Injury hit Chiefs go down at in-form Old Redcliffians
- Credit: Archant
Old Redcliffians 69, Sidmouth 3 Injury-hit Chiefs were unfortunate to meet the Old Redcliffians on top form, writes Terry O’Brien.
An extensive injury list and work commitments forced ten changes from the side which beat Thornbury the previous week.
Despite the disruption, a full strength team would have been hard-pressed against the ruthlessly efficient league leaders.
Few of the eleven tries were conceded easily as the Sidmouth players covered and tackled with great determination.
They simply ran out of defenders under relentless pressure.
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The home side’s close support play, ability to offload in the tackle and quick recycling at the breakdown was outstanding.
And on the occasions the Chiefs produced good moves of their own, they met a defence determined to give nothing away.
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Playing down the slope, the Chiefs started brightly enough, pushing Old Reds back into their own half and forcing a couple of mistakes.
But, when the outside centre made a clean break from halfway to create the opening try for the left winger, the potential danger was clear.
The full back kicked the first of seven conversions from the touchline.
The scrum half scored the second try a few minutes later after a period of intense pressure inside the Sidmouth 22.
Then the Chiefs showed their attacking potential when Zac Bess made a fine break before linking with Ben Dobson to take play deep into the Old Reds 22, but a penalty ended the move.
In the middle of the half Old Reds added two tries from accurate handling and quick recycling and then a fifth from a pushover of a five metre scrum. The Chiefs then had their best period of the half, keeping pressure in the opposing 22.
The forwards, with James Perry to the fore, drove strongly before Jason Luff came close to scoring from a quick tap penalty. They were eventually rewarded with a Dan Retter penalty.
Old Reds finished the half strongly and the left winger went over for his second try in injury time to make the half time score 3-38.
Old Reds took their score over the 50 mark with two tries in quick succession after the break, before Alva Senderayi broke out of his own 22 with a powerful run to put his side on the offensive for a brief spell.
With the slope in their favour, Old Reds were soon back on the attack and added three more tries. Despite the score line, the Chiefs heads never dropped and they finished the game strongly.
Half time replacement Jonny Hamill was influential at scrum half, with some probing runs and quick service to his backs.
An excellent handling move sent Zac Bess sprinting for the corner, but he was brought down a metre short of a deserved consolation try.