Chris Bentley on all things Exeter Chiefs and Sidmouth Chiefs

Just after 3pm on Wednesday October, 28, 1881 the names of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday went down in legend as the sharpshooters winning the infamous Gunfight at the OK Coral.

This was a memorable day for Tombstone Arizona. Sunday September 29, 014 was similarly a memorable day for Exeter in Devon!

The Chiefs more than encouraging start to the season took on new emphasis on Sunday with our emphatic 36-13 victory over the star studied and illustrious Harlequins. Yes, it was a good day for Exeter Devon, but why the gunfight analogy?

When Gareth Stenson and Henry Slade, stepped forward to take their kicks in the pressure cooker of a game against the Quinn’s they showed the nation that they are Sandy Parks world class sharpsooters. A kicking duo to rival any in the Aviva

Indeed such is the accuracy of our kicking duo that when just one of Henry’s kicks swerved off course to miss bisecting the uprights for the first time this season, BTs Martin Bayfield said in commentary, ‘Henry Slade misses one. The earth is off it’s axis!’ Hey ho! dear reader what an accolade and what a moment to realise that both Henry and are ours, die in the wall Chiefs dear reader, how good is that?

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The return of Jack Nowell on Sunday for his first start of the season further pointed to the depth and quality of our current Chiefs squad. Smouldering and simmering like a powder keg about to explode Jack showed enough to suggest he’s already in good form promising to add still more to the Chiefs already impressive fire power.

Add to the mix the outstanding form of Big Thomas Waldrom and, in the absence of Dean Mumm, our stand in captain and Man Of The Match, Jack Yeandle and one can be excused at getting excited over the emerging fire power coming from our Chiefs, but I’m not finished yet dear reader, the news from Sandy Park keeps getting better and better.

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Our starting XV is the strongest we’ve ever had and just outside the conveyor belt of ‘Baxters Babes’ continues to come through with developing young players destined for future senior stardom.

Indeed such is the richness of Chiefs Academy system that journalist Neal Harvey in ‘The Rugby Papers’ wrote last week in glowing terms how many of ‘Exeter’s Young Guns’ like Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Sam Hill, Luke Cowan-Dickie and Big Dave Ewars are all staking claims for selection to England’s international squad.

Dare I say that messers Yeandle and Waldron might also figure on the intentional radar and I’ve not yet mentioned the ubiquitous Tom Johnston and several others. We’ve built our Premiership reputation on hard work, unsurpassed enthusiasm and the iron will of a team of journeymen players determined to give of their very best.

OK, the hard work, enthusiasm and iron will still define the character of Exeter Chiefs, but that’s where the description changes. No longer ‘journeymen players, Chiefs ranks are bursting with ‘star quality’ and craftsmanship’ that compares with the best in this game! In the rarefied atmosphere that is Premiership Rugby only the best of the best succeed in reaching the heights. Yes the opposition are strong and the and the relentless pressure and exigencies of the Premiership brutal, but from where I’m sitting this current Chiefs squad have what it takes to challenge for the highest. Indeed, exciting times at Sandy Park. Stay close to the action dear reader and you to can enjoy the passion and excitement alongside Exeter Chiefs as the journey continues towards the highest echelon of elite level rugby.

Now let’s stop eulogising about our Premiership Club to look at rugby matters closer to home in Sidmouth. The Sidmouth Chiefs bounced back with a 19-6 victory over Torquay Athletic on Saturday. Nick Mills and Rhys Thomas making their first starts for the season added the experience and leadership previously lacking in the Chiefs game. Playing with much more patience and composure Sidmouth’s pack grew to have that all-important edge in the forward battle. Sustained early pressure was rewarded by a Dan Powell Penalty on the ten minute mark. Jim Briggs and Tom Seward were stand out players building the position for which Hayden Watene went over to score. A late penalty from Dan Powell, completed the first half action.

Torquay raised their game after the resumption to open their account with a penalty goal keeping the visitors in the hunt. A further kicking exchange gave Sidmouth’s Dan Powell his third kicking successful kick and Torquay’s No 9s second.

With ten minutes to go, Sidmouth Chiefs sealed victory with a fine 50-meter individual score from impressive youngster George Locke-Dukes. The Man of the a Match was awarded to the exciting talent of 17-year-old fly half Dan Powell, his precision kicking from hand and skilful passing served to be the architect for Sidmouths first victory this term.

After the momentous events of last week the pressure continues to come thick and fast for our Devon rugby Clubs. Exeter are away at Kingston Park to play Dean Richards Newcastle Falcons. Yours Truly is hoping that head wounds heal sufficiently for me to line up with Exmouth at the Imperial Ground when my old mate from Exeter Chiefs, Simon Jenkins, brings his Chard team to the memorial Ground for a fascinating encounter with kick-off at 2.30pm.

Sidmouth Chiefs are away to Truro, but back at home to face Wadebridge the Saturday after (October 11).

On my domestic front Wife, the lovely Hayley’s Baby Bump continues to grow nicely, 3-year-old Baby B persists to punctuate my sleep with her newly acquired nocturnal liking for a 4am story to lull her back to sleep. By way of consolation I have no swimming challenge to complete, at least for this week.

And finally back to the reality of competitive rugby:- ‘When what you did last week still looks good today, just maybe you’ve not done much today!’ In sport of any level, we’re only as good as our last result, so its back to business as usual with work, training to complete for this week’s coming game. Such is the life for all those involved in Devon Rugby. Don’t you just love this game?

Until the next time,

Stay safe,

Enjoy your rugby,


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