Sidmouth 1st Xv 40, Paignton 1st Xv 3

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Devon Senior Cup

The Chiefs progressed to the semi-finals of the Devon Senior Cup with this comfortable win against bogey team Paignton, and at the same time erased the memory of a disappointing defeat in last month’s league game at Queen’s Park, writes Terry O’Brien.

Despite the scoreline, Paignton had a fair share of possession and territory but could not break down the well-organised and determined Sidmouth defence. By contrast, the Chiefs took their chances clinically.

The Chiefs were the first to settle and had the better of the early exchanges but the forwards were slow to release the ball to the dangerous backs and, when they did get the ball, the backs too often kicked possession away.

However, Tom Whelan kept the scoreboard ticking over with three penalties in the first 20 minutes.

The visitors came more into the game in the second quarter. Retaining possession well through the phases they kept the Chiefs pinned inside their 22, but were reluctant to move the ball wide. The pressure was eventually relieved when Dan Retter intercepted a loose pass and kicked the ball up field.

A Paignton clearance kick failed to find touch and Zac Bess ran it back with interest before sending Chris Higgs sprinting in at the corner. Whelan added the conversion.

The Chiefs finished the half with 14 men after Lewis Tollerfield was yellow carded for handling in a ruck. Despite the disadvantage, the score remained 16-0 at half time.

The lead was increased within seconds of the restart when the forwards regained possession from the kick off and Jack Pyne burst away down the blindside. He timed his pass perfectly to send Zac Bess clear to the line. The try was unconverted.

Paignton hit back almost immediately with a penalty by the full back. The Cherries were soon back on the attack but debutant winger Ben Salter intercepted inside his own 22 and outpaced the cover to score under the posts. Whelan added the conversion.

The Chiefs dominated the middle part of the half. Twice the forwards were held up over the line before skipper Alan Hubbleday turned up in the centre to burst through under the posts following a ruck near the line. Again Tom Whelan converted.

Paignton showed their fighting spirit by working their way up field and laying siege to the Sidmouth line. However, once again the home defence held firm against sustained pressure before a penalty enabled them to relieve the pressure.

The Chiefs finished the game on top and added another try in injury time. Just when it seemed an attack had broken down, Tom Whelan changed the direction with a long pass, which found replacement scrum half Matt Goss in space on the right to put the finishing touch.

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