Infringements cost Sidmouth the match
After 35 minutes the Chiefs were firmly in control of this game against promotion hopefuls Avonmouth Old Boys.
After 35 minutes the Chiefs were firmly in control of this game against promotion hopefuls Avonmouth Old Boys. The visitors were under intense pressure and had almost conceded a second try when Steve Trim, in an uncharacteristic moment of red mist, was yellow carded for foul play. From then on the Chiefs could do nothing right in the eyes of the referee and in the next 15 minutes two more players followed their captain into the sin bin. This was despite a clear warning from the official of the consequences if they did not lower their penalty count.In the 30 minutes that the Chiefs were one or two men short Avonmouth helped themselves to 22 points and the game. Kicking off towards the All Saints Road end the Chiefs asserted themselves from the start with the forwards driving as an eight and the whole team harrying their opponents into mistakes. They had the Old Boys under pressure in the scrums and some well placed kicks kept the visitors pinned in their own half. Sidmouth took the lead deservedly after 10 minutes. A sniping run down the blindside of a scrum on halfway by Steve Trim was supported by Giles Dixon who took play deep into the Avonmouth 22. When they won a ruck Dan Retter's diagonal kick was followed up by Ashley Cooper on the left wing who gathered the bouncing ball and dived over for an unconverted try.Retter was in action again minutes later when he intercepted a loose pass in his own half and his kick ahead caused panic in the defence. They managed to clear the danger but the Chiefs were on the attack again. A powerful run by Stuart Bickerstaff had the defence under pressure and they conceded a penalty at the ruck when the young flanker was eventually brought down. Dan Retter kicked the goal and added another a few minutes later when a defender strayed offside.With the Chiefs rampant, a fine handling move put the ball in the hands of Ashley Cooper. He was stopped a metre short of the line. Supporting players pushed him over but he was held up. With his side assured of at least a five metre scrum Steve Trim committed his indiscretion. He left the field for 10 minutes and Avonmouth were able the relieve the pressure.Sidmouth were penalised twice more in quick succession, both decisions which could have gone the other way, and the visitors kicked their way into an attacking position. Another penalty allowed the Avonmouth winger to open the scoring for his side making the halftime score 11-3.Despite the referee's warning, the Chiefs committed three more penalty offences in the opening four minutes of the second half. Two were successfully converted into points and the third resulted in Ben Damen being shown the yellow card.With Chiefs down to 13 men, Avonmouth kicked for the corner and exploited their advantage by executing a planned move at the resulting lineout to take the lead with a try touched down by the number 6. The conversion was unsuccessful.A second try followed a few minutes later when the left winger came from the blindside following a lineout to join the line between the centres. He cut clean through and outpaced the cover. His own conversion attempt drifted wide.A minute later Nathan Hannay became the third player sent to the sin bin following some over-vigorous rucking. While he was off, the Avonmouth wingman kicked his third penalty.Restored to 15 men the Chiefs became a threatening force again, but Avonmouth were determined to hang on to their lead and their defence held firm. The visitors played the final 15 minutes one short as first a flanker and then the hooker were yellow carded but they were not going to release their grip on the game, despite continued pressure.A high penalty count has been a recurring theme this season. It is a problem which will need to be dealt with if the Chiefs are to compete for a place in the top half of this league, something which they have shown themselves to be capable of in most games.