Sidmouth Chiefs make it seven straight wins with Kingsbridge victory
PUBLISHED: 13:23 17 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:23 17 December 2017
Sidmouth Chiefs netted a seventh successive Western Counties (West) success with a 24-10 victory over visiting Kingsbridge, writes Terry O’Brien.
The Chiefs continued their move up the league table with this convincing win and also reversed the 44-3 thrashing they got when they played at Kingsbrodge in September.
The Chiefs now have a pack of forwards to compete with any in the league and, with the Kingsbridge lineout frequently misfiring; they took control after enduring a testing opening quarter hour.
Despite the absence of top try scorers Ethan Mead and Luke Wells-Burr, the backs still posed a threat in difficult damp conditions.
The Chiefs kicked off and regained possession but quickly conceded a penalty, which the Kingsbridge fly half kicked deep into the Sidmouth half, where the visitors remained for the next ten minutes.
However, they could not find a way through the well-marshalled defence and had to be content with a penalty kicked by the inside centre to take the lead.
Sione Livai latched on to a loose Kingsbridge lineout throw to set up a handling move, which took play into the opposing 22. A period of pressure was rewarded with a Dan Retter penalty to level the scores.
Another good handling move by the backs set up an attacking position and, with the defence spread thin, a try looked inevitable, but the referee spotted an obstruction and Kingsbridge were able to clear the ball up field.
However, the Chiefs stole the ball at the resulting lineout. The ball was moved to the backs, where Ben Pratt broke through in the centre. He was eventually tackled 10 metres short of the line but support was close at hand.
A couple of pick-and-goes advanced the ball to the line, where Sione Livai forced is way over for an unconverted try.
A good move on the blindside of a ruck near the Sidmouth 22 sent Cameron Grainger, playing in an unfamiliar position on the wing, sprinting up the touchline before kicking ahead as the cover closed in. The Kingsbridge full back just won the chase and did well to cover the danger.
The Chiefs finished the half in command and Dan Retter kicked a drop goal in injury time to give his side an 11-3 lead at the break.
With rain coming steadily down, Sidmouth adapted well to the conditions and continued to dominate proceedings after the restart. An effective kick-and-chase game and good close driving by the forwards kept up field position and pressure. This was rewarded by two more Dan Retter penalties.
An Ollie Pyne burst over the gain line set up a handling move, which ended with Cameron Grainger crossing in the left corner but the referee had spotted a forward pass.
A lineout catch-and-drive play set up a series of rucks advancing to the try line, where Jack Pyne dived over near the posts to leave Dan Retter with a routine conversion kick.
When the Chiefs won the ball at another Kingsbridge lineout inside the Sidmouth 22, Sione Livai and Ollie Pyne combined to take the ball forward before linking with the backs. Quick handing set Zac Bess on a run down the left. He was stopped deep inside the 22 but, once again the Chiefs were penalised with the line in sight.
As the game entered injury time, the Chiefs were penalised on their own 10 metre line and the scrum half took a quick tap penalty. He cut through the retreating defence and found support from a centre, who finished the move off. The successful conversion was followed by the final whistle.
After the morning swim on Boxing Day, the Blackmore Field will be the centre of attention with the annual encounter between the Chiefs and a President’s XV. The kick-off is at 2.30pm.
Before that, on Saturday (December 23), the Quins entertain Crediton 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm.