Sidmouth Under-15s show how much they have improved in narrow defeat to Withy
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Under-15s went down 34-19 to Withycombe in a contest that was a lot closer than the 154 point final margin suggests.
The pair had met earlier in the season when Sidmouth were still integrating a few new players and trying to find their feet. Withy had won that contest with something to spare, but this time round Sidmouth were keen to measure how much they have improved.
Sidmouth won the toss, opted to play down the Blackmore slope and made a bright start.
Indeed, they had the better of the early exchanges, but it was Withy who struck first, somewhat against the run of play, when they defended well before bagging turnover ball and launching a slick counter using pacey three quarters to score in the corner.
Clearly encouraged by their score, Withy repeated the process with a similar breakaway try to increase their lead.
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Had such a thing – being hit by two tries in quick succession – happened earlier in the season, there’s little doubt it would have been the signal for Sidmouth to go on and suffer a heavy loss.
However, there’s a new strength of resolve about this Sidmouth Under-15 outfit and they fought back well, using their forwards to punch holes and creep towards the opponents line.
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The pressure built and eventually it was the powerful figure of Jack Marchant who barged his way over from close range and Cole Monaghan added the extras.
Getting on the score sheet gave the Sidmouth team a new lease of life and they were soon operating with more freedom and found themselves camped close to the Withycombe line.
After a period of sustained pressure they won a line-out 10-metres out.
In a move that came straight from the training ground, the forwards executed the catch and drive, with added muscle coming from Tom Bree the maul was unstoppable, as the pile of bodies collapsed over the line it was Charlie Corr who came up with the ball and the five points. Cole again converted the conversion and that gave Sidmouth a deserved 14-12 lead.
Withy hit back with a third try of the half to lead 17-14 at the interval.
Withy began the second half in full knowledge that they had a game on their hands!
The intensity levels increased as both sides exchanged scores, the home side scoring via a great individual run from Harry Emmott and the score held firm at 19-22 for a good quarter of an hour and the tension was mounting between the players, at one point, midway through the second half, a Withy forward lashed out, and received a yellow card for his troubles!
Credit to the away team, despite being down to 14 players, they held at bay concerted Sidmouth pressure and managed to hold out eventually winning a penalty and clearing their lines.
In the dying minutes the away team managed to break away and pick up a couple of scores to win by that 15 point margin, but they trooped off acknowledging that Sidmouth are a much changed, and much improved side.
Next up for Sidmouth Under-15s is an April 2 home encounter with Exmouth.