To misquote a phrase sometimes attributed to Andy Gray “this was a game of three halves, the first was relatively evenly matched with 3 points between the teams, the second was one of domination by South Molton leaving Sidmouth 3 -28 behind and the third was Sidmouth coming back to 27 – 28 yet failing in the final minutes. Once again Sidmouth managed to excite and frustrate in equal measure playing some quality rugby alongside some errors that would embarrass the u10s.

From the outset Sidmouth showed attacking ambition with the forwards taking control and forcing South Molton back in the scrum, however the resulting opportunities were squandered with only 3 points from the boot of Adam Squance to show for it. The early promise was maintained during the first half with back rowers Stuart Bickerstaff and Gavin Pearson both breaking from deep in Sidmouth’s half but South Molton’s defence managing to scramble back and cover. Wingers Jamie Balloch and Ben Dobson in turn both forced their way within within metres of the line but again were repulsed by a sometimes desperate South Molton defence. With both teams missing a penalty attempt the half time score was 3 – 0 to the home side.

Whatever was said to the South Molton First XV at half time needs to be captured and marketed because it was a totally different side that started the second half, their scrum gained the upper hand, they successfully played the phases and by spinning the ball wide they managed to score 4 converted tries in the first 15 minutes of the second half.  In this achievement they were aided and abetted by some pretty abysmal Sidmouth tackling but they gained complete control of the game. Sidmouth however, to the surprise of the onlookers, regrouped and under some very direct leadership from the Brothers Trim mounted an impressive counter attack scoring 4 tries of their own within a 10 minute purple patch. Captain Steve Trim working the blind side well put Harry Shaylor at speed over the line in the corner and, following a quick penalty taken by Jevon Astley-Jones, Ben Pratt crashed over under the post, Astley-Jones converting both.

A good piece of patient three quarter work saw the ball through the hands and Scott Davies using skill to score the third and following some forwards pick and go Ryan Davies forced his way over for the fourth. With the score at 27 – 28 the crowd thought one more effort would reward the now enlivened Sidmouth team but possibly due to the hard work to get their tries Sidmouth did not finish as strongly as South Molton resulting in a final score of 27 – 38. For a period Sidmouth played the rugby of which they are clearly capable, the next step is to do so for a full 80 minutes.

This was the last match in Sidmouth colours for Dan Thomas who heads back to his native New Zealand in the next few weeks having contributed well in his time here, we wish him good luck and bon voyage.