Chiefs’ spirited fightback
Wadebridge Camels 1st Xv 26, Sidmouth 1st Xv 14
After three weeks without a game the Chiefs looked decidedly rusty against Wadebridge, who have not missed a game. They began to gain cohesion in the second half, but the home side’s superiority in the scrums was the decisive factor in a bonus point win, writes Terry O’Brien.
In the fifth minute the Chiefs were caught out at a lineout near their line. Instead of the expected catch-and-drive play, a move around the front produced a simple try for the home hooker.
For much of the remainder of the half, play took place mainly between the 22 metre lines. Wadebridge played the more cohesive rugby but could not break down the Sidmouth defence in which new flankers Alva Senderayi and particularly Dwight Pansegrouw covered and tackled tirelessly.
Despite having the diagonal breeze in their favour, the Chiefs failed to use it effectively and their most dangerous moments came from the tricky running of Sam Meadham. However, he had to rely on opposition kicks rather than his own team to give him possession.
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A bout of particularly laboured handling by the Sidmouth backs led to the second Wadebridge try, when the inside centre intercepted and ran in from his own 22. The try was converted by the fly half.
Wadebridge finished the half strongly and were camped on the Sidmouth line throughout a prolonged period of injury time.
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The defence held out well against a lineout maul, a five metre scrum and several pick-and-drive attempts from close to the line. The score remained 12-0 at the break.
The Chiefs started the second half well and were soon rewarded by a fine opportunist try by Alva Senderayi.
They lost a scrum against the head on the Wadebridge 22, but the home side failed to control the ball, which squirted out of the side.
The young flanker snapped up the loose ball and beat two men on his way to the line. The try was converted by Tom Whelan.
With their scrum advantage and making good use of the breeze, Wadebridge regained the initiative in the middle of the half.
The full back ran back a missed touch kick and profited from a couple of missed tackles to score in the corner.
The fly half converted well from wide out. In the 70th minute, after a long period of pressure in the 22, the Chiefs ran out of defenders and the right winger sprinted over in the corner. Again the fly half produced a fine conversion kick.
To their credit the Chiefs produced a spirited finish and were rewarded with a try by skipper Alan Hubbleday, who drove over for a converted try from a ruck near the line.