Sidmouth 5 Topsham  5

This was an unbelievably close final and an absolute nail-biter! Topsham came out of the blocks quickest and from an early scrum, their number 8 scored in the first minute.  He almost scored again a few moments later, but was penalised for a ‘double movement’. The penalty gave Sidmouth a chance to clear their lines and they did this with some style.  Counsell almost broke clear, but the touch judge felt he had done so illegally; in my view this was more accidental than malicious but he was yellow carded.  Sidmouth’s character was now severely tested, but the boys were fantastic.  For what appeared to be 15 minutes Sidmouth had to defend their line with 14 men. They were all brilliant, but two tackles stood out as crucial in this period.  One from Hankin on their  wing and one from Morgan which stopped a certain try. He was mobbed by his team mates, which says all you need to know about this team.  With Counsell finally back on, Sidmouth comfortably saw out the half. The second half was a true 15 a side contest and Sidmouth were better able to compete.  After one period of sustained pressure from Topsham, Counsell belted the ball out of his 22 and Dunn, who caught it on the bounce, couldn’t quite escape their centre’s clutches, but now it was Sidmouth’s turn to camp in Topsham’s 22. Finally after terrific work from the forwards, Kennaugh found himself in space in the last five minutes and was able to power over in the corner. Allen’s conversion was struck beautifully, but fell just short. Sidmouth’s tails were up, but a series of penalties against them found them back in their 22 and defending as if their lives depended on it. Try saving tackles from White and then Counsell allowed Wright and Moore to drag the maul into touch and the final whistle blew. It was a draw.  The Cup Final will have to be replayed.

Sidmouth won the toss to decide where the match will be contested and the Devon Cup Final, excitingly  will be replayed in Sidmouth at Blackmore on Wednesday 25th April at 6pm. All support from the town will be gratefully received. Great rugby guaranteed!

(Squad; Chugg-White, Unsworth, Hughes, Syrrad,Pearce, Wright, Robinson, Moore(Capt),Davies, Down, Hankin,Allen, Counsell, Kennaugh, Morgan. Substitutes; Bolton, Hill, Dunn, Innes-Kruger,Johnson-Graves,Dix and Lush)