Chiefs net fourth successive win with victory at Falmouth
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Chiefs continued their move up the league table with a fourth consecutive win at the expense of fellow strugglers Falmouth, defeating the Cornish side 24-19 on their own pitch, writes Terry O’Brien.
Despite a damp and greasy surface after heavy rain, both sides played open rugby to produce a close and entertaining game. The Chiefs, never behind after taking an early lead, had to show considerable composure as Falmouth staged a strong comeback in the final quarter.
The Sidmouth forwards produced a strong performance to provide a solid platform. Sione Livai replaced the absent Tom Seward seamlessly, gaining valuable yardage with some strong running. Jack Pyne, making his first start of the season, also gained good yardage.
With three changes from the previous week, the backs showed less cohesion, with most of the penetration coming from full back Luke Wells-Burr with a man-of-the-match performance.
The Chiefs started strongly and deservedly opened the scoring in the eighth minute. The forwards advanced the ball through several phases deep into the Falmouth 22 before releasing it to the backs. Luke Wells-Burr joined the line in the centre to cut through and touch down near the posts. Dan Retter converted.
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Sidmouth continued to enjoy territorial advantage for much of the half without adding to the score and it was against the run of play that Falmouth drew level on the half hour. A clean break through the centre created the opportunity finished off by the left winger. The fly half added the conversion.
A Dan Retter penalty kicked in injury time gave his side a 10-7 lead at the break.
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The Chiefs continued to dominate after the restart and began to turn pressure into points. A fine counterattacking run by Luke Wells-Burr was only ended when he slipped with the try line in sight. However, the forwards were on hand to drive the ball forward and Sione Livai barged his way over from close range for Dan Retter to convert.
A few minutes later Sione Livai provided the finishing touch again after some excellent approach work. Josh Bess and Cameron Grainger combined on the blindside of a scrum on halfway to take play into the 22. A short break by Dan Retter was supported by the forwards, who advanced the ball to the line, where the flanker finished off from close range. Dan Retter kicked his third conversion.
Falmouth narrowed the margin with a try from a lineout catch -and-drive play midway through the half.
With five minutes of normal time to go, both sides were reduced to 14 men as the referee wielded the yellow card after a minor flare up. Falmouth seemed less affected as they reduced the arrears further with a converted try from a tap penalty move after a long period of pressure.
The Chiefs managed to play out the remaining time safely inside the opposing half.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain Wadebridge Camels kicking off at 2.30pm. The Quins travel to play Withycombe 2nds and the Colts are at Torquay.