Encouraging signs in Chiefs’ defeat at St Ives

PUBLISHED: 13:24 19 October 2017

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1666. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1666. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth went down to a 44-12 defeat on their visit to St Ives, writes Terry O’Brien.

Despite the score-line, there was much encouragement in the Chiefs’ performance against a much bigger side containing a number of players with National League experience with clubs like Redruth and Camborne. St Ives had to work hard for their tries, all of which were scored in the corners, mostly after long periods of pressure against a determined defence.

Despite a significant weight disadvantage, the Sidmouth scrum was solid and withstood a couple of attempts at pushover tries. The line-outs were also equally contested. However, when St Ives got their big men running, their support play and offloading was top class and was the difference between the two sides.

St Ives opened the scoring on 15 minutes, when they gained possession following a charged down Sidmouth kick. They retained possession through several phases until an overlap was created for the left winger to score. The try was well converted by the full back.

They soon increased the lead, when the full back cut through from a move on the blindside of a five-metre scrum.

The Chiefs produced a couple of promising handling moves out of defence in the first quarter but did not take play into the St Ives 22 until midway through the half, when Ethan Mead was put into space on the left wing.

He sprinted into the 22 before the cover defence caught him. He was well supported and the forwards set up a series of rucks near the line but were eventually penalised and the ball was cleared upfield.

The Chiefs were soon back on the attack, when another good handling move sent Ethan Mead sprinting back into the 22. This time, when the ball was recycled it was moved to the backs and Rory O’Brien timed his pass well to send Ethan Mead over in the corner for an unconverted try.

A Dan Retter penalty attempt rebounded off an upright before St Ives took control in the closing stages of the half. The Chiefs defended with great determination for several minutes but, deep into injury time, the St Ives right winger crossed in the corner for an unconverted try to send his side into the interval with a 17-5 lead.

With the breeze now in their favour, St Ives kept play inside the Sidmouth half for much of the time and added four tries without reply over the next 30 minutes. The left winger completed his hat-trick with two tries on the overlap after long periods of pressure. The scrum half chased his own kick to touch down wide out on the right and the hooker finished off an excellent handling move, which covered 60 metres.

The Chiefs showed great spirit, despite the disruption caused by three injuries, to score a second try.

Ethan Mead and Luke Wells-Burr combined in a move out of defence before the latter’s kick and chase took play into the home 22.

The ball was carried through several phases before Dan Ledger forced his way over the line from close range. Dan Retter kicked the conversion.

St Ives added another try in injury time, when the outside centre finished off a fine handling moved against an exhausted defence.

On Saturday (October 21), the Chiefs entertain Truro with a 3pm kick-off.

The Quins travel to play Exeter Engineers and the Colts are at Teignmouth.

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