Chiefs net the Fishermen

PUBLISHED: 13:15 26 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:21 17 June 2010

The Chiefs eventually shook off the rustiness of three weeks of inactivity to complete the double over Brixham. They thoroughly deserved the victory as they had an edge over the Fishermen in all aspects except the kicking game.

The Chiefs eventually shook off the rustiness of three weeks of inactivity to complete the double over Brixham.

They thoroughly deserved the victory as they had an edge over the Fishermen in all aspects except the kicking game. The win keeps them on course for a top half finish in their first season of South West league rugby.

A dominant performance by the pack in the set pieces laid the foundation as they had the Brixham eight under pressure in the scrums and stole some important lineout ball.

Things were more even in the loose exchanges until the final quarter when Brixham began to tire under the constant pressure.

The Sidmouth backs looked dangerous whenever they moved the ball wide but spent too much time trying to batter through the middle where the defence was concentrated.

Both sides took time to settle and the early highlights were narrow, long-range penalty misses for each kicker.

In the 10th minute, Sidmouth were reduced to 14 men when Nat Palmer was yellow-carded. However, it was significant that Brixham were unable to make an impression with the extra man and, when the second row rejoined the game, Sidmouth almost opened the scoring.

A strike against the head just inside the Brixham 22 gave Dan Trim the opportunity to break. He powered his way to within five metres of the line, where he set up a ruck.

The ball was quickly recycled and moved to the left where a better pass might have resulted in a try. As it was, Ashley Cooper lost momentum reaching behind him and was tackled into touch a metre short.

Two promising runs down the right wing by Simeon Lewry kept the pressure on but the Chiefs could not maintain enough continuity to break down a well organised defence.

Then a well placed diagonal kick forced the Chiefs to concede a lineout deep inside their 22. From the play that followed, they were penalised and the full back gave his side the lead.

Inspired by this, Brixham finished the half strongly and were rewarded with a second penalty in injury time to give them a 6-0 half time lead.

The opening stages of the second half were full of incident when the game might have swung decisively in favour of the visitors. However, in the end, it was Sidmouth who opened their bid for victory.

The Chiefs had the early pressure but failed to convert a very kickable penalty. When Brixham broke out with a kick and chase the left winger touched down in the corner but was recalled for a forward pass.

The Chiefs responded almost immediately by taking the lead. A Brixham grubber kick on half way went straight into the hands of Nathan Hannay. The big flanker drove forward to set up a ruck. The ball was recycled before the defence could organise and Harry Chesterton made a short break which drew the attention of three opponents to create space for Ashley Cooper.

The wingman still had a bit to do but he stepped inside the full back and outpaced the cover to score under the posts. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

Good driving by the forwards and a break by Tristan Beavis set up Simeon Lewry for a run up the right wing to take play into the 22 where a Brixham player strayed offside and Dan Retter, who had just come on to replace Whelan, kicked the goal.

The Brixham full back replied with a similar effort a few minutes later before a second Retter penalty restored the four point margin after another Beavis break had taken play into the 22.

The Chiefs were beginning to take control when Brixham were forced to play the last 10 minutes a man short after their flanker was shown the yellow card.

The game was made safe when the forwards went on the rampage with a series of pick and drives before Nat Palmer offloaded to Andy Matchett who had too much pace for the cover once he had broken the first line of defence. He touched down near the posts and Retter's conversion left Brixham needing three scores but the Chiefs remained in control to the end.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to Yatton. On the Blackmore, the Colts will take on Merit Table leaders Exeter Chiefs, kicking off at 2.30pm. The 'Quins travel to play an Exeter University XV. The 3rd Team entertain South Molton 2nds at Sidford with a 2.30pm kick off.

By Terry O'Brien

Sidmouth 1st XV 20pts,

Brixham 1st XV 9pts

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