Chiefs face tough fortnight

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:23 17 June 2010

Two soft tries conceded against the run of play in the first quarter left the Chiefs playing catch up against Yatton.

By Terry O'BrienYatton 1st XV 24, Sidmouth Chiefs 17Two soft tries conceded against the run of play in the first quarter left the Chiefs playing catch up against Yatton. Midway through the second half it looked like they might succeed but in the end the Somerset side's superior ball retention enabled them to prevail.On a pitch heavy with mud, both sides produced an entertaining game in front of a good crowd. Despite playing against both breeze and slope, the Chiefs started brightly with the forwards picking and driving to good effect, keeping play in the Yatton half. However, when they conceded a penalty in the sixth minute, they were slow to react and a quickly-taken tap initiated a move which ended 60 metres downfield with the right winger diving over for a try which was well converted by the fly half. Sidmouth continued to enjoy territorial advantage and a fine run by Ashley Cooper opened up the defence but proved unproductive due to lack of support. A common feature of this season has been the Chiefs' tendency to give away penalties and this game was no exception. A series of offences gave the initiative to the opposition. However, when Yatton won a ruck on the Sidmouth 22, there seemed to be little threat of a score but when the inside centre slipped a tackle there was no cover and he was left with a clear path to the posts. The try was converted. The discipline problems continued and another tap penalty followed by a kick ahead had the defence scrambling to concede a five-metre scrum. They survived that threat but another penalty was converted into three points by the fly half.Yatton were now dominating proceedings and, when a forward drive was held up over the Sidmouth line, the Chiefs were forced to defend a series of six five metre scrums. They did so successfully, only to give away the softest of tries when a clearance kick failed to find touch. The full back fielded the ball and linked with the inside centre whose path to the line was even easier than for his first try. The entire Sidmouth team seemed to stop and watch. The conversion made the halftime score 24-0.The Chiefs started the second half with a sense of urgency and in the second minute an Andy Matchett run was only stopped a metre short of the line, where a defender was penalised. The Chiefs opted for a scrum that did not produce an immediate score but the pressure was maintained until a half break by Dan Retter created an opening for Tristan Beavis to finish off. The try was converted by Dan Retter. The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and, when Yatton were penalised on their 22, Steve Trim took a quick tap and burst through a gap to score a try which was again converted by Retter. And, when Retter kicked a penalty with 20 minutes still to go, a great comeback was on the cards.However, Yatton had other ideas and, when they worked their way into Sidmouth territory for the first time in the half, they stayed there with an excellent display of driving and ball retention. The Chiefs did well to stop them from making the game safe with a defensive display which was a complete contrast to the first half. There were several last ditch tackles and Simeon Lewry just got to the ball first when his opposite number's kick into space looked certain to bring a score. After 15 minutes of pressure, the Chiefs at last managed to break out and, when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts, they opted to kick for the corner and an attacking lineout. The punt drifted close over the corner flag and the touch judge signalled touch in goal. This gave Yatton a scrum back and a chance to clear up field which they did and played out the closing couple of minutes safely in the Sidmouth half.l In their next two matches the Chiefs face the top two teams. On Saturday they entertain runaway leaders and promotion favourites Taunton. The kick off at the Blackmore is at 2.30pm. Newton Abbot at Rackerhayes follows on February 14.l The Colts play a crucial Merit Table game at home to Barnstaple. The kick off at Sidford is at 2.30pm. l The 3rd Team play on Sunday when they travel to Channings Wood. l The 'Quins travel to Cullompton for a rearranged Merit Table game.

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