Sidmouth sliding towards the drop after another blnak Blackmore day.

10:42 30 January 2014

Sidmouth chiefs at Blackmore against Bideford. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 1141-05-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Sidmouth chiefs at Blackmore against Bideford. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref shsp 1141-05-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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Sidmouth 0, Bideford 22

Although survival in the South West league remains a mathematical possibility, any lingering realistic prospects disappeared with this defeat on a muddy and windswept Blackmore Field, writes Terry O’Brien.

With the stiff diagonal breeze in their favour, the Chiefs enjoyed much territorial advantage in the first half, but failed to put points on the board. Their cause was not helped by wholesale changes in personnel and positions soon after halftime. Bideford duly took control to run out comfortable winners.

With both teams adjusting to the conditions underfoot and overhead, things were evenly matched in the early stages. Bideford retained the ball better through the phases without posing much threat, while Sidmouth looked more dangerous with the ball in hand. Strong runs by Jack Pyne and Andrew Dare opened opportunities, but the momentum was not maintained.

Eventually Bideford took the lead on ten minutes with a penalty kicked by the fly half.

As the half progressed, the Chiefs gained territorial advantage. Good driving by the forwards, followed by a crisp handling move by the backs, was only halted a few metres short of the line, where a penalty was conceded and the danger cleared.

The visitors made a rare excursion into the Sidmouth 22 with a similar move, but an interception by Dan Retter brought it to an end and he cleared the ball up field.

The Chiefs finished the half strongly, pressing in the Bideford 22, but could not put the finishing touch to some promising approach work. The score remained 0-3 at half time.

Then came the changes, with all three replacements being introduced along with four changes of position. And Bideford immediately increased their lead when they exploited an overlap on the right with a slick handling move. The right winger dived over in the corner.

Bideford continued to dominate proceedings for much of the remainder of the game. The Chiefs defended with great determination, but two more tries were added. A loose clearance kick was run back exploiting a lack of defenders on the left. The outside centre finished the move off and the fly half converted from wide out. Minutes later the ball went loose from a lineout close to the line and the Bideford hooker was quickest to react to gather and dive over in the corner. Again the difficult conversion was successful.

The Chiefs had a brief moment of hope when Christian Goddard intercepted on halfway and set off up field. He was eventually overhauled and they were unable to capitalise on the position gained.

Bideford continued to press for a bonus point try, but the Sidmouth defence remained defiant to the end.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain North Petherton in a game rearranged from January 4. The kick off at the Blackmore is at 2.30pm.

The Quins travel to Paignton for a Merit Table game.

The Colts play Teignmouth Colts at Sidford kicking off at 2.30pm.

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