Sidmouth Chiefs - a look at a champion season
PUBLISHED: 16:14 17 April 2019
In winning the Western Counties West League in the last game at Saltash on Saturday, Sidmouth Chiefs won their first league title for 14 years, writes Terry O'Brien.
Only three years ago, the Chiefs avoided relegation thanks a try scored in injury time in the last game of the season. And, in November last season, they were bottom of the league with just one win. The transformation through the rest of the season was remarkable, culminating in winning the Devon Intermediate Cup in dramatic fashion at Cullompton last April.
Having previously won the Devon One League and the Cornwall and Devon League twice, this is the highest level at which they have been crowned champions. While they have been a potent attacking force, the outstanding defence has made the difference between finishing in the top four and winning.
Any team that prevails in a 26-game competition are truly deserving champions. It is the players on the field who did the hard graft and bear the bruises of a tough season. However, much credit goes to the coaches and team management. Exeter Chiefs players, head coach Phil Dolman and his assistant Mitch Lees have done a tremendous job in organising the team. Meanwhile, team manager John Dunn and his assistants have provided the vital work of creating the necessary supportive environment.
Of great pride for the club is the fact that of the 41 players used by the Chiefs, 36 are products of their junior section. The foundation comes from the excellent grounding provide by the coaches and support they received all the way up to colts.
Also, strength in depth is important over an eight-month season. A successful 2nd team played its part in providing that ingredient. So, congratulations to the Quins for winning their Devon Merit Table to add to the club's successful season.
Finally, Sidmouth has never done a league and cup double. On Saturday, the Chiefs take on Crediton on the Blackmore Field in the final of the Devon Intermediate Cup. Those turning up in support just might see history being made.