Chiefs win despite on- pitch injury drama
The Chiefs achieved their first ever win at St Ives in a match which took two and a half hours to complete, and at a heavy cost.
Injuries to James Perry (eye) and Tristan Beavis (head) resulted in the appearance of three ambulances and an RAF rescue helicopter on the pitch. A change of pitch was also required. Despite the disruption, Sidmouth produced two sparkling tries in the latter stages to turn around a game which seemed to be slipping away from them.
Sidmouth began the game playing up the slope. With the newly assembled front row of Ben Halford, Ollie Derryman and James Perry giving their side the edge in the scrums, they enjoyed most of the possession and territorial advantage.
The pressure yielded penalties and Dan Retter converted three to open up a 9-0 lead. However, St Ives responded well to cut most of the deficit when sloppy handling by the Chiefs allowed them to kick through to the Sidmouth line, where pressure brought a converted try.
The home side kicked a penalty on the stroke of halftime which allowed them to change ends with a 10-9 advantage.
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The start of the second half was delayed for 20 minutes while an ambulance was awaited to attend James Perry, who had suffered an eye injury.
Playing down the slope, Sidmouth were confident of overturning the one point deficit.
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But, despite dominating proceedings, they struggled to reproduce the flowing rugby which had produced five tries the week before. Chances went begging as the final pass failed to find its target.
The best opportunity came when a kick was charged down in the St Ives’ in-goal area, but the bounce eluded them and the ball was scrambled away into touch. From the resulting lineout, St Ives produced their best move of the game to break out into the Sidmouth half.
A penalty allowed them to kick for a lineout close to the Sidmouth line. They produced a move which ended with the centre breaking through to score under the posts. The conversion opened up an eight point lead.
The Chiefs were quickly back on the attack and were finally rewarded when Ollie Pyne took a quick tap penalty. He found Sam Richardson in support to crash over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Immediately following the restart kick, the game suffered its second long delay when Tristan Beavis was knocked unconscious in a collision with his opposite number.
The attendant medical staff were not happy to move him and, when an ambulance arrived, it was decided it would be safer to transfer him to hospital by air. The Air Ambulance was on call elsewhere so the RAF were called into action.
Consequently, it was eventually decided to play the final ten minutes of the match on an adjacent pitch.
Almost immediately, the Chiefs found themselves defending a lineout five metres from their line. Ollie Pyne soared to steal the ball and drove up field. He found Richardson in support, who made ground to the 22 before setting up a ruck. The ball was quickly recycled to the backs who produced a sweeping handling move which took play to the St Ives’ line.
Ollie Pyne attempted to finish the move he had started but was held up just short of the line. When the ball emerged from the ruck, a long pass found Dan Retter in space to score a try which he then converted. Not content to sit on their three point lead, they attacked direct from the restart kick. Sam Meadham exploited space down the narrow side before switching play to the open.
Tom Hodge came into the line from full back to create the extra man. His deftly timed pass found Sam Richardson on a well-angled run to burst through two wrong-footed defenders for his second try.
St Ives kicked a consolation penalty at the death to give them a bonus point.
The Chiefs’ late charge showed the strength of their bench with Sam Sowden and Brendan Spokes making impressive league debuts, and Sam Meadham a welcome, and telling, return to the squad.
?On Saturday the Chiefs entertain Old Redcliffians, who have won their first three games to establish themselves as one of the early favourites, 3pm.
?The Quins and Colts both travel to Bideford for Merit Table games.
?The 3rd Team entertain Bideford 3rds in the Merit Table. The kick off at Sidford is at 3pm.