Sidmouth Under-16s battle well in Okehampton defeat

Sidmouth under U16's at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 5669-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth under U16's at home to Brixham. Ref shsp 5669-16-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The day after a friendly match at Blackmore against a touring team from Gordano, a depleted Sidmouth Under-16 squad headed off to Okehampton where they battled well before succumbing to a 26-19 reversal, writes Daryl Pearce

Only 13 strong and carrying some injuries from the previous day, Sidmouth took to the pitch with determination. Unfortunately, from an early line out, a long pass was well intercepted by Okehampton to score a try between the posts and an easy conversion. Sidmouth came back strongly from the restart. A scrum saw the ball kicked loose but Sidmouth retained possession and Davies passed safely to Pearse who dodged several defenders to score. Allen converted. Sidmouth won the ball from a scrum against the head and a penalty kick put them well into Okehampton territory. The home team defended well and though Lau made good ground he didn’t get the space he needed to use his speed. Bolton forged ahead but was swamped by opposition players and the ball was turned over. Possession oscillated between the teams until an Okehampton breakthrough provided them with a further try and narrow conversion. Undeterred, Sidmouth restarted well and took Okehampton into touch for a lineout and strong driving maul. Despite good efforts by Dix and Cornish no further scores were made and a knock-on ended the first half 7:14.

The Okehampton restart was poor and Sidmouth were awarded a scrum but eventually lost possession. Okehampton advanced and strong Sidmouth defence prevented a try. Okehampton were not to be denied however and continued pressure was eventually rewarded by a further score, but no conversion this time. They followed up swiftly from the restart with a turn over, try and conversion to increase their lead. Sidmouth players were visibly tired and Okehampton had fresh legs on their side but the loss of one of their players to a yellow card gave Sidmouth an opportunity. Startled into a miss kick by a charge down, Okehampton put the ball into touch for a Sidmouth lineout. Another driving maul and Bright broke away to score. No conversion. Further play close to the Okehampton try line and another Sidmouth charge down seemed promising but Okehampton defended well. Okehampton intercepted again but anticipating it Dix tackled powerfully and Sidmouth regained possession. Pearse beat Okehampton defenders to the ball kicked it over the try line and grounded it for a try which was converted. Sidmouth were determined and did not flag but in the final minutes Okehampton regained possession and kicked into touch to end the game 19:26.

Only one try in it and Sidmouth had played with no respite, against a more numerous Okehampton squad. It was a hard pitch in blazing sunshine on which the ball bounced high and unpredictably; unfortunately, rarely to Sidmouth’s advantage. Everyone worked hard but credit to Okehampton who were good at turning over the ball. However, it was a respectable score line for Sidmouth who had played with heart.

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