Last gasp points secure win
The Chiefs secured a fifth place finish in the South West 2 West League thanks to a converted try in injury time, writes Terry O'Brien.
The Chiefs secured a fifth place finish in the South West 2 West League thanks to a converted try in injury time. With 10 minutes of normal time to go, the visitors seemed to be grinding their way to a narrow victory thanks to their better ball retention which gave them an edge in the battle for territory. Then, suddenly, the game burst into life when the Chiefs scored a scintillating try against the run of play. The spectators were treated to a dramatic finish as the lead changed hands three times in the closing stages.A good springtime crowd saw the Chiefs make a promising start. Simeon Lewry was given an early feel of the ball and made a strong run up the left wing to take play into the St Ives 22. The pressure produced a penalty which Dan Retter converted to open the scoring.The visitors shook off the journey as their forwards got driving to take play into the Sidmouth 22. When the ball was released to their backs, the inside centre showed pace and power to score near the posts. The fly half added the conversion.The St Ives' fly half and inside centre continued to pose problems for the Sidmouth defence. A break by the former set up a move which almost brought a second try with desperate cover defence bringing it to an end a couple of metres short of the line. Unfortunately for the visitors, the influential number 10 was injured in the play and had to leave the field forcing a reorganisation of the backline.While they were coming to terms with the changes, the Chiefs took advantage to reduce the arrears. A quick tap penalty by Steve Trim set up flanker Sam Richardson on a storming run into the 22. When he was stopped, St Ives were penalised at the resulting ruck and Dan Retter kicked a second penalty. The Chiefs dominated the closing stages of the half and were unlucky not to regain the lead. Andy Matchett went close after some good handling and Retter crossed the line after Ben Damen had made the running, but was unable to ground the ball. The half time whistle came minutes later, with the Chiefs pressing in the St Ives' 22.The Chiefs kicked off for the second half and did well to regain possession. The forwards executed a few pick and drives before releasing the ball for Dan Retter to put his side in front with a drop goal.The visitors upped their game and regained the initiative, keeping the Chiefs pinned inside their own half. The St Ives' pack were driving well and the inside centre was a constant threat to the home defence. He took over the kicking duties and put over two penalties to give his side a four point lead going into the final quarter. At this stage St Ives looked well in control. They were retaining possession well and the Chiefs were losing the ball too easily in contact whenever they got their hands on it. So it was very much against the run of play that the Chiefs produced a moment of magic to put themselves back in front. Max Hansford had just come on as a replacement when Nathan Hannay and Steve Trim combined on the blindside of a scrum to give him a run down the left wing. He cut inside as the cover overcame him and set up a ruck. The ball was quickly recycled and moved along the line to the right. After another ruck the ball was switched back to the left. This time there was an overlap and Hansford was back on his feet to take the final pass and dive over in the corner. The try was unconverted but the Chiefs had their noses in front.This seemed to be only a momentary triumph as the visitors came back strongly. The Chiefs fumbled the restart kick. They first gave possession away and then a penalty. St Ives kicked for position and an attacking lineout. They used this to set up a series of drives which took them to the line where the number eight forced his way over near the posts. The conversion meant that Sidmouth needed a converted try as the game went into injury time.Following the restart St Ives kicked for position but Jamie Wardrop fielded the ball and returned it with interest for a lineout in the opposing 22. St Ives secured the throw and were content to keep the ball tight and drive forward running down the clock. Somehow the Sidmouth pack turned over possession and moved the ball to the backs. A couple of long passes gave a hint of an overlap as Jamie Wardrop came up to make the extra man. He just managed to squeeze in at the corner to set up a match deciding conversion attempt.Dan Retter has been here before and, once again, he kept a cool head to bisect the uprights despite every effort of one members of the opposition to distract him.