Chiefs move on up table despite one point defeat
PUBLISHED: 18:49 22 December 2011
Sidmouth 1st Xv 21, Wadebridge Camels 22
The Chiefs will be kicking themselves for the missed chances, missed tackles and assorted mistakes, which gifted this game to a Wadebridge side playing much better than the league table reflects, writes Terry O’Brien.
Sidmouth kicked off with the breeze at their backs, but three penalties, conceded in quick succession, saw the visitors take the lead, when the scrum half kicked the third of them.
The response was swift and incisive. A series of rucks took play deep into the Wadebridge 22 and, when the ball was released to the backs, Harry Chesterton cut through a gap to score by the posts. Tom Whelan added the conversion.
The Chiefs continued to dominate proceedings for much of the half, but failed to turn pressure into points. Three times they opened up the defence only for their handling to let them down. After more than 20 minutes of almost continuous pressure, they could only muster a single Tom Whelan penalty. Three missed tackles later the scores were level. The Wadebridge hooker gained possession just inside his own half and, showing a deceptive turn of speed, left a trail of defenders in his wake on his way to the line for a converted try. Tom Whelan regained the lead with a penalty, which proved to be the last act of the half.
Soon after the restart, a poor kick gave the visitors a chance to counter-attack. Almost immediately the Chiefs were reduced to 14 men when Rhys Thomas was yellow carded. Wadebridge grew in confidence and it took a desperate tap tackle by Matt Goss to prevent a certain try. Then Jack Pyne stole the ball as the Wadebridge pack drove towards the line. Despite these heroics, the Cornishmen assumed control in the set pieces to keep the Chiefs pinned in their own half.
Eventually the pressure told when they created an overlap for the full back to dive over in the corner. A third try followed almost immediately. The hooker hacked on a loose ball from a Sidmouth lineout and won the chase for the touchdown. The try was converted.
At last the Chiefs woke up and a good move by the backs put Tom Whelan through a gap. He was eventually brought down just short of the line. Wadebridge were penalised as they desperately defended their line, and Whelan kicked the goal. The closing minutes saw the Chiefs camped on the Wadebridge line. Eventually they created room for Sam Meadham to squeeze in at the left corner. Unfortunately the conversion was unsuccessful and the visitors greeted the final whistle with a relieved cheer.
Despite this defeat, the Chiefs moved up to sixth in the table thanks to the bonus point the last surge gained them.
●Teams will now take a three week break from competitive rugby over the Christmas and New Year period. However, the Chiefs will be in action on Boxing Day for the traditional match against the President’s XV, at 2.30pm.
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