BIDEFORD 2nds  0  v  SIDMOUTH 2nds  40

Sidmouth made the long journey north to Bideford looking to extend their lead at the top of the MeritTable.

A number of injuries and unavailability meant travelling with a depleted squad of only sixteen;
fortunately, this wasnʼt a factor in the end, as Sidmouth ran out comfortable winners.

The visitors began brightly and soon took the lead with an unconverted try courtesy of Chris Higgs.
The left wing touched down out wide following a powerful scrum by the Sidmouth forwards and
good handing by the backs. Straight from the restart Sidmouth were looking to attack again, and
attack they did. A second try (converted by Jake Watts) saw Sidmouth open up a twelve-point lead
in nearly as many minutes; after three quick phases, second row Jason Stephens burst through a
gap and sprinted in from just inside the Bideford half.

Bideford finally woke from their slumber to have a decent five minutes of pressure but couldnʼt
break down the resolute Sidmouth defence. Minutes later Sidmouth showed their hosts how to turnterritory and possession into points.

After a few phases deep in the Bideford twenty-two provided just enough space, fly-half Jake Watts bundled his way over the try line (with a little assistance from the post); Watts added the simple conversion.

Sidmouth were very nearly celebrating a third try moments later. Chris Higgs breached the Bideford
defensive line and sprinted clear; unfortunately, with only a few metres left to go the winger was
tackled by the cover defence, denying him his brace on his return to the team. The visitors didnʼt
have to wait long for their third try though. Sidmouth kept the pressure up and following another
steal against the head and a powerful scrum from the men in green, Number 8 Dan Ledger
controlled the ball well to score at the base; Jake Watts again converted. The try gave Sidmouth the bonus point and the victory was never in doubt from this moment on.

A short spell of play during which the scrums went uncontested - but Sidmouth sportingly allowed
Bideford to remain with fifteen players - came to an end with another Sidmouth try. Dan Rugg
playing in the unfamiliar role of outside centre, pounced on a Bideford error and capitalised fully,
sprinting in from twenty-five metres; Jake Watts again added the extra two points.

This was the final score of the opening forty minutes, but the remainder of the
half was still eventful for the wrong reason. The Bideford hooker was sent off for punching Carl Burrow, which necessitated a visit to hospital for the resulting wound to mbe stitched. The referee finished the half a few minutes early in order to let the tension die down.

The second half was a short affair, because after fifteen minutes or so the referee called time on
proceedings; as he was unable to continue through injury and a replacement official wasnʼt present.
Despite the short time available to them Sidmouth still managed to extend their lead with a
converted try. Adam Squance finished off the long spell of pressure scoring in the left corner.