Chiefs suffer big blow to survival hopes
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Sidmouth suffered a big blow in their bid to beat the drop when they lost 31-23 to visiting Crediton, writes Terry O’Brien.
This defeat to the Mid Devon men, and failure to secure a bonus point, leaves the Chiefs just one place above the relegation zone with four games to play.
The perfect spring conditions favoured the Sidmouth handling game, but they failed to finish a number of promising handling moves and too often lost the ball in contact, when the Crediton defence was at full stretch.
Crediton kicked off and opened the scoring with a penalty kicked by the fly half in the second minute. The Chiefs responded with a good spell in attack, moving the ball through several phases. Their reward was an equalising penalty kicked by Paul Richardson.
The Chiefs looked the more dangerous side through the middle of the half. They produced a series of good handling moves covering 50 metres or more, but each one came to an end as it entered the opposing 22. A second Richardson penalty was the only reward.
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Crediton were soon back on terms with a penalty of their own before the Chiefs regained the lead, when they capitalised on a loose clearance kick to score a fine try. Dan Rugg fielded the ball on halfway and broke upfield and found Rhys Thomas in support. The flanker sprinted into the 22 before sending Tom Seward clear to the line. Paul Richardson added the conversion.
Crediton finished the half strongly as their forwards began to control the set pieces. After a period of pressure, they scored a pushover try from a five metre scrum touched down by the number eight. The successful conversion made the half-time score 13-all.
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Paul Richardson kicked his side back in front soon after the restart, but it was Crediton who enjoyed territorial advantage during the third quarter. They retook the lead with a lineout catch-and-drive play finished off by the number eight for his second try. The fly half converted.
With a Crediton player in the sin-bin, Sidmouth again created a couple of good scoring opportunities but failed to finish them off. Despite being a man short, Crediton won a scrum against the head and the fly half made a break to start a handling move finished off by the right winger. The try was unconverted.
Sidmouth hit back almost immediately, when Aaron Bagwell broke from the base of a ruck just outside the Crediton 22 and found Paul Richardson in support to score near the posts. He also added the conversion.
Crediton added two penalties in the last ten minutes of normal time to open up a nine point lead. The Chiefs had a penalty attempt in the final minute of injury time to earn a bonus point, but the kick was just wide of the mark.
On Saturday (April 9) the Chiefs travel to Torquay.
At the Blackmore Field the Quins entertain South Molton 1st XV with kick-off at 3pm.
The Colts play Crediton Colts at Sidford also with a 3pm kick-off.