Exmouth 21, Sidmouth 29

Exmouth Under-15s were edged out after an excellent match against Sidmouth in the Plate competition.

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After several weeks of inactivity owing to the wet weather, simply getting onto a pitch was something of an achievement!

On a wet and heavy pitch the early exchanges were even with neither side gaining significant advantage in either territory or possession.

The deadlock was broken however in the 12th minute when, from a clearance kick deep inside the Sidmouth goal area, Exmouth winger Mark Palmer gathered the high ball and grounded close to the posts making it easy for Alex Taylor to add the extras and take the score to 7-0.

Exmouth further extended their lead straight from the kick off when Andrew Wheeler fielded the ball and ran three quarters the length of the pitch to score in the corner. With a fine touchline conversion from Alex Taylor, Exmouth found themselves 14-0 up.

Sidmouth had the better of the next 10 minutes and, after sustained pressure inside the Exmouth 22, scored two tries in quick succession, despite some great cover tackling by the home team. This levelled the match up at 14-all.

The Exmouth pack finished the first half strongly, exerting real pressure in the loose, but just failed to score having spent several minutes camped close to the Sidmouth line.

Ten minutes into the second half Exmouth regained the lead with a try from Taiyla Young following a tap penalty close to the line and with the successful conversion took the score to 21-14.

Sidmouth however, clearly were not prepared to lie down and accept defeat and, from a scrum just inside the Exmouth half, the Sidmouth scrum half broke clear to score close to the posts. The conversion was unsuccessful, but the score closed to 21-19 in favour of Exmouth.

The match was finely poised going into the final quarter, but it was Sidmouth who ultimately claimed the victory and the next round berth in the competition thanks to two late tries.

Exmouth can take heart from what was a god all-round performance. That performance was made all the more impressive given the lack of action the team had managed with almost two months of inactivity!

The scrum performed well taking a couple against the head and the work in the loose was good. However, the lack of game time showed with some basic errors and sloppy handling at times. Plenty to work on though and hopefully some more regular rugby in the next few weeks!

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