Sidmouth RFC 2nd XV44, Tiverton 7

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With several new faces in the squad, it might have seemed more like the start of the season, rather than half way through the winter, writes Steve Channing

Steve Kruger added to the coaching team, prepared the squad and certainly got the best out of the home side.

Tiverton scored first following a dropped pass by Sidmouth’s backs, which was hacked on and touched down under the posts, the conversion successful for a seven point lead.

Despite conceding several penalties in and around the ruck area, Sidmouth were generally on top, putting several phases together.

Scrum-half, Johnny Hamill darted through a gap from 10 metres for the first try.

From the restart Gavin Pearson drove through the visitors’ defence linking with Cameron Grainger who, in turn, fed second row Chris Courtier who scored a debut try. Grainger slotted the conversion.

The back three of Scott Davies, Tom Male and Ben Dobson always looked dangerous on the counter attack, twice being hauled into touch within metres of the try line.

Sustained pressure on the visitors’ line resulted in Hamill charging down a clearance kick. Captain Stuart Bickerstaff leapt the highest to claim the ball and score. Bickerstaff’s ankle injury nightmare struck again and he was replaced by Alva Senderayi.

The returning Andrew Doidge had a solid first half, claiming good line out ball at four, James Powell benefited, crashing up through the middle taking play up to the 22. In the ensuing ruck Sidmouth were turned over and a few inappropriate words were said, leading to a 10 minute rest for Martin Keywood. The half-time whistle sounded minutes later with Sidmouth leading 17-7.

The home side went straight on the offensive, with Tom Male being held up over the line, the forwards probed around the five metre line forcing Tiverton to concede a penalty, Ben Pratt taking the score up to 20.

Matt Farrington returned after the restart, breaking several tackles, Scott Davies carried the ball into Tiverton’s 22. Quick ball went through the hands for James Dyer to score his first senior try. A scrum on the halfway line was picked up at the base and a great barnstorming run by Senderayi was halted just before the try line. James Powell was the recipient from another quick release of the ball and scored under the posts, Glenn Channing adding the extras.

Another good lineout allowed Sam Cummins to take play up to the visitors’ five metre line again, with this time Channing being held up over the line, (his diet must be working). Gavin Pearson picked from the base of the scrum and drew the defender in, allowing Hamill to saunter in for his second try of the match.

Adam Squance was put away for a definite score only to be pulled back for a forward pass.

The front row of Keywood, Farrington and Tony Martin were solid throughout the contest and often were gaining metres in the loose. For the last scrum of the day Sidmouth pushed Tiverton off the ball releasing the backs again. Ben Pratt stepped outside his opponent to score a fine try, Adam Squance kicked the conversion. The final score was 44-7.

Man of the Match went to Chris Courtier in the second row who looks a very good addition at the club. Dwight, in the back row, only got in the country on Thursday, certainly will be a asset to the club, along with colt Dan Rugg who performed bravely for the last 30 minutes.

The seconds have another home game this week against Ivybridge, and hopefully will be able to field another strong side.

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