Narrow defeat to Okehampton in season's opener


The Sidmouth Rugby squad had their first run out of the season when they entertained a squad from Okehampton RFC at the Blackmore in a warm-up game for the coming league season.

In the absence of several established players, a young side showed resilience and good levels of fitness to stage a late comeback, turning a possible heavy defeat into a close result.

Sidmouth dominated the opening quarter and created two excellent scoring opportunities, but handing errors kept the score at 0-0. At halftime they found themselves 12 points down following two fine opportunist tries by the pacey Okehampton full back. Both resulted from Sidmouth errors. The first came from a dropped pass, which was snapped up and kicked down field , where the full back won the chase. For the second, he fielded a poor kick and ran 70 metres assisted by some slack defence. The second was converted.

Sidmouth started the second half brightly and almost scored from a tap penalty move before gifting the visiting full back a hat trick try. This time he intercepted a loose pass on his own 22. The try was converted.

The visitors grew in confidence and enjoyed their best spell of the game in the middle of the half. They added two more tries thanks to good handling and support play. Between the two Sidmouth broke their duck when George Locke finished off a good handling move.

With the score at 7-31, Okehampton looked very much in command. However, the Sidmouth youngsters took control in the closing minutes to score three fine tries.

Fly half Ben Ward looped around his inside centre to create space for George Locke to burst through for a second try. Ward added the conversion. Lewis Tollerfield forced his way over from close range following a quick tap penalty. Then, in the final minute, George Locke made the running and Dan Retter provided the link for Dan Colson to sprint over in the left corner. Retter converted from the touchline.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Honiton to contest the David Turner Cup in their final preparation for the league campaign. The kick off is at 3pm.