Sidmouth Under-16s edged out in classic with Exeter

Sidmouth Under-16s were edged out in a compelling contest with Exeter that was in doubt right up to the final whistle.

Exeter struck first with a try from their number eight, but the Sidmouth defence then got the better of the opposition thanks to some assertive tackles by Johnson-Graves and Dix.

Strong Sidmouth scrums and good hands followed and Down crossed for the first home try.

Exeter countered, putting some good phases together, resulting in a quick tap penalty and try. Further Exeter pressure was defended strongly by Sidmouth, but eventually Exeter prevailed to score again under the posts.

Undeterred, Sidmouth responded well. Lau demonstrated one of his trade-mark tries and conversion was good. Strong runs from Chugg-White and Barnett and efficient recycling gave Barnett a well-deserved try and further pressure from Sidmouth attacks produced a try for Innes-Kruger and they trooped off at the break with a 24-14 lead.

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After the break Exeter used the slope of the pitch well and got the first try in the corner before introducing fresh legs who proved their worth with a further try despite tough Sidmouth tackling and dogged defence. Due to absences, Sidmouth only had a squad of 13 which had been further depleted to 12 in the first half because of injury so their achievement in keeping heads up and the pressure on was, therefore, all the more praiseworthy.

However, tired legs were beginning to show and Exeter scored a good breakaway try. The Sidmouth response was as clinical as it was brave and a high kick-off which impressive Davies chased and caught set up Innes-Kruger up for his second try of the game.

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Sidmouth’s determined defence continued and they held up or averted several Exeter attacks on their try line. At the final whistle Exeter looked relieved as they were under pressure right to the end of a pulsating contest.

All of Sidmouth’s squad played well and should be proud of their solid performance and good result against the odds.

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