Sidmouth Under-14s book Devon Cup last four berth with Barum victory

The Sidmouth Under-14 squad before their Devon Cup win over Barnstaple

The Sidmouth Under-14 squad before their Devon Cup win over Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Under-14’s booked a semi-final berth in this season’s Devon Cup after a thrilling 13-12 victory over Barnstaple.

With the game being carried forward after the previous weekend’s postponement there was huge anticipation of the clash, writes Craig Morgan.

Barum began confidently, keeping the ball away from Sidmouth with some timely off-loads. Pressure built, however, and the home team soon gained a penalty which the talented Joe Elsworth duly slotted for a 3-0 lead. Shortly afterwards Barum missed their own kickable penalty. In the next action Sidmouth shifted the ball wide to their danger man Josh Golding who ran in a glorious try from fully two thirds of the pitch and the lead became 8-0.

Any forwards who can bend the rules and exploit an unsighted ref are an unwritten asset, and so it was that the Barum flanker acquired the ball contentiously at a ruck near the Sidmouth line and romped over for a converted try to make the score 8-7 at half-time.

Tony Wilson had showed his attacking prowess in the first half on the wing and the front row of Finlay Jonson, Jack Jenkins and Jack Marchant had dealt staunchly with Barni’s big shove.

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Matti Laurenti had linked well and when Golding and Marchant came off due to injury big Louis Maynard stepped onto the wing and Andrew Donovan slipped smoothly into Hooker.

With the wind at their back in the second half, Barnstaple camped in the Sidmouth 22. Sean Harvey, back from a long term injury made a try saving tap tackle and Man of the Match Oli Jones upped his work rate in the second row to deliver hammer blows to the opposition’s big pack. Louis Stamp made a couple of great carries and Owen Tidball again tackled hard in the centres. Sidmouth’s sole venture into opposition territory saw them move the ball effortlessly from far right to far left where a ruck ensued.

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Quick ball away then gave the threes time to play simple rugby and, with the ball in winger Wilson’s hands, he dotted down for an unconverted try to increase the lead to 13-7.

Inside the final 10 minutes Barum scored an unconverted try to close the gap between the teams to just a single point.

With Sidmouth deploying some unorthodox kicking from props and second rows, the last minute of the game was played nervously on Sidmouth’s try line. With seconds to go the big Barum number eight picked up from the base of the scrum and charged for glory! However, as he ran over the line big Joe Elsworth smothered him, picked him up and escorted him to a far less dangerous piece of turf a full three metres out! That proved to be the final action and the final whistle sparked wonderful celebrations by players and supporters.

Sidmouth must be doing something right as the U13s, U14s and U15s are now all through to the semi-finals of the Devon Cup. Next up, for the Under-14s is this Sunday’s (March 6) game at Sidford against Cullompton with an 11am start. Supporters will be made very welcome.

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