Chiefs should have, could have, won
Paignton completed the treble over Sidmouth in a game which had end-of-season written all over it, writes Terry O'Brien.
Paignton completed the treble over Sidmouth in a game which had end-of-season written all over it. But, although the score line would indicate a comfortable win for the Cherries, this really was a game the Chiefs could, and should, have won. While Paignton took the one try-scoring chance presented to them, the Chiefs squandered several opportunities, twice when it would almost have been easier to score than not.Ben Damen kicked off for the Chiefs in perfect conditions and his side created two chances in the opening five minutes. A move initiated by a Steve Trim break from a scrum on halfway ended a few metres short, then a powerful run by Andy Matchett was only halted five metres from the try line. However, the pressure was rewarded when Damen kicked a penalty for offside.The Paignton fly half equalised two minutes later following a similar offence in the Sidmouth 22. Then the Chiefs regained the initiative when Steve Trim took his side back into the opposing 22 with a typical quick tap and go. When he was eventually tackled Paignton were penalised at the ruck and Damen kicked his side in front once again.The Chiefs continued to dominate the first quarter and good work by the backs created space for Simeon Lewry down the left wing. He left three defenders in his wake before the cover brought him down a few metres short. He was unfortunate to be penalised for not releasing which allowed hard pressed Paignton to relieve the pressure.The home side came more into the game and had the better of the second quarter as the Chiefs had problems in the lineouts, where they lost four in a row on their own throw, and conceded too many turnovers. Two penalties in five minutes gave Paignton the lead before their fly half, and goal kicker, was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on. Despite the extra man, Sidmouth could not regain control and their error count mounted until they conceded what was to prove to be the only, and decisive, try of the game. The forwards went into contact on their 22 but a Paignton forward emerged from the maul with the ball. His run was halted just short of the line but he was able to offload to a supporting prop forward who forced his way over. The try was unconverted. The Chiefs finished the half strongly. A clean break through the centre by Giles Dixon might have produced more had he found his support. Then they won two five metre scrums in injury time but failed to convert either of them into points leaving the halftime score at 6-14.Skipper Steve Trim started the second half, as he had the first, with a break to initiate a dangerous move but a dropped pass brought it to an end. A break by Tristan Beavis was promising but again the move fizzled out. However, the pressure was rewarded with a third Ben Damen penalty.The Chiefs were well on top in the middle of the half when Paignton lost their hooker to the sin bin for persistent infringements. It was at this point that the game was really won and lost when two golden opportunities were wasted. Both involved Ben Damen whose intelligent probing had caused indecision in the defence all game. In the 25th minute he dummied his way through the first line of defence following a ruck on the Paignton 22. A pass to Andy Matchett would have put the winger one-on-one with the full back. Instead he carried on running into the wingman's space, forcing him inside. His eventual pass failed to find a target. A few minutes later the fly half cut a superb angle to take a short pass from Steve Trim 15 metres from the line. This time he timed his pass perfectly only to see the ball spilled with the line wide open.This seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Chiefs and, once Paignton were restored to full strength, they had the better of the closing stages kicking two penalties in injury time to produce a winning margin which was somewhat flattering.