Chiefs beaten for first time in six outings

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 suffered their first defeat in six games when beaten 16-12 at a wet and windy St Austell, writes Terry O’Brien.

A high penalty count, when playing with the wind in the first half, prevented them from maintaining field position and controlling the game. With a minimum ten point lead needed, they reached half-time a point behind.

The Chiefs made a flying start with a try after just five minutes. From a five metre scrum, Harry Chesterton picked a good line at pace to cut through between the fly half and inside centre before stepping inside the full back to touch down near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

They were soon back on the attack, but the closest they came to a score was a penalty attempt, which drifted just wide of the posts.

St Austell came more into the game as the Chiefs conceded penalties. The home side put together some good handling moves and retained possession well through the phases. Midway through the half they opened their scoring with a penalty by the fly half.

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The number 10 showed that he could run as well as kick with a fine break from his own half to take play into the Sidmouth 22. The St Austell pack took over to advance the ball through several phases to stretch the Sidmouth defence. When the ball was moved to the backs the left winger cut through, to score a converted try.

The Chiefs showed a brief glimpse of their attacking potential with a good handling move to send James Powell on a run down the left, but another penalty concession allowed the home side to relieve the pressure.

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The St Austell fly half kicked a second penalty to increase his side’s lead with five minutes of the half to go.

The Chiefs finished the half strongly and were rewarded with a fine try in the final minute. Harry Chesterton broke to the St Austell ten metre line on the left of the field. When he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled and moved to the blindside, where Sam Meadham was in space on the wing. He still had much to do, but beat two men on his way to the line. The try was unconverted and the half-time whistle went with the score 12-13.

Soon after the restart the St Austell fly half kicked a third penalty to increase his side’s lead.

Playing into the wind, the Chiefs knew they had a mountain to climb. They set about the task with great determination. They defended extreemly well to prevent St Austell from adding to their score.

The forwards made inroads with strong running from Aiden Taylor, Christian Edbrooke, Ollie May and Alex Ford in particular. The backs, with three changes from the previous week, found it difficult in the wet and windy conditions, but still constructed a few promising moves. But hard-earned ground was quickly regained with interest by their opponents kicking with the wind at their backs.

The best scoring chance came with two minutes to go. The forward drove to the 22 before the ball was moved to the blindside of a ruck, where James Powell was in space, but he was tackled a couple of metres short of the line.

St Austell cleared upfield but the Chiefs had one more attacking opportunity. They worked the ball through many phases to take play back into the opposing 22, but a knock on was followed by the final whistle.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain Wadebridge Camels kicking off at 2.30pm.

The Quins travel to Ivybridge and the third team are in action at South Molton.

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