Lineout performance Sidmouth weak spot
Despite making an early exit from the Devon Senior Cup, the Chiefs can reflect on a two to one try count in their favour and look forward with some confidence to the Cherries visit to the Blackmore on Saturday for a top of the table league encounter.
Despite making an early exit from the Devon Senior Cup, the Chiefs can reflect on a two to one try count in their favour and look forward with some confidence to the Cherries' visit to the Blackmore on Saturday for a top of the table league encounter.
However, they will need a greatly improved lineout performance if they are to retain their 100% home record this season.
The Chiefs kicked off on a muddy pitch with a threat of rain in the air and made a much better start than their earlier visit to Queen's Park when they conceded two tries in the first 5 minutes. They were soon on the attack and a couple of darting runs by Harry Chesterton created promising situations. Unfortunately they were not able to recycle the ball quickly enough at the breakdown, allowing the defence just enough time to reorganise.
They eventually took a deserved lead after 18 minutes when a good counterattack took play into the Paignton 22 where the home forwards were penalised in a ruck and Dan Retter kicked the goal.
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The shortcomings in the lineouts began to take their effect enabling Paignton to maintain territorial advantage. The Chiefs' defence was solid but the home full back was in good kicking form. He put over three long-range penalties to give his side a 9-3 lead at halftime. The margin might have been bigger but for a good piece of defence by Jamie Wardrop. The full back just beat the Paignton winger in a chase for a well judged diagonal kick.
Two minutes into the second half, the Chiefs cut the lead to one point with an excellent try. The Trim brothers worked a familiar routine on the blindside of a scrum just inside the Paignton half which put Steve through a gap and racing up the left. He was into the 22 when he judged his pass perfectly to send Andy Matchett diving over in the corner.
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Play was mainly confined to the middle of the pitch as both sides cancelled each other out and the mud and rain took their toll. The most promising opportunities resulted from breaks by replacement winger Ashley Cooper but on both occasions support was lacking.
The Paignton full back kicked another penalty as the game entered the final quarter and a few minutes later came the crucial score. A ruck formed just inside home territory in which both sides seemed to transgress. The referee ruled against Sidmouth and the quickly taken tap penalty caught them off guard. Slick interpassing between the number 8 and winger was followed by a kick ahead which was re-gathered by a Paignton player who provided the scoring pass to his scrum half. The full back converted from the touchline.
The Chiefs responded with their second try thanks to a fine piece of opportunism from Ashley Cooper. He chased up a speculative kick and just beat the covering defenders to toe poke the ball towards the line. He looked certain to win the chase when he was brought down illegally. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try which Dan Retter converted. This made the closing minutes tense but Paignton held on to their lead.
On Saturday at the Blackmore the Chiefs v Paignton game kicks off at 2.30pm. The 'Quins travel to Paignton for a Merit Table game. The 3rd team entertain Paignton 3rds at Sidford while the Colts play Ivybridge Colts, also at Sidford. Both games kick off at 2.30pm.
By Terry O'Brien
Paignton 1st XV 19pts,
Sidmouth 1st XV 15pts