Sidmouth Chiefs win at Credtion to climb off bottom of the table

PUBLISHED: 14:19 12 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:19 12 November 2017

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 43-17TI 2307. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 43-17TI 2307. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth Chiefs produced a tactically assured performance in difficult conditions to achieve their third win of the season, winning 15-5 at Crediton to climb off the bottom of the league table, writes Terry O’Brien

Sidmouth Chiefs produced a tactically assured performance in difficult conditions to achieve their third win of the season, winning 15-5 at Crediton to climb off the bottom of the league table, writes Terry O’Brien

Persistent drizzle and a slippery surface limited ambition and dictated a pragmatic approach.

Sidmouth duly delivered through the accurate boot of Dan Retter and a strong performance by the pack, particularly with driving mauls from lineout possession, where Josh Bess was a dominant force in his first appearance of the season.

Elsewhere, flankers Tom Seward and Matt Farrington were in the thick of things throughout, both in defence and attack. New Zealander Sione Livai showed he is adapting to rugby in England with some powerful running and many yards gained. And veteran Nick Mills was in his element in a forward orientated game, at the heart of Sidmouth endeavour and a constant nuisance to the opposition.

Meanwhile, the Sidmouth back three of Lukes Wells-Burr and Bess, Ethan Mead and latterly Zac Bess dealt effectively with Crediton’s kicking game.

The backline showed some early promise but, as the game progressed, running and handling became progressively difficult making kicking and chasing the better option.

Crediton kicked off and had the better of the opening exchanges as the Chiefs came to terms with the conditions. However, they defended well and took the lead against the run of play on their first visit to the opposing half, when Dan Retter kicked a penalty from wide out on the right.

As the half progressed, the Chiefs gradually took control. Accurate kicking and determined chasing kept Crediton pinned inside their own half. This was supported by strong mauling and effective driving by the forwards.

The only thing missing was a try as they lacked sufficient composure near the try line. However, Dan Retter kept the scoreboard ticking over with two more successful penalties to give his side a 9-0 halftime lead.

Immediately after the restart, the Chiefs seemed to lose concentration and Crediton capitalised with the only try of the game. A succession of missed first-up tackles allowed the opposition to build up momentum and progress the ball through several phases to the Sidmouth line, where a forward forced his way over from close range. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs regained their composure and the initiative with a good handling move to take play into the Crediton 22, where the forwards took over. A powerful surge by Sione Livai took him over the line but the referee ruled that he had lost control of the ball.

From a lineout catch-and-drive play, the maul was driven 20 metres forward and diagonally to the centre of the Crediton 22. When the ball emerged, instead of attacking to the unmarked left they chose the heavily marked right and the chance was lost.

A fourth penalty left Crediton needing to score twice as the Chiefs maintained territorial advantage. Then, with ten minutes to go, man-of-the-match Dan Retter kicked a cheeky drop goal to put his side in a commanding position.

Crediton staged a late surge, but the Chiefs defence held firm to deny them a bonus point.

On Saturday (November 18), the Chiefs return to Crediton to contest the first round of the Devon Intermediate Cup.

The Quins travel to play Brixham 2nds

At the Blackmore Field, the Colts entertain Paignton Colts kicking off at 2.30pm.

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