Sidmouth 2nd XV 23 – Ilfracombe 1st XV 12

Sidmouth’s seconds continued their excellent start to the season with a hard-fought win over a strong and determined Ilfracombe side. With Sidmouth topping the table on a 6-game winning run and Ilfracombe lying second the visitors travelled with the clear intent of reversing the order. Sidmouth, however, fielded a strong squad well balanced between younger players in their first season of senior rugby and senior players with strong pedigrees. The home team started strongly forcing Ilfracombe to concede a penalty in their own half which was well taken by Jake Watts who continues his impressive run of form. As in previous matches the Sidmouth pack dominated the forwards battle in the scrum, lineout and mauls achieving the first try of the day through George Jarman’s touchdown at the end of a well-controlled forward drive. Ilfracombe seemed undaunted and through several of their larger, experienced forwards executed a long sequence of pick and go plays, although they made yards they were unable to breach the Sidmouth line. In a reversal of tactics, the home forwards made their presence felt with another rolling maul driving hard at the visitor’s line resulting in Carl Burrow grounding the ball and Jake Watts converting.

The half time score of 15 – 0 was a fair reflection of Sidmouth’s superiority in the first 40 minutes, which continued for the first minutes after the restart. An exceptional individual effort by Ollie Perez chasing down a through kick which was misjudged by the defending player allowing Ollie to gather and score in the corner. This score however appeared to galvanize Ilfracombe who imposed themselves onto the game using both forwards and backs in a series of well executed moves. Their determination resulted in two tries which together with several injuries and replacement players introduced by the home side made the final quarter a tense affair. The Sidmouth defense, which has played a significant part in this season’s successes, again held firm with some excellent work by the entire team. A second penalty converted by Jake Watts settled any nervousness within both the team and the crowd and inspired Sidmouth to resist the final assaults on their line. The referee’s whistle brought to an end a most entertaining contest which will be repeated in Ilfracombe on 1st December, it will be a long journey and a hard match but a day to look forward.