U16s must improve

Sidmouth’s campaign to come top of their league was dealt a serious blow as they were beaten by a clinical Topsham side, writes Jack Colwill

A depleted squad kicked off the game in dry conditions and it immediately became a hard-fought game, with both sides scrapping hard at the breakdown. After a see-saw opening to the game, Topsham eventually made the breakthrough, despite a hint of offside after their fly-half exploited a gap behind the defence. They doubled the lead almost immediately as Sidmouth started to lose out at rucks and fall off tackles. The Sidmouth forwards kept fighting hard, particularly Paddy Lee and Sam Loader, but, unfortunately, the backs were unable to penetrate a strong defence. There was no further score until half-time as both sides missed penalty kicks, leaving Topsham up 10-0.

After the break, the game did not change, with the Sid’s forwards fighting hard, especially makeshift flanker Damon Morris, but being slowly overpowered by a large Topsham pack.

The backs were struggling against very dynamic opposition, with Tops creating overlaps out wide and shutting down the backs’ running lines all over the field. They ran in two converted tries in the second half, one from an interception, despite determined defence to leave Topsham high and dry at 24-0 a score that, maybe, did not reflect the balance of the game.

However hard Sidmouth’s small squad tried, this was still a blow, given the progress they have made over the last few weeks.

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The Harrison-Lavers Man of the Match was Morris, for a determined performance in an unfamiliar position.

Despite this defeat, Sidmouth should still qualify for the next stage of the league competition with Topsham, but improvements need to be made if they are to compete.

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