Not stylish but Sidmouth Chiefs wellworth the entrance fee!
As one supporter said after this crucial match for both teams 'sometimes you just have to win ugly'. Well this was certainly more Norah Batty than Sophia Loren (boys ask your dad)writes Tery O'Brien..
As one supporter said after this crucial match for both teams 'sometimes you just have to win ugly'. Well this was certainly more Norah Batty than Sophia Loren (boys ask your dad). For those who seek flowing open rugby the Blackmore on Saturday was not the place to be. If you relish a hard physical battle testing strength, stamina and nerve then it was £3 well spent.From the moment Dan Retter kicked off and Andy Matchett followed up to put in a bone jarring tackle on the catcher, closely followed by the entire Sidmouth pack, the scene was set. The Chiefs' high tempo start was rewarded in the third minute by a Dan Retter penalty.The lead was only short lived. Paignton's full back, who had kicked his side to victory the previous week, was missing from the team sheet but the fly half deputised adequately to level the scores with a penalty on his side's first incursion into the Sidmouth 22.The Chiefs might have regained the lead when Harry Chesterton followed up a kick and felled the full back, loosening his grip on the ball. It hovered in the air just long enough for Tristan Beavis to get a hand to it. Had he been able to hang on, the line was at his mercy but he could not gather it in.Gradually the Paignton pack began to assert their authority. They denied the Chiefs a steady platform in the set pieces and forced the occasional turnover in the loose. As a result, the visitors enjoyed territorial advantage but Sidmouth were not going to give way to brute force and Paignton did not have the guile to break down the defence. Also the Chiefs had learnt from the previous week the need to keep their discipline. As a result they only conceded one more kickable penalty during the half and that from long range was well wide, leaving the scores level at the break.The pattern continued after the restart and eventually Paignton took the lead with a second penalty. Midway through the half came the first of two pivotal moments. The Paignton pack won a scrum against the head on the Sidmouth 22 and moved the ball quickly to the right where Andy Matchett found himself defending one against two. He decided to stay with his winger and block the pass. The centre held on and continued through the gap offered to him. As he approached the line, Jamie Wardrop put in a covering tackle. The attacker stretched out for the line but touched down inches short and lost control of the ball before his momentum took him over. The defenders touched down to gain a relieving 22 drop out.As the game progressed through the final quarter Paignton appeared to have punched themselves out like George Foreman against Ali in Zaire. Gradually the fitter Chiefs were getting on top and, when Dan Retter kicked a penalty to level the scores, the game swung in their direction. A rare fluent handling movement ended with Callum Hill bursting forward into the Paignton 22. The visitors were penalised at the resulting ruck but the penalty attempt from wide out drifted past the upright. The decisive blow was struck in the last minute of normal time and brought back sweet memories of the World Cup Final of 2003. A set play at a lineout just inside the Paignton half sent Dan Trim rampaging up the touchline to set up a ruck just inside the 22. From this the ball was moved infield where Harry Chesterton jinked and powered a few extra yards to set up another ruck. This time the recycled ball was passed back to Dan Retter on the 22 and his drop kick sailed between the posts to the delight of the players and 300+ supporters.There were several minutes of injury time to endure but the Chiefs were not going to be denied by the tiring Cherries.The Pyne's Bar Man of the Match was Tim Phipps sponsored by Dean and Dyball.l On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Kingsbridge who are always hard to beat on their own ground. On the Blackmore the 'Quins entertain Kingsbridge 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm.