Derryman stars as Powell try hat-trick sees Chiefs to victory at Tiverton

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6057. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Chiefs got their league promotion challenge back on track with a 43-29 bonus point win in an action-packed game against fifth-placed Tiverton at Coronation Field, writes Terry O’Brien.

In perfect conditions, the Chiefs made a blistering start to go 17 points up in the opening 12 minutes before Tiverton, with the slope and breeze in their favour, made a spirited comeback to narrow the gap to seven points at the interval.

The second half followed a similar pattern as the home side got a deserved bonus point in the closing minutes.

The Chiefs opened the scoring in the second minute with a combination of vision, luck and opportunism. With play on the grandstand side of the field, Rory O’Brien kicked diagonally to the open space on the far side.

The ball bounced away from the nearest covering player and O’Brien followed up to hack the ball on before re-gathering it and sending Luke Wells-Burr sprinting in at the right corner. O’Brien kicked the conversion from wide out.

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Five minutes later, Luke Wells-Burr scored again after Josh Bess and Cameron Grainger had combined on the blindside of a five-metre scrum to create the space. The try was unconverted.

Wells-Burr was in action again, when he followed up his own kick ahead to re-gather and race deep into Tiverton territory. Quick recycling and a strong burst from Tom Seward kept the move going before James Powell exploited a gap on the left to sprint over for another unconverted try.

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Two minutes later the Tiverton outside centre made a clean break and it took a combination of Rory O’Brien and Tom Hodge to bring him down. However, the Chiefs were penalised at the resulting ruck and Tiverton opted to kick for a lineout in the corner. The Chiefs held the attempted catch-and-drive, but the Tiverton forwards set up a series of pick-and-go plays for the number seven to find a gap and sprint over. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

The Chiefs continued to stretch the home defence with good handling moves and, when they won the ball at a Tiverton lineout on halfway, they created space for James Powell break clear. He drew the full back and timed his pass perfectly to send Ethan Mead over in the left corner.

With the Chiefs conceding a series of penalties, Tiverton took control in the final ten minutes of the half. A penalty kicked by the full back reduced the arrears before a try in injury time put them well in touch at the break. The number eight broke from a five-metre scrum to set up a series of rucks close to the line for a forward to drive over. The try was converted leaving the Chiefs 22-15 ahead.

The Chiefs started the second half strongly and soon extended their lead when Tom Hodge broke through from a scrum 30 metres out. James Powell was in support to touch down under the posts. Rory O’Brien converted.

When Josh Bess showed his cricketing skills to field a box kick under extreme pressure, he started a handling move going left. Rory O’Brien made the initial break and James Powell cantered over to complete his hat-trick of tries and this one was also converted.

Ethan Mead did well to cover back and gather the ball from a kick ahead. He stayed on his feet long enough for support to arrive and clear the danger.

When the ball was turned over in a tackle midway through the half, Peli Vea received the ball in space and set off on a 40-metre run to the line leaving three would-be tacklers in his wake. Rory O’Brien made it three conversions out of three in the half.

With the Chiefs again conceding frequent penalties and losing Mark Unsworth to the sin bin, Tiverton took control in the final quarter.

Harry Chesterton made a try saving tackle, when the Tiverton backs had combined well to open up the defence.

However, the home side scored two more tries from line-outs close to the line; the first from a driving maul and the second from a well-executed move around the back. Both were converted.

The Sidmouth, Dukes Man of the Match award went to hooker Ollie Derryman, who made ground every time he had the ball.

On Saturday (January 19), the Chiefs entertain Truro at the Blackmore Field kicking off at 2.30pm. The Quins travel to play Exmouth 3rds.

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