiser as some of the best he had seen at U8 level.First team up were Winscombe who were beaten by 6 tries to 4 - the tries being scored by Sam Kennough (3), James Emmett, Anya Kilburn-Thompson and Lucas Richardson. A feature of all the games was the relentless pressure imposed by Sidmouth on their opponents. In the first game this had been led by Emmett and Archie Marchant while, in the second game, against Clevedon, Max Peacock epitomised the spirit in the team with some great diving tackles allowing Sidmouth to win by 2 tries to 1 - scored through Ethan Welsh and another from Kilburn-Thompson.Probably the toughest group game on paper was against Minehead who had a number of very skilful, tricky players. However, Sidmouth responded to the challenge superbly and built an outstanding 9-5 victory on their defensive bedrock. This time it was Archie Snowling who harried and hassled the opposition, forcing them into mistakes and, after scoring one try himself, helped create opportunities for Emmett, Richardson (2) and the superb Kennough, who ran in five tries.With the team already in the final, Sidmouth generously loaned Wells two players for the final group game. These two players - Liam Murphy and George Mills - caused all sorts of problems for their own team with some good attacking rugby so that, at half-time, Sidmouth were trailing by 3 tries to 2. Eventually, Sidmouth upped the pressure and won 5-2 with tries from Toby Garrick (2), Snowling, Emmett and Kennough.So on to the final. Unbeaten Sidmouth against the unbeaten hosts Wellington. A tight, nervous first half saw both teams defending heroically but Sidmouth reached the break leading 2-1 through tries from Kennough and Archie Marchant. The second half was a different story with Sidmouth using their pace, guile and tenacity to great effect and scoring further tries through Emmett (2), Kennough and Snowling (2) to register a thoroughly deserved 7-2 victory. Although the players were too young to know who he was, the parents were thrilled that the Sidmouth team were awarded their trophy and medals by ex England cricketer Andy Caddick. Huge credit must be paid to Rob Marchant and his team of coaches whose tireless efforts have turned this team into one of the strongest around.Team: Archie Marchant, James Emmett, Harrison Coleman, Anya Kilburn-Thompson, Sam Kennough, Archie Snowling, Josh Allen, Lucas Richardson, Liam Murphy, Toby Garrick, Matilda Gaukroger, Ethan Welsh, Max Peacock and George Mills.

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