A pattern is emerging as Sidmouth Chiefs suffer another league defeat
- Credit: Archant
Matchday three of the new season saw Sidmouth suffer a third straight defeat when they were beaten 26-9 by hosts Devonport Services, writes Terry O’Brien.
A pattern is emerging, with the Chiefs leading at the hour mark in each of their three matches so far only to be overhauled in the latter stages, conceding tries giving their opponents a bonus point. There are clearly lessons to be learned!
Against Devonport, they met a side that could defend even more efficiently.
For defend Devonport had to do and, despite the Chiefs enjoying long periods of territorial advantage, this is the first time they have failed to score a try for a long time.
On the break, the league leaders were ruthlessly efficient with all four tries scored from long distance thanks to excellent support play and skilful handling.
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The home side showed their attacking potential in the fifth minute with a move starting in their own half, passing through many hands and finished off by the scrum half. The try was unconverted.
Two minutes later, Dan Retter reduced the arrears with a penalty and the Chiefs produced the best of the rugby for much of the rest of the half.
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A 60-metre run by Tom Hodge lacked support and he was eventually stopped just short of the try line. Similar breaks by Harry Chesterton and George Locke met a similar fate.
A rare moment of danger was snuffed out by a desperate ankle tap tackle from Luke Wells-Burr before the Chiefs finished the half on the offensive but unable to break down the Devonport defence.
Three minutes after the restart, Dan Retter put his side in front with a second penalty after a concerted attack had been stopped illegally.
When Devonport were reduced to 14 men following a dangerous tackle, the Chiefs were well placed to take control and, indeed, they continued to keep play confined to the opposing half.
However, it was Devonport who scored next against the run of play.
Again, it was a well-supported break from their own half, which was finished off by the left winger. The fly half added the conversion.
Again, the Chiefs were attacking when the left winger was in the action again, breaking out from his own half to start a move finished by the right winger. The fly half converted.
With 10 minutes to go, Dan Retter kicked a third penalty to keep his side in contention.
The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and pressing on the Devonport line.
They were awarded a penalty in front of the post, which would have put them within seven points and a potential bonus point. Instead they opted to go for a try, but unsuccessfully.
In the final minute, a powerful run by the Devonport number eight started another fine handling move to send the left winger over for his second try. The conversion completed the scoring.
There is no doubt that the Chiefs can win at this level but to do so they need to be able to compete for more than 60 minutes.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain Hornets from Weston-super-Mare, kicking off at 3pm while Sidmouth Quins travel to play Exmouth 3rds.