Uunder 14s Devon Cup Final 2013

Sidmouth 22 Topsham 19

Sidmouth Under 14s won the Devon cup Final. This result only tells part of the story though. It is not often in life that you literally jump for joy, but this final was one such occasion. Sidmouth boys left it late, but it was all the sweeter because of that. This final was played on the Exeter Chiefs pitch and what a privilege for all these boys to play there. Topsham got off to a fantastic start. They caught their own kick off and put Sidmouth under tremendous pressure. A charged down kick led to their first try.

A fantastic touch line conversion ensued. Sidmouth were up against it. They tried to play their natural game, but in spite of being dominant in the scrum, little mistakes kept handing back possession and Topsham made us pay scoring another try. Sidmouth just upped their intensity. Camped on Topsham’s line both Syradd and Wright were a whisker away from scoring. Eventually Topsham could hold out no longer. Wright burst through, offloaded to Counsell who scored his first. The half time whistle blew and we all took a deep breath. The second half could not have got off to a worse start for Sidmouth. Dunn and Counsell clashed heads and Dunn had to go off. A wayward Sidmouth kick went to the Topsham flier and we were 19-5 down with 20 minutes to go. The coaches, on the touch line were desperately encouraging  the boys to really believe they could win this match, but Sidmouth ,with ten minutes to go, in spite of playing well  had not found a way through. Then came the turning point of this match. A late, high tackle on Wright, lead to a penalty to Sidmouth, but more importantly it fired up the whole team. From the line out Syradd powered through the middle, passed to Moore, on to Wright and Counsell  finished it off brilliantly. Belief flooded through the Sidmouth team. Game on! From the kick off Sidmouth played with such intent. The forwards secured quick ball, the half backs of Down and  Innes-Kruger linked beautifully and set up Counsell for his hat trick. The momentum was totally with Sidmouth, but they were still 4 points behind with 3 minutes to play. 

Topsham tried to pin Sidmouth back, but they were not to be denied. From Sidmouth’s own 22 Down made a break, then passed it to Robinson, who passed to Kennaugh who drove forward. Wright was on hand for the off load, who in turn off loaded it to Counsell. Counsell was tackled just in Topsham’s half, but as he fell to the floor he spotted the white flash of Wright’s scrum cap. Wright had picked himself off the floor and reached Counsell at high speed. The ball was off loaded and Wright sprinted  40 metres to  score the winning try under the posts. It was no surprise to anyone that he was awarded ‘Man of the match’ by the RFU. Allen coolly converted, with one minute to go. Sidmouth caught the restart and with seconds remaining managed to retain possession. The kick in to touch to end the game was followed by spontaneous leaps of joy that were instinctive and ecstatic! Sport is so compelling, because you literally could not have written a better script for these fantastic  Sidmouth boys especially after last year’s disappointment. Congratulations to the coaches and the whole squad and not just those playing today. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this group. Needless to say the celebrations, on a spectacular Devon day, were long and epic. A literally stunning match.

 Devon cup final squad and coaches

(Squad  : Hughes, Unsworth,  Chugg-White,  Syradd,   Pearce,  Moore,  Hill,  Wright , Davies, Down, Kennaugh,  Counsell  (Captain),  Allen, Lau, Morgan, Bright, Robinson, Bolton, Innes-Kruger, Dunn, Smith, Johnson-Graves.)