With the league being scrapped and recreated, the venue being changed at the last minute and the Sidmouth team relying on a SIDNav to get there, it was a miracle that Sidmouth u16s played this game at all. However, despite these odds Sidmouth turned up with exactly 15 players and in the right frame of mind to play their first game of the season. The first 10 minutes saw both teams testing each other and to the obvious surprise of Exeter, who had already played two league matches, Sidmouth came nearer to scoring by a powerful run from Reid Mawdesley ending up less than a metre from the line.

Exeter survived this and using their powerful forwards forced their way back to Sidmouth’s 22 eventually crossing the line. Sidmouth, however, were not disheartened and fought back with solid set piece play and continual probing and testing of the Exeter defences. When Exeter did attack the excellent Sidmouth tackling exemplified by James Maskill and Sam Smith with an unforgettable contribution by Bradley Reiff-Arnold sent them back from whence they came. Sidmouth spent a significant amount of the first half within the Exeter 22 but were unable to turn this into points and ended the first half two tries down but with more than their fair share of possession and position.

The second half allowed Exeter to take full advantage of their complete complement of substitutes causing Sidmouth to absorb considerable pressure despite which the forward pack held their own and the three quarters played the opportunities that came their way. Further scores from Exeter secured the game for them but their lack of discipline indicated a team that was clearly disturbed by the strength and determination of an impressive Sidmouth team. If they continue to play in this way with commitment to each other and with the coaches promising further work on some of the basics the team can look forward to a promising season ahead.