Chiefs U18s 21 Gloucester U18s 41

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Exeter Chiefs try-scorer Josh Thorne looks to instigate an attack for his side in Saturday's Premiership Under-18s clash with Gloucester in Bodmin. Picture: Sophie Elsworth

Exeter Chiefs Under-18s 21

Gloucester Under-18s 41

Alfie Martin at Callywith College

A much-improved Exeter Chiefs Under-18s performance was not quite enough to topple Gloucester, who ran in six tries to keep the Devonians at bay in their latest Premiership Rugby Under-18s match.

Chris King, Josh Thorne and Joe Elsworth all bundled their way over the whitewash from close range to score tries for the Chiefs, while fly-half Haydn Lidstone knocked over two of the conversions before Frankie Dart took to the tee for the final kick.

Their efforts, however, would prove all in vaon as the Cherry and Whites ran rampant, collecting tries from Harry Taylor, Leyton Chambers, Max Fletcher and Louis Rees-Zammit, the latter bagging himself a hat-trick with a stylish finish in the closing minutes.

It was a Chiefs performance peppered with talent and class - and a showing that proved their worth following a recent 49-7 defeat to Saracens last month. The game, predicted by Academy coach Marek Churcher as ‘exciting’, proved nothing short of expectations as the two sides came face-to-face.

The visitors found themselves on the front foot early in the game, fly-half Barton slotting an easy penalty in the fourth minute after a Chiefs infringement at the breakdown. Winger Rees-Zammit topped this with his first try of the afternoon, followed swiftly by Taylor, who snuck in down the left flank.

But it didn’t take long for the young-guns to muster-up some magic of their own. After a tumultuous pounding of the Gloucester try-line, King found his way over to secure the Chiefs’ first score of the afternoon, which was easily converted by the boot of Lidstone.

The Cherry and Whites stole another seven points shortly after, hooker Chambers cutting a powerful line for the visitor’s third, setting a base for Barton to convert.

Exeter were afforded their second try at the cusp of half time, the towering frame of Josh Thorne steamrolling his way past Gloucester’s barricades and over the line. Lidstone converted, drawing a close to the opening 35.


The aftermath of the explosive first half had barely settled as referee James Milliner-Woodcock put whistle-to-mouth, sending the Chiefs into battle trailing by a mere six points.

After an uninspiring third quarter, it was the visitors whose efforts bore fruit. Replacement winger Max Fletcher dived over after some slick handling from the back line, followed shortly after by Rees-Zammit, who set off on a blistering run down the left flank for his second.

Barton converted both crossings, rewarding his team with a healthy lead with time on the clock running slim.

But within a matter of minutes the Chiefs were back on the front foot, the likes of Scott Butterworth and Harvey Dunn crashing tirelessly through the Gloucester defence and up to the five-metre mark. It was Joe Elsworth who brought ball-to-paint, marking the Chiefs’ third try of the afternoon to keep them in contention.

Frankie Dart slotted the kick in the absence of Lidstone, who made way for debutant Dan Lilley at full-back.

Despite their best efforts, Exeter couldn’t hold back their opposition as Rees-Zammit broke free for his hat trick score- Gloucester’s sixth. Barton’s boot dissected the posts, marking the final play of the afternoon.

Exeter Chiefs Under-18s: F Dart; B Fenton, T Sixton (A Gozzard 54), A Hill, C Cadogan; H Lidstone (D Lilley 54), T Cairns (A Stacey 35); C King (C Goldsmith 55), W Goffey (N Karea 55), H Dunn (D Welch 55); J Elsworth, J Greaves (B Waddell 45); S Butterworth, J Bond (C), J Thorne (J Stansfield 20)

Tries: C King, J Thorne, J Elsworth Conversions: H Lidstone (2), F Dart

Gloucester Under-18s: B Turner (B Morgan 60); O Parmar (M Fletcher 35), L Rees-Zammit, T Matthews, L Hilman-Cooper; G Barton, H Gipson (M Jones 35); M Reading (H Fry 45), L Chambers (E Hunt 35), J Boughton (H Daynes 52); A Benson (A Clark 60), B Thomas; J Howard (J Gray 58), H Taylor, J Clement (J Gray 26, J Clement 29)

Tries: L Rees-Zammit (3), L Chambers, M Fletcher, H Taylor. Conversions: G Barton (4) Penalty: G Barton

Referee: J Milliner-Woodcock

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