Outstanding Chiefs earn safety
PUBLISHED: 15:07 09 March 2012
Sidmouth 1st Xv 36pts, Berry Hill 1st Xv 9pts
The Chiefs produced an outstanding performance to achieve this bonus point win in the Forest of Dean. Despite Berry Hill’s lowly league position, they had won their previous three games and were in confident mood, writes Terry O’Brien.
They say that the forwards decide who wins a game and the backs decide by how many. Well, the foundation for this win was a sustained dominant performance by the pack, which provided the possession for some excellent tries fashioned by an unfamiliar back line.
The absence of three regulars saw Harry Chesterton move in to fly half, with Jack Pyne coming out of the pack as a makeshift centre, and James Powell making his first appearance at full back. To add to the confusion Sam Meadham injured himself in the warm up to be replaced by Sam Cummins before the kick off, while Jack Pyne lasted barely 20 minutes before departing with a head injury. His replacement was Cei Gardner, normally a hooker. Playing into a stiff breeze, the Chiefs went behind to a penalty in the second minute, but for the next 20 minutes Berry Hill were pinned inside their own half as the Sidmouth pack took control. They took the lead with a well-constructed try in the tenth minute. Harry Chesterton made the initial break, and Alex Spurdle carried things on, before the ball was moved to an overlap on the left where Ollie Pyne dived over in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful.
The Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage but could not add to their score despite a couple of promising moves, which were stopped just short of then line. The home side rarely threatened, but two long-range penalties by the full back gave them a 9-5 lead at half time.
With the wind at their backs, and the forwards still rampant, the back cut loose. The lead was regained two minutes after the restart when a long pass found Chris Higgs in space on halfway. He left three defenders in his wake on his way to the line. A Harry Chesterton break paved the way for the third try. Ollie Pyne provided the link to send Chris Higgs in for his second touchdown, which was converted by Matt Goss. James Powell secured the bonus point with try number four, when he joined the line, cutting a nice angle at pace to wrong foot the defence, after a series of forward drives had paved the way.
Berry Hill came close to scoring following a driving maul and a good move down the blindside, but the Chiefs turned over possession at a ruck on their line and Matt Goss cleared upfield with a siege gun kick.
James Powell scored his second try as he joined the line between the centres after Josh Bess had secured quick possession from a lineout. And Chris Higgs completed his hat-trick when he followed up a Matt Goss kick to gather and round the full back. Goss converted both tries.
●On Saturday the Chiefs entertain league leaders Brixham, 3pm. The Quins travel to Brixham, the 3rds are at Tiverton and the Colts go to Devonport Services.
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