Sidmouth Chiefs well beatn at St Austell
07:41 17 January 2014
St Austell 46, Sidmouth 15
The Chiefs travelled to Cornwall with another much-changed team and put up a spirited performance against a side strongly in contention for promotion, writes Terry O’Brien.
They were very much in the game until the much bigger St Austell pack began to assert their authority as the game progressed.
St Austell kicked off in perfect conditions. The Chiefs secured the ball but were penalised as they drove forward. The influential home fly half kicked for the corner, where the Sidmouth pack did well to hold out against the anticipated catch-and-drive attempt from the resulting lineout. However, from the following scrum, the fly half found space down the blind side to score in the corner. The try was unconverted.
The Chiefs replied almost immediately when Dwight Pansegrouw intercepted a loose pass and took play deep into the opposing 22. From a scrum Tom Seward broke the gain line and found Andrew Dare in support to dive over near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.
The lead was short-lived as another penalty was kicked to the corner and this time the lineout maul was successfully driven over the line for another unconverted try.
Sidmouth were soon back on the attack with a promising handling move, but unfortunately the St Austell left winger intercepted and sprinted in from 70 metres. The try was converted to open up a ten point lead against the run of play.
Undaunted, the Chiefs fought back and were the better side during the middle of the half. Dwight Pansegrouw peeled off the back of a driving maul to power his way into the 22. The ball was quickly switched to the open, where quick handling found Rory O’Brien joining the line from full back. He made ground before passing to Dan Colson. The winger was brought down just short of the line but Andrew Dare was on hand to pick up and dive over. The try was unconverted, but Dan Retter kicked a drop goal after another period of pressure.
St Austell added a fortunate try. A handling move seemed to be well covered by the Sidmouth defence, when a poor pass hit the full back’s foot and shot forward over the goal line. With the defence wrong-footed, the full back won the chase for the touchdown.
The same played added another try in first half injury time when he found a gap on the blind side of ruck near the line. The 15-27 half time score line did not reflect the evenness of the game at that stage.
The St Austell pack gained control of the set pieces as the second half progressed and Sidmouth spent much of the time in defence. This was a task they did not shirk and made the home side work hard for the three tries they added, all scored by forwards from close range after considerable pressure. Two were converted.
It was a testament to their fighting spirit that the Chiefs finished the game on the attack and were unfortunate not to add to their score in the closing stages.
On Saturday, the Chiefs entertain Chard in a rare local derby. The kick off at Blackmore is 2.30pm.
The Quins entertain Brixham 2nds at Sidford kicking off at 2.30pm.
The Colts travel to Exmouth.