The Nomads were due to be playing Exeter Engineers in a league game but due to some confusion surrounding dates it appears that the Engineers double booked themselves therefore Exmouth claimed the league points and managed to arrange a friendly fixture against Sidmouth 2nd team. With Sidmouth currently sitting top of Devon Merit Table 2 it was always going to prove a tough outing for Exmouth. As is the way recently Exmouth were short of a few regulars and shortly before kick-off were able to call on DOR Nick Smith to play so that the game could go ahead with contested scrums.
Exmouth won the toss & elected to kick to the visitors; The Cockles immediately put the pressure on and wouldn’t allow Sidmouth to play their way out of their own twenty-two. For the second week in a row Exmouth started ferociously and put in a number of big tackles leaving Sidmouth in no doubt that the Nomads were out to extract revenge for the two league games lost this season. Despite Exmouth making a number of concerted efforts to breach the Sidmouth line their defence stood strong until the 20th minute. First on the score sheet for Exmouth was Bertie Hughes who ran back a Sidmouth clearance from the hallway line. Intelligently holding the ball in two hands the Sidmouth defence didn’t know whether to commit or stand off this allowed enough indecision for Bertie to find a hole and his pace did the rest scoring in the corner. The resulting conversion attempt was pushed just wide by Andrew Smith.
With Sidmouth suffering an injury Exmouth lent them utility player Joe Schunk who for the remainder of the half slotted into the back-row. Despite the narrow five nil lead Exmouth were firmly in control of proceedings with the back row trio of Westaway, Hooper & Garrett making a nuisance of themselves all over the park. The following two scores both fell to powerful Exmouth centre Andrew Smith, the first seizing on a loose Sidmouth pass to finish to the left of the posts, again the attempted conversion was missed after a pint of Cider was wagered if he was successful. A further turnover from Exmouth deep in their own half again led to a superb smith break going over all the way from his own twenty-two leaving the half time score Exmouth 15, Sidmouth 0.
The break saw a number of changes for Exmouth and with Sidmouth suffering further injuries, Exmouth then lent them a further three players to keep the game going. With the large number of changes the second half lacked the fluidity of the first which saw a number of scrums due to handling errors, which suited the heavy home pack, that were now taking Sidmouth off of their own ball. The last try of the afternoon fell to Glen Layton who produced a deft kick over the defence, managed to get to the ball before the fullback and then hack on to score a wonderful solo try outside. Again the conversion was missed and with Sidmouth suffering further injuries the referee halted proceedings fifteen minutes into the second half.
Man of the match this week went to Martin Westaway (handsome picture) who rolled back the years playing in the unfamiliar position of number eight who proved to be too much for Sidmouth handle on the day. The nightshirt this week was awarded to Joe Schunk for insisting when he played for the opposition that he chose his position of number 8 for them.