Cheifs see off Camels to cemnet fourth spot in the table

Sidmouth Chiefs at home to Wadebridge Camels. Ref shsp 4627-48-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth Chiefs at home to Wadebridge Camels. Ref shsp 4627-48-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs were 15-10 victors when they entertained Wadebridge Camels.

The Chiefs strengthened their hold on fourth position with a narrow, but deserved, win over the visitors. The performance of the forward pack proved decisive on a day when they fielded a makeshift back division, with eight, who have started this season on the injury list.

In good conditions, both sides played with ambition, but there were too many basic mistakes for the game to be a classic. While defences dominated, the closeness of the score, and drama at both ends in injury time, kept the interest of the spectators to the final whistle.

The visitors kicked off with the breeze in their favour, but the Chiefs were soon on the attack with forwards and backs combining well. The pressure forced a penalty but the kick drifted wide. Another offering soon followed from a difficult angle and the decision was made to kick to the corner for a lineout five metres out. Nick Mills made the catch to set up the maul and the forwards drove powerfully over for Aiden Taylor to get the touchdown. Dan Retter added the conversion.

A mistake from the restart kick enable Wadebridge to regain possession and drive toward the Siddmouth line. A forward drove over the line but was unable to ground the ball. The Chiefs held firm at the resulting five metre scrum, but conceeded a penalty as a defender moved offside. The fly half kicked the goal.

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With the breeze in their favour, Wadebridge enjoyed territorial advantage for much of the half. However, it was Sidmouth who created the best scoring chances. Twice they outflanked the defence down the left, but on both occasions the final pass failed to reach the target. At the other end, the home defence was strong. The score remained 7-3 at half-time.

Dan Retter extended the lead with a penalty soon after the restart, but Wadebridge were soon camped inside the Sidmouth 22. The Chiefs defended well against heavy pressure and it was just as the seemed to have lifted the seige that Wadebridge leveled the score with a fine try.

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The Chiefs had turned over possession and launched an attack from their own 22. They took play to halfway but lost possession in a ruck and Wadebridge took advantage to attack the right of the field, where the Sidmouth defence was thinest. The ball reached the winger in space and he outpaced the cover to score near the posts. The conversion made the score 10 all midway through the half.

Sidmouth raised their game to dominate much of the last quarter but suffered the fate of the man who continually tries the same thing hoping, but failing, to achieve a different outcome. They continually attacked the right of the scrum from the base and were continually thwarted.

The decisive score eventually came on the left side of the field in the 80th minute. Luke Wells-Burr fielded a clearance on the right near halfway and launched himself on a powerful run, which took him through three defenders to create a ruck just inside the 22. When the ball emerged, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick to the left, which was well caught by Harry Rumens. He drew the full back and timed his pass well to send James Powell sprinting in at the corner for an unconverted try.

With the game well into injury time, the restart kick was returned deep into the Wadebridge half, but a Sidmouth player had strayed offside and Wadebridge kicked into the corner. They won the lineout and set up a maul. With backs joining the pack, they drove to the line, where the Chiefs did well to hold them up. A player peeled off with the ball. He was tackled as he reached to line and lost the ball forward. The whistle sounded to end the game to the relief of the home supporters.

With other results going the right way, the Chiefs have drawn closer to the top of the league and drawn away from the chasing pack.

On Saturday (November 28), they will face a tough examination when they entertain Okehampton at the Blackmore Field. Okehampton are in third place having lost only one game so far this season. The kick off is at 2.30pm.

The Quins travel to Okehampton.

The third XV and Colts are both in action at Sidford playing Withycombe 2nds and Plymouth Argaum respectively. Both games at Sidford start at 2.30pm.

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