Sidmouth 17, Tiverton 7

The Chiefs notched up their second win of the season to progress to the semi-finals of the Devon Intermediate Cup, but they had to soak up a lot of second half pressure against a Tiverton side, which has won all 13 of their league games, and are favourites for promotion from the Cornwall and Devon league, writes Terry O’Brien.

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Both sides had to adapt to the wet and muddy conditions, which they were experiencing for the first time this season, and the Chiefs made a perfect start with an early try. After six minutes a crunching Dwight Pansegrouw tackle knocked the ball loose. Sam Sowden snapped it up and found a clear field in front of him. He raced in to touch down in the left corner. Dan Retter kicked a difficult conversion.

The visitors benefitted from poor Sidmouth discipline as a series of penalties enabled them to kick for attacking positions. In the middle of the half, the Chiefs managed to foil an attempted lineout catch-and-drive attempt, but Tiverton kept up the pressure near the line. When the ball was released to their backs, Liam Lewis, son of former Sidmouth captain Steve, powered his way through the centre for a try under the posts. The conversion levelled the scores.

Tiverton soon returned to the attack and Sidmouth were fortunate that a charged down kick rebounded over the dead ball line, allowing them to clear the danger with a 22 drop out.

The Chiefs began to reassert themselves as the half progressed. Breaks by Tom Huggett and Christian Goddard put them in position for a penalty attempt, but the kick drifted wide of the posts. Late in the half, a good move by the backs opened up the defence, but a wayward pass brought it to an end and the scores remained level at half time.

Again the Chiefs made a good start to the half with an early try. Josh Bess linked with Steve Trim down the blind side of a scrum on the Tiverton 10 metre line. The replacement scrum half dummied his way through the first line of defence and raced clear to score in the right corner. Again Dan Retter converted from wide out.

As the half progressed, Tiverton had the upper hand in the scrums and were using the driving maul to good effect to pin the Chiefs in their own half. However, they were unable to profit from the same move when they got in range of the Sidmouth line. Twice they lost control of the ball as they drove to the line, and once they were driven back by the Sidmouth forwards. The Chiefs also defended strongly against the pick and drive from a series of ruck near the line. Eventually Tiverton were penalised and the Chiefs were able to clear the ball up field.

When Josh Bess stole a Tiverton lineout throw, Dan Retter launched a long diagonal kick. Tom Seward followed up to force the full back to concede a five metre scrum. Unfortunately the Sidmouth pack was driven back and Tiverton were able to clear the danger.

The Chiefs managed to keep the opponents at long range for much of the last ten minutes of normal time and a Dan Retter penalty put them two scores clear as the game entered injury time.

There was still time for Tiverton to launch one last offensive, and the Chiefs did well to resist a push over attempt at a five metre scrum before the relief of the final whistle came.

The Chiefs are due to travel to Ivybridge for the semi-final in the New Year.

The Chiefs resume their league campaign on January 4, with a home game against North Petherton (2.30pm).

On Saturday the Quins travel to play South Molton 1st XV.

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