Friday, March 21, 2014
As Oscar Wilde might have said, to give away one interception try is unfortunate, to give two is careless, but three is criminally negligent, writes Terry O’Brien.
Taking away the 21 points gifted in this way puts the Chiefs contribution to this highly entertaining game into perspective. Intoxicated by spring sunshine and a firm pitch, both sides were prepared to give the ball width. Frequent turnovers, particularly in the second half, provided plenty of counterattacking opportunities.
North Petherton kicked off with the breeze at their backs and took an early lead when the number eight picked up from a ruck on the Sidmouth ten metre line and burst through a gap to run in almost unopposed. The full back added the conversion.
The Chiefs posted their intent with a fine handling move to send Dan Colson sprinting up the right. In a good spell of pressure, Harry Chesterton and Josh Bess both made promising breaks. However, it was the visitors who scored again when the hooker intercepted a loose pass on halfway and ran in for a converted try.
A Cameron Grainger break from his own 22 paved the way for a move which sent Harry Shayler sprinting into the opposing 22, but a penalty enabled North Petherton to get back on the attack. A turnover gave the Chiefs an opportunity to attack from their own half, but an interception gifted another try, which was converted.
North Petherton added a fourth converted try when the right winger chased a kick ahead and benefitted from the bounce to run clear.
The half ended with the visitors pressing on the Sidmouth line. But a strike against the head by Tim Phillips enabled Dan Retter to clear the danger, leaving the half time score at 0-28.
Two minutes after the restart, the score was increased when the Chiefs failed to deal with a routine kick. When the North Petherton forwards recycled the ball from a ruck, the fly half exploited some slack defence to score near the posts, leaving a simple conversion.
The Chiefs gave their supporters some hope with two excellent tries in quick succession. Harry Chesterton took a short pass from his fly half to burst through the first line of defence just inside his own half. He had much to do, but outpaced the cover and stepped inside the full back to score under the posts. Then Dan Colson fielded a kick on his 22 and ran back to link with Rhys Thomas, who drove into North Petherton territory. The ball was switched into the open, where James Salter found Charlie Cotton with a long pass. The young winger left three defenders in his wake on his way to the line. Dan Retter added both conversions.
A slick move on the blind side of a scrum sent Harry Shayler sprinting into the opposing 22. The ball was taken on by the forwards and twice released to the congested right instead of the more sparsely defended left. On the second occasion the ball was intercepted by the outside centre, who ran in from 80 metres.
North Petherton finished strongly. Both Dan Rugg and Jevon Astley-Jones made try-saving tackles before the influential North Petherton number eight scored when his pack won a scrum against the head near the Sidmouth line in injury time.
On Saturday, the Chiefs travel Camborne whilst at Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Exmouth 2nds (3pm).
At Sidford, the Colts attempt to overturn a nine point deficit in the second leg of the Devon Colts Plate against Okehampton (3pm).