Coney Hill 12, Sidmouth 15 (match abandoned after 52 minutes)

The Chiefs will have to make a second trip up the M5 to Gloucester to replay this match after it was abandoned, when a Coney Hill player sustained an injury to the head and neck in a tackle in the 53rd minutes of a closely contested game, writes Terry O’Brien.

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The player could not be moved until an ambulance arrived, by which time it was too dark to continue. The Chiefs were leading 15-12 at the time.

Coney Hill kicked off in good conditions with a stiff breeze blowing across the pitch. The Chiefs shortcomings in the set pieces were soon in evidence, as was their threat with the ball in hand. A fine run out of his own 22, followed by a kick ahead into space, by James Powell gave his side a strong attacking position. Following an offence in a lineout, Dan Retter kicked his side into the lead with a penalty.

In the middle of the half, play was mostly confined between the 22 metre lines. It seemed as if the Chiefs had extended their lead, when Giles Dixon followed up his own kick ahead to reclaim the ball and send James Powell on a clear run to the line. However, the referee ruled the pass forward.

Instead, Coney Hill took the lead, when they kicked a penalty to the corner and mauled their way over from the resulting lineout. The try was converted.

The Chiefs soon regained the lead, when breaks by Dwight Pansewgrouw and Dan Retter took play into the opposing 22, where a Rory O’Brien chip ahead hit a defender and deflected over the goal line for James Powell to follow up and claim the touchdown. Dan Retter added the conversion.

Coney Hill hit back almost immediately, when they won a scrum against the head and the number eight went on a powerful run downfield before passing to a centre, who ran in for an unconverted try. They looked certain to extend the lead further, when a break in the centre opened up the Sidmouth defence. However, Dan Rugg got back to make a try-saving tackle metres short of the line. James Powell picked up the loose ball and broke upfield to take his side out of danger, leaving the half time score at 10-12.

The Chiefs opened the second half strongly and pressure forced a miskick out of defence. The ball was fielded by Dan Rugg. He started a handling move, which put Charlie Cotton in space on the left wing. His pace took him around the covering defenders for an unconverted try.

A few minutes later came the injury to the Coney Hill left winger and the premature end of the game.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain Tiverton in the quarter final of the Devon Intermediate Cup. The kick off at the Blackmore will be at the earlier time of 2pm.

The Quins travel to Teignmouth, and the Colts play Paignton Colts at Sidford with a 2.30pm kick off.

On Boxing Day, the Chiefs will play their traditional game against the President’s XV. The kick off is at 2.30pm.

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