Exeter University U16 League Final

Sidmouth Are League Champions

Sidmouth    13    -     0     Exeter Saracens

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It was fitting that the two best sides of the fifteen contesting the University League met in the final at Crediton and produced a fast, physical and skillful game of junior rugby. The Sidmouth win was founded on preparation and attitude but relied on an outstanding performance by the forwards who took the initiative, defended every breakdown and produced enough quality ball for the talented Sidmouth backs. This performance was lead by the front row of Down, Welsford and Rutland with Haydon Down superbly controlling the kick-off and from the resulting offensive maul, Toomey boomed the ball cross-field where Faulkner was within inches of opening the scoring - this play stole the initiative and set-up Sidmouth to dominate the opening exchanges. Good field position and tight defence kept pressure on Saracens and Sidmouth started to get half-chances and sniffs of a score. Patience and excellent execution made an opening on the left where accurate handling gave Charlie Cotton a narrow channel to bust through and put Sidmouth into a deserved halftime lead. From the restart they maintained the pressure with Kearn, Gilby, Carlisle and Perchard-Richards closing down space and forcing mistakes. As the half wore on Sidmouth won a long range penalty which Toomey expertly converted to create a two score lead. To their credit Saracens responded with determination and aggression and kept possession through multiple phases in the Sidmouth 22. Lead by their captain Thomson with big contributions from Watts, Wright and Little, Saracens piled pressure on the Sidmouth defence who matched the onslaught with discipline and commitment to eventually force a turnover and an opportunity to break out and build another series of attacks in the Saracens half. Having started the better side, Sidmouth finished in style when Jack Faulkner attacked the blindside then cut across to link with Harry Thomas who was able to glide-in to score.

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In 24 games this season the U16s have now scored over 1000 points and conceded under 280. The squad of 25 have developed, improved and matured and are all capable of stepping-up to play Colts and Senior rugby. This league win and trophy is nothing more than they deserve and an outstanding season now concludes on Sunday May 6th at Sandy Park in the Devon Shield Final against Kingsbridge.