U12's Give a whole team performance

Sidmouth RFC U12s at the Land Rover Trophy

Report by Craig Morgan

The U12s commenced this season with a tough set of Pool matches at the Land Rover Trophy hosted at Exeter Saracens.

First up were Topsham whom Sidmouth have never beaten and a bruising encounter ensued. When Finlay Morgan got a sniff of the line his ever reliable pack of forwards shoved him inelegantly over the white wash for the first TD. Shortly afterwards the Topsham pack exerted some uncompromising pressure which resulted in tears flowing and unfortunately a try being conceded by the green army. Net result – bruised egos and a 1-1 draw. Good result though.

Next up in the blazing sun were the hugely talented Teignmouth mob who were Devon County Champs two seasons ago and play a fluid attacking brand of rugby. Unfortunately Sid hadn’t read the script and within seconds of the start the mightily impressive Will Kennaugh had torn through their defence and breached the line almost before the Reds had tightened their sinew to prepare for the affray. Teign were shell shocked and the Sidmouth pack were in no mood to release their strangle hold and the game finished in a handsome 1-0 victory to green. Bravo.

The final Pool game pitted green v black in the form of the ominous Exeter Chiefs who had so far crushed all before them . Powerful pack, jinky centres, hard charging wings. Worrying. The winner takes all match up was suddenly surrounded by many neutral supporters cheering on the underdog greens and boy – did Sidmouth put on a show. William, again leading inspiringly from the front, took the fight to Chiefs and ram rodded his way over the line for the first score and our corner of the paddock erupted. Chiefs fought back hard and their Mercurial centre sliced a seemingly impossible jinky line through our flailing defence. The black corner went crazy. Josh Roberts wasn’t impressed though and from a deep defensive catch, made headway and punted deep into Chiefs territory. Will, again, chased hard and with Bolt-like pace outstretched the despairing defence to scoop up and dive over for a game winning score. Water bottles, pasties and Sidmouth Heralds all headed skywards as Sidmouth won the Pool and Chiefs were unscriptedly sent for an early bath. Boo-whoo !!

After a short breather Sidmouth met their bogey team , Withycombe, in the semi-finals. Having offered to turn our shirts inside out and go white due to a clash of greens a jinx may have been established. Both teams looked pooped in the heat of the day and struggled for fluency. Then in a flash of brilliance Kennaugh took the ball hard at first receiver and breached the tackle line. A winger moved in to arrest Will’s progress but WK spun out of his grip and clattered hard into the full back. Keeping his feet brilliantly the Sid centre shortened his stride, turned on the afterburners and was gone. One nil ! Cue celebrations. Half time came and went and with three minutes to go it looked good. Then in a moment of chance a Withy forward pounced on a loose ball and galloped over the line for an equaliser. Then with a final minute to go fate reversed itself and the zippy Withycombe fly half rounded our defence to break the Sidmouth hearts for a score and a 2-1 loss.

The Sidmouth coaches were ecstatic with the whole team performance through the tournament and congratulations must go to the pack for a monumental level of commitment and tenacity. Will Kennaugh in particular has taken his performance to the next level - a fact not lost on the tournament organisers as they awarded him the ‘Spirit of Rugby Award’ and he received a trophy for his brilliant efforts and some quality training kit for his team.

Withycombe went on to lose the final 0-2 to a completely massive Plymstock Oaks outfit who wouldn’t have looked out of sorts in an U15 tournament.