Sidmouth Under-9s in good form for meeting with Exeter Youth

Sidmouth Under-9s with coaches Sarah Burston, Matt Barrett and parent helper Andy Richie. Picture: C

Sidmouth Under-9s with coaches Sarah Burston, Matt Barrett and parent helper Andy Richie. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Under-9s locked horns with local rivals Exeter Youth on Sunday morning and produced easily their best display of the season – an achievement they appear to be accomplishing week on week, much to the pleasure of coaches Matt Barrett and Sarah Burston.

Kicking off in ‘changeable’ conditions, thanks to the aftermath of ‘Storm Brian’, Sidmouth quickly took control of the game and after some initial pressure from the Exeter side, broke away to score a great team try with the very impressive Hayden Barnes getting the scoreboard ticking.

Exeter replied with a try of their own. However, after that the first 10-minute quarter firmly belonged to Sidmouth. The key to winning the first quarter was defence – this group of players are learning fast that defence wins games, get the defence right and tries will follow. And they certainly did, a further three tries for the inspiring Barnes, as well as a try apiece for Barney Greifenberg and Harry Simic.

With the game broken into four 10-minute quarters, Sidmouth led the try count 6-3 after the first period – this in no small part thanks to the heroic tackling of Jonno Fletcher, who was prepared to put his body on the line and bring down players significantly greater in size to him.

Further impressive displays, especially in defence, came from Ayla Burrow, who clearly inherited some of her dad Paul’s tenaciousness!

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The second quarter was an all-round tighter affair that deservedly ended in a draw. Notable displays in attack came from the powerful running of Harrison Bowyer and George Adam, two players who have not played for as long as some of their teammates, but are setting a real example for the others with their enthusiasm and need be involved at every opportunity. Jake Burston showed his strength with ball in hand by occupying at least three defenders as they clung to him whilst attempting to stop him moving!

This space created out wide meant Jack Clarkson and Arden Chipping had room to exploit their rivals on the flanks, virtuously supported Jay Westlake.

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The third and fourth quarters were much the same as the first, dominated by Sidmouth attacks, particularly the very impressive Hayden Barnes, who is clearly loving his rugby. Sidmouth scored out wide with a gallop to the line by Jude Barrett, who deserved his try after great tackling throughout the game. The fourth quarter showed how strong in defence these Sidmouth players really are as wave after wave of Exeter attack was pushed back.

At Under-9 level there is no contest for the ball on the ground, therefore once a team has been tackled six times, the ball is turned over to the opposition. Sidmouth tackled their hearts out with the stand-out defender of the contest being Isobel Wood, earning her a ‘defender of the match’ T-shirt. Barnes’s performance also earned him the ‘player the match’ T-shirt.

This was an awesome display by Sidmouth, genuinely showing real improvement, skill and knowledge of the game, much to the pleasure of the watching coaches and parents – well done to all, a great way for the players to start their half-term holiday!

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