U14s Devon Cup Semi Final

2000-12-11 22.02.10-1

Sidmouth 19  Cullompton 14

A hastily arranged U14 Devon Cup semi-final took place last Sunday to fit in with both team’s hectic end of Season commitments. Sidmouth entertained Cullompton who generally win most of their games courtesy of a National Standard sprint champ – ‘Puttie’. 

Sidmouth started brightly and applied all the pressure with brutal carries from Finlay Johnson making the hard yards. Owen Tidball had manfully stepped up to not only lead the defensive structure but to shackle Tom Putt – an unenviable task !! However, it was Owie Tidball who breached Cully’s line first. However, he was so quick that he’d left the ref trailing in his wake gasping for breath and unable to see Owie Tidball touchdown. The next second a Cully player dislodged the ball and Sidmouth were unfairly robbed of the opening try. No matter. Joe Elsworth soon righted the injustice by cleverly wheeling an attacking scrum and breaking blind to charge over for a try which he duly converted to take Sidmouth 7-0 up. Sam Bond was next up with a strong leg drive to take the maul onto Cully’s line but it was not to be and the visitors played another ‘get out of jail free card’. Sean Harvey then took a knock at Full Back and had to leave the field. Louis Maynard then took over on the wing and Josh Roberts filled in the gap. Joshie then proceed to give an incredible display of dexterity, catchability and fleet footedness to nullify all of Cully’s probing kicks and close the door on all their tough examinations. A masterful display of last line defence.

Just before the break Cully put up a huge ‘ up and under’ which got spilled by Sidmouth on their line and an opposition winger pounced to take it 7-7. This buoyed Cullompton who applied pressure in the second half and  put their rapid winger away for a great score. Sidmouth struggled for field position but when it finally came Louis Stamp sniffed out an undefended gap and ripped through to score and send the huge crowd mental !!

Big Joe then stepped up for the important equalising conversion and nudged the ball hard. The low trajectory looked wrong and clearly off target yet with an outrageous swerve, which Joe had clearly calculated, the ball veered 5 meters, ricocheted off the cross bar and went over. The disbelieving crowd took a moment to process the event then hysteria took over. Game on !! At ten all Cullompton were heading through to the final on away team rules and bizarrely spurned a kickable penalty next with just minutes to go. Their ensuing lineout went wrong, Sidmouth got a penalty and hoofed the ball away down the line. From there simple hands put the ball onto the Sidmouth crowd side and they reset the ball. With seconds to go Finlay Morgan made a short break, drew two defenders and off-loaded out of the back of his hand to the hit-man Josh Golding. He hit the afterburners and scorched down the wing exploding over the line with two defenders hanging off his shoulders. Again the crowd went apoplectic, the ref signalled that was the last play of the game, the conversion was unimportant and the Mighty Sidmouth U14 marched into the Devon Cup final !

There are one or two good players in this team but without the unassuming ability and commitment of all the squad there would be no results like these. The Under 14s can enjoy the ride as success is a journey not a destination. These moments will live long in the memory.