Game on as Chiefs beat St Mary's OBs
The Chiefs produced a sparkling second half performance to earn their highest winning margin so far this season, writes Terry O'Brien.
The Chiefs produced a sparkling second half performance to earn their highest winning margin so far this season. The victory keeps them in sixth place at the midway stage of the league campaign.St Mary's superior scrum gave them the territorial edge in a scrappy first half and, had they possessed a good kicker, they may well have changed ends in the lead. However, the Chiefs backs looked dangerous whenever the ball was moved wide and, when they adopted a more open game after the break, the visitors had no answer.The Chiefs kicked off up the slope in perfect overhead conditions but on a heavy, slippery surface. The opening stages were largely fought out in midfield with the ball being kept tight and the packs cancelling each other out. Sidmouth eventually took the lead with a Dan Retter penalty after a break by Tristan Beavis had taken play into the St Mary's 22 and a defender got on the wrong side of a ruck.Another Beavis break set up Andy Matchett for a run up the left wing but he was tackled just short of the line. A few minutes later Beavis ran out of support after Harry Chesterton had opened things up for him. Despite these promising moves, the Chiefs could not sustain an attacking position and, as the half progressed, St Mary's were gaining the upper hand. They finished the half pressing hard in the Sidmouth 22 but could not find a way through a stubborn defence and the Chiefs held on to their narrow lead at the break.The game came to life in the second minute after the restart. The Sidmouth pack drove forward following a lineout on halfway before releasing the ball to the backs. Swift handling with Jamie Wardrop joining the line gave Simeon Lewry space down the right. He stood up to the full back as he entered the 22 and swerved round him to score a classic winger's try. Dan Retter added the conversion.The result was decided in the next 10 minutes as St Mary's mounted a fierce attack. They looked certain to score a pushover try as the Sidmouth pack disintegrated but the number eight seemed to mistake the five metre line for the goal line and made his move too soon. He was stopped but the forwards kept battering away at the line and the Chiefs were forced to make a series of last ditch tackles. They kept their line intact until the visitors eventually conceded a penalty and the danger was cleared.A powerful run by Jack Pyne turned attack into defence. Lewry carried the move on into the 22 before the cover got to him. When the ball was recycled Retter chipped over the defence for Harry Chesterton to follow up but he was just beaten to the ball by the full back. However, the centre was not to be denied when he made a classic outside break on halfway and left three defenders in his wake to score an excellent solo try under the posts. Retter again converted.The Chiefs took control for the final quarter and St Mary's were forced to defend desperately to avoid a rout. This they did but two more tries followed. Another rampaging run by Jack Pyne was supported by Ollie Derryman who was eventually halted just inside the 22. Steve Trim chipped ahead over the resulting ruck and Jamie Wardrop won the race for the touch down. Dan Retter kicked his third conversion before rounding off the scoring by touching down in the corner after the ball had passed through several pairs of hands in a fine display of continuity.