SIDMOUTH 2nd XV 15 v  EXMOUTH 3rd XV 3 

Exmouth kicked off and began brightly, showing their intent by opting for a kick to the corner hoping to catch Sidmouth cold. The Sidmouth defence held their ground and forced Exmouth backwards, a turnover at a breakdown allowed Sidmouth to clear up field. Sidmouth mounted their first attack in the opposition half but were thwarted by a good defensive shift by the visitors. The second Sidmouth attack minutes later proved more fruitful to the tune of three points from the right boot of Jake Watts. The lead lasted about ten minutes or so as Exmouth responded with a good spell of possession in Sidmouth’s territory ending with a penalty kick. 

The visitors had clearly done their homework and stifled Sidmouth of the ball for long spells; by playing mainly through their large forwards. Exmouth were posing questions for their hosts to answer; the Sidmouth answers came loud and clear and were mostly correct. The Sidmouth pack soaked up the pressure well and regularly forced Exmouth into errors, unfortunately those errors couldn’t always be capitalised on fully. The Sidmouth backline defended equally as physically as their forwards, but like the forwards couldn’t quite add the finishing touches when in possession. The middle period of the half was played out predominately in the mid third of the pitch, both sides were cancelling the other out. Whilst the game clearly wasn’t a points fest, like Sidmouth’s last home game, it was equally as enthralling but in a different way. 

The stalemate came to end when Sidmouth scored an unconverted try, a try possibly against the run of play, but a try that was a well-deserved as a reward for their defensive efforts. The score came from scrumhalf Luke Bess after a decent spell of possession deep in Exmouth’s half. The home side certainly had the better of the remainder of the first half and were unlucky on a couple of occasions from driving mauls. The pressure should have seen Sidmouth extend their lead with the last kick of the half; Jake Watts just misjudging his penalty shot at the posts. Hopefully that wouldn’t prove costly or make the home side lose their increasing self-belief. 

Any concerns of the penalty miss damaging the Sidmouth self-belief were quickly put to rest at the beginning of the second half. A wonderfully executed driving maul from the Exmouth 22 was heading towards the try line at a rapid rate, only to be pulled down in the process of the ball being grounded; the referee had seen enough to convince him to award a penalty try. The try will go down in the books as a penalty try, but if it were possible to do so should be awarded to the Sidmouth forwards as a unit; that was mauling at its finest from the men in green. As there is no need to add the conversion now following a penalty try the score was worth a straight seven points. The try turned out to be the final score of the game but that doesn’t mean the remainder of the match was dull; in fact, far from it. 

Exmouth recovered from the shock of conceding so early to come back into the game well. The visitors attacked with intent but were regularly sent back into their half by the aggressive Sidmouth defence. The home side very nearly extended their lead with an interception on half way, unfortunately the ball just evaded the grasp of the Sidmouth backs rush defence. The Sidmouth forwards meanwhile, were starting to get the upper hand in the scrums, having had parity up until that point, two balls against the head allowed Sidmouth to win possession and sensibly play in the Exmouth half of the field but were unable to add to their score.