Sidmouth Chiefs produced a champion performance to ensure they will finish the season as league winners thanks to an excellent performance, beating Cullompton 44-13 in difficult muddy conditions, writes Terry O’Brien.

The Chiefs started in good fashion and crossed the Cullompton line from a lineout catch-and-drive play but were unable to ground the ball. However, they maintained the initiative and soon opened the scoring when Tom Hodge touched down following a tap penalty move near the line. Jake Allen kicked the conversion.

When the Chiefs turned over possession on the Cullompton 22, good handling moved the ball to Cian Warren on the left wing for him to cross in the corner. Again, Jake Allen added the conversion.

Cullompton opened their scoring with a penalty kicked by the full back and followed up with a try from their first attacking move. They kept possession well through several phases until a forward crashed over from close range.

On the half hour, Allen added a second penalty, but, from the restart kick, a Cullompton forward picked up the ball from a Sidmouth ruck and found an open field in front of him. He sprinted into the Sidmouth 22 before passing to the right winger to score in the corner.

The Chiefs finished the half in style with possibly their best try of the season. Tom Hodge broke from his own 22 to set up a handling move involving six players to send Sam Heathcote over under the posts. Allen’s conversion made the half-time score 22-13.

Five minutes into the second half, they increased the lead when skipper Haydon Down touched down on the blindside of a ruck near the line. Allen converted from the touchline. A break by Archie Cruze from halfway was carried on by Shaun Malton. The move was finished off by Jake Reid and converted by Allen.

The ubiquitous Tom Hodge started the move for the last try with another break from his own 22. Good handling set Rory O’Brien up for the touchdown. Jake Allen completed the scoring with a third penalty.

Eleven points ahead with two league games to go, the Chiefs cannot be caught.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Newton Abbot, who they will meet again in the semi-final of the Devon Intermediate Cup, played over two legs next month. On the Blackmore Field, the Quins play Newton Abbot 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm.

The Sidmouth RFC celebrations extended to the Colts, who have been crowned champions of the Devon RFU Colts Merit and also won through to the semi-finals of the Devon Cup after defeating Crediton.

Sidmouth Valkyries travelled to Bicton College for a tense clash against Withycombe. After a rugby rarity with a blank first period, the attacking players gradually found their rhythm, Jess Perry producing an outstanding display for the Valkyries, who were unlucky to eventually lose a super game 8-5.

Sidmouth Herald: Joy for the Chiefs