Piling on the pressure

The Chiefs kept the pressure on leaders Paignton, and ensured themselves home advantage in the event of a play off for promotion, with a comfortable win over Minehead Barbarians.

The Chiefs kept the pressure on leaders Paignton, and ensured themselves home advantage in the event of a play off for promotion, with a comfortable win over Minehead Barbarians.A low-lying situation and Peak Hill sheltered the Blackmore from the worst of Saturday's gale and the rain obligingly stopped before kick off and did not start again until five minutes before the final whistle. Thus conditions, though less than perfect, did not detract from an open and entertaining game.The Chiefs had an edge in all departments, although both sides struggled to keep consistent control in the lineouts. Minehead chose to play with the wind in their favour in the first half and, once Sidmouth had reached halftime with a five point advantage, only a loss of concentration was going to deny them victory. This did not occur until the closing minutes when the game was already won.Minehead enjoyed some territorial advantage but the Chiefs had them under pressure in the scrums so denied them a platform from which to attack. When they had the ball the Sidmouth forwards drove forward in close support and retained possession well. Dan Trim, Jack Pyne and Beau Henrickson all punched significant holes in the defence while Rhys Thomas won the battle for the ball on the ground. The Chiefs took the lead after 25 minutes when a penalty took them deep into the Minehead 22. The pack destroyed a defensive scrum and forced the concession of a five metre scrum with a wide blindside. The Trim brothers worked a familiar routine to give Will Finch just enough room to squeeze in at the corner for an unconverted try.Minehead finished the half strongly but could not find a way through the Sidmouth defence.With the elements in their favour after the break, the Chiefs were soon on the attack and, after five minutes of pressure, increased their lead from a scrum near the line. Dan Trim's short break drew in the backrow and the ball was quickly recycled and moved to the backs. Max Hansford joined the line between the centres at a perfect angle to cut through and touch down under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.Try number three came 10 minutes later when a crunching tackle by Andrew Eustace forced a turnover. Harry Chesterton broke through a small gap in the defence and made 40 metres before giving an inside pass for Tristan Beavis to finish the move off. Dan Retter converted.The try of the match came in the 25th minute when Will Finch fielded a missed touch kick near halfway and linked up with Andy Matchett. His powerful run took play into the 22 where excellent inter-passing by his fellow backs put Beavis in for his second try. Retter added the extras from the left touchline.The visitors scored a consolation try when the Chiefs failed to clear a ball from a ruck and a Minehead player picked it up to set up a move down the left with the Sidmouth backs lined up on the right. The simple overlap gave the left winger a clear run in to the corner. The final whistle followed soon after.The Pyne's Bar Man of the Match was Harry Chesterton, sponsored by Every's Solicitors.

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