Entertaining but Sidmouth Chiefs exit cup
Sidmouth Chiefs 24, Paignton 34 EDF Energy Cup For the second time this season the Chiefs were the losers in a high scoring, highly entertaining game against Paignton, writes Terry O'Brien.
Sidmouth Chiefs 24, Paignton 34EDF Energy CupFor the second time this season the Chiefs were the losers in a high scoring, highly entertaining game against Paignton. This time it has sent them crashing out at the first hurdle of the EDF Energy Intermediate Cup. With a superior scrum winning three strikes against the head and a solid lineout, the Chiefs enjoyed long periods of territorial advantage and created more scoring chances but Paignton clinically took advantage of a Sidmouth defence which went awol far too often.The visitors took an early lead with a penalty but most of the first half hour was spent in their half. The Chiefs struggled to maintain possession long enough to stretch the defence but they eventually took the lead thanks to a splendid individual try from Harry Chesterton. Quick ball from a lineout just inside the Paignton 22 gave him some space and he sliced through the middle to touch down under the posts. Tom Whelan, who showed a lot of promise in his league debut at fly half, added the conversion.Against the run of play Paignton regained the lead when they gave an object lesson in how to keep possession through several phases until they outmanoeuvred the defence to create a huge overlap. The inside centre scored and converted his own try.The Chiefs were soon back in front when full back Glenn Channing returned a kick with interest to take play deep into the visitors' 22. Following good approach work by the forwards, Harry Chesterton made another decisive break, this time to put fellow centre Tristan Beavis in for a try which Whelan converted.In the four minutes of time added on for injury, the game turned very much in the Cherries' favour as they scored two tries in as many minutes, their powerful loose head prop providing the inspiration for both. He broke through three tackles to set up a converted try for his fly half and then finished off a long handling move in a manner any wing man would be proud of to send his side into the break with a 22-14 lead.The decisive moment came five minutes into the second half when the Paignton left winger came from the blindside at pace to cut through the middle and send his outside centre over in the right corner. The conversion opened up a 15 point lead.The Chiefs' response was spirited and they continued to dominate territorially. Tom Whelan reduced the arrears with a penalty but they crucially failed to take any of four try-scoring opportunities. Steve Trim made a superb 50 metre break but delayed his pass too long and the cover cut him down. Two minutes later the pack drove a maul over from a lineout close to the line but the ball was held up. From the resulting scrum Steve Trim judged a grubber kick perfectly but Sam Meadham, following up, could not get downward pressure on the bouncing ball. Dan Trim intercepted a quick lineout throw and kicked ahead but the full back just won the chase for the ball. However, the number 8 eventually made the pressure tell when his opposite number lost possession from a scrum near the line. He snapped up the loose ball and powered his way over. Whelan's conversion closed the gap to five points.Any hopes of a dramatic comeback were dashed when the Chiefs failed to gather the ball cleanly from the restart kick. Paignton turned over the ball and two quick rucks later the left winger scrambled over in the corner to make the game safe for his side. Before the final whistle there was just time for Ashley Cooper to cross the line at the other end but the referee ruled that he had not got downward pressure on the ball.