Chiefs want better performance at Thornbury

Sidmouth 1st Xv 12pts, Clevedon 1st Xv 32pts

The Chiefs were unfortunate to meet in-form Clevedon playing at their best. For an hour the Somerset side showed why they are rising rapidly up the league with an object lesson in ball retention through skilful handling and close support of the ball carrier. Sidmouth rarely got their hands on the ball, and, when they did, gave it away all too easily, writes Terry O’Brien.

The Chiefs’ cause was not helped by having to play for 20 minutes with 14 men. Thanks to some determined defensive work, they were only 13 points down, and still in the game, at half time. However, two tries in quick succession immediately after the break sealed their fate.

The Chiefs kicked off in perfect conditions but were soon pinned back in their own half. They did well to concede only a penalty after 13 minutes of continuous pressure. Straight from the restart kick, Josh Bess was yellow carded for an early tackle on the catcher. The ball was kicked into the Sidmouth half and the rearguard action continued. A last-ditch tackle on the number 12 by Chris Higgs saved a certain try. Then a powerful drive at a five metre scrum caused Clevedon to lose control and Steve Trim snapped up the loose to clear the danger.

Clevedon eventually made the extra man tell when a good handling move created an overlap for the left winger to run in an unconverted try.

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Restored to 15 men, the Chiefs had their only threatening moment of the half, when Harry Chesterton made a break in the centre. Tom Seward provided a link to Sam Richardson, who was eventually brought down a couple of metres from the line.

Clevedon were soon back on the attack and, while the Sidmouth captain was in the sin bin for a late tackle, added a second try. The right winger left several defenders in his wake when he ran back a loose kick. The try was unconverted and the half time score remained 0-13.

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Any hope of a comeback disappeared immediately following the kick off. The Chiefs failed to secure the ball and Clevedon launched a handling move which was finished off by the number seven. A fourth try quickly followed as forwards and backs combined to put the full back in the clear. Both tries were converted.

Midway through the half came the fifth and best try from a move started deep inside their own half. Three times the Chiefs seemed to have stopped the move, but each time a player was on hand to take the offload before the outside centre dived over in the left corner.

To their credit, the Chiefs did not lose heart and rallied splendidly to score two consolation tries in the final quarter. Jack Pyne powered his way over from close range after a period of pressure inside the Clevedon 22. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

Pyne also got the second. Matt Farrington peeled away from a driving maul before giving the scoring pass.

They almost finished in style with a fine handling move, but Chris Higgs was brought down a couple of metres short in injury time.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Thornbury.

At the Blackmore, the Quins take on Devonport Services 2nds, kicking off at 2.30pm.

At Sidford, the Colts entertain Torquay Colts, also with a 2.30pm kick off.

After the games the Scotland v England Six Nations International will be screened in the Blackmore clubhouse. Kick off is at 5pm.

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