Bess just foursome as Sidmout claim fourth straight league success

Sidmouth played Devonport Services on Saturday. Ref shsp 1474-42-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth played Devonport Services on Saturday. Ref shsp 1474-42-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

The Chiefs continued their move up the Cornwall and Devon league with a fourth successive victory, beating visiting Saltash 44-23 to go ahead of the Cornish side in the table, writes Terry O’Brien.

With the pack becoming a force in the set pieces and loose play, the talented backs are thriving an abundance of good possession.

However, there will be concern over poor discipline which allowed Saltash back into the game before the Chiefs took back control in the final quarter.

With the Blackmore Field waterlogged, the match was moved to Sidford, where the newly re-layed pitches were in perfect condition.

The reappearance of the sun created an ideal scenario for two teams who like to play open rugby.


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A penalty in the opening minutes enable Dan Retter to kick his side into an early lead. This was soon extended, when full back Zac Bess joined the line just inside his own half to embark on a solo run for an unconverted try.

A second Dan Retter penalty was immediately cancelled out by a similar effort from the Saltash full back. Then, when Saltash attempted a quick lineout throw near their own line, the ball was fumbled and Zac Bess was on hand to score an opportunist try. Dan Retter added the conversion.

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With both sides attacking from quick turnover ball, play moved from end to end. Try scoring opportunities were created but snuffed out by good cover defence at both ends. However, the Saltash full back closed the gap with two further penalties.

In first half injury time, a break by the Saltash outside centre created a try for his full back, which was unconverted, making the score 18-14 at the break.

The visitors started the second half strongly. Under pressure, the Chiefs conceded penalties and two successful kicks in quick succession put Saltash into the lead.

The Chiefs responded quickly when an Ollie May break was well supported by Tom Seward to take play deep into the Salktash 22. The ball was quickly recycled from a ruck for Dan Retter to dummy his way over.

A good handling move took play back into the visitors 22, where the forwards advanced to ball through several phases. This drew in defenders and, when the ball was released to the backs, Zac Bess cut through for his hat-trick try. Dan Retter’s conversion opened up a ten point gap before the Saltash full back kept his side in touch with a sixth penalty.

A Saltash kick out of defence was fielded by Tom Seward, who ran the ball back. Alex Ford and Harry Chesterton both made ground before Zac Bess finshed the move off with his fourth try. Dan Retter converted.

Harry Chesterton was in the action again in the closing minutes. His break on halfway started a move, which almost led to a fifth Zac Bess try. He was eventually brought down just short of the try line, where saltash turned over possession. As they tried to run out, a dropped pass fell nicely for Chesterton to scoop up and dart over. The successful conversion completed the scoring.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to St Austell. On the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Newton Abbot 2nds. The kick off is at 2.30pm. The Colts play Barnstaple Colts at Sidford also kicking off at 2.30pm.

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