Sidmouth Chiefs - a review of a season that ended as one of ‘significant success’

PUBLISHED: 10:20 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:20 09 April 2020

Sidmouth RFC at the start of the 2019/20 season. Back Row: John Dunn, Mark Unsworth, Asa Unsworth, Cameron Grainger, Ethan Mead, Tom Butler, Neil Barratt. Middle Row: Nicola Bennett (Physio), Bo Vanstone, Jack Yeandle, Ed Polley, James Perchard-Richards, Luke Bess, Sam Cavin, George Locke, Chris Higgs, Johnny Hamill, Rabbie Hansford, Matt Ewings, Phil Dollman, Lee Sowden. Front Row: Ollie Derryman, Jed Reid, Dan Retter, Tom Hodge, James Powell, Ollie Pyne (c), Tom Seward, Asipeli Vea, Harry Chesterton,
Haydon Down, John Pares. Picture; SRFC

Sidmouth RFC at the start of the 2019/20 season. Back Row: John Dunn, Mark Unsworth, Asa Unsworth, Cameron Grainger, Ethan Mead, Tom Butler, Neil Barratt. Middle Row: Nicola Bennett (Physio), Bo Vanstone, Jack Yeandle, Ed Polley, James Perchard-Richards, Luke Bess, Sam Cavin, George Locke, Chris Higgs, Johnny Hamill, Rabbie Hansford, Matt Ewings, Phil Dollman, Lee Sowden. Front Row: Ollie Derryman, Jed Reid, Dan Retter, Tom Hodge, James Powell, Ollie Pyne (c), Tom Seward, Asipeli Vea, Harry Chesterton, Haydon Down, John Pares. Picture; SRFC

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) have published the final league tables for 2019-20 based on a system which is arguably as fair as possible, writes Terry O’Brien.

They calculated the average points gained by teams for all their home games and separately for all away games. These were than awarded as appropriate for all un-played games, calculated and added to points already achieved.

Thus, for Sidmouth Chiefs, their home game average was 3.50 and away 2.45. With two home and one away game un-played, 9.45 points were added to the 62 already accumulated to make 71.45.

As a result, they finished in fifth place.

Following promotion, the target was mid-table comfortably clear of the relegation zone. Thus, the season must be counted as a significant success.

In mid-October, fifth place looked a forlorn prospect as they propped up the table in last place with just four points from five consecutive defeats.

However, green shoots emerged in the fifth of those at Keynsham, when they fought back from 10-32 down to 32-38 to gain two precious bonus points.

The next week at the Blackmore Field came the turning point with an emphatic 49-22 victory against Lydney.

Three consecutive wins followed, including a spirited 23-19 result on a Friday night at North Petherton, which confirmed their arrival as genuine contenders at level six.

Three bonus point wins, two of them away from home, earned them the Devon Team of the Month award for December and propelled them into sixth place going into the new year.

An indifferent start to 2020, including a heavy defeat at eventual league winners Hornets, acted as a splash of cold water and four victories followed before the coronavirus brought the season to a premature end.

The final playing record, including the Boxing Day match against the President’s XV was:

Played 22 – won 13 – lost 8 – drawn 1 – points for 557 – points against 412.

The reliable boot of Dan Retter produced 182 points. Luke Wells-Burr was top try scorer with 13, followed by Franke Friconnet with eight.

In all 37 players were used in the league campaign. Dan Retter, Rabbie Hansford and Peli Vea each played 21 games.


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