Sidmouth Chiefs slip to bottom of the table after being toppled at Torquay

PUBLISHED: 08:37 13 October 2017

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1666. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1666. Picture: Terry Ife

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Sidmouth Chiefs find themselves at the bottom of the Western Counties West League after a fourth successive league defeat, this time a 27-17 reversal at the hands of hosts Torquay Athletic, writes Terry O’Brien.

Despite matching Torquay in all areas and creating several scoring chances, they came away without even the consolation of a bonus point.

Torquay kicked off in good conditions and in the opening minutes play was confined to the area between the 22 metre lines. Both sides missed penalty attempts before the Chiefs took control to exert pressure inside the home 22.

The Torquay number eight was yellow carded for failing to retire following a quick tap penalty and the Chiefs took advantage of the extra man to open the scoring.

Skipper Ollie Pyne put in a strong run supported by Dan Ledger. He was tackled just short of the line but his offload found James Salter to finish the move off. Dan Retter added the conversion.

The Chiefs failed to catch the ball from the restart kick and Torquay took possession. They drove forward through two quick rucks before the fly half exploited a gap in the defensive line to score near the posts. He converted his own try before putting his side in front a few minutes later with a successful penalty.

The Chiefs regained the lead, when Ollie Pyne turned over possession at a breakdown on the Torquay 10 metre line and burst upfield. Luke Wells-Burr was in support to run in from 35 metres for an unconverted try.

Torquay finished the half on the attack and the Sidmouth forwards did well to steal the ball from an attempted lineout catch-and-drive play. The ball was cleared upfield and the Chiefs retained their 12-10 lead at half-time.

The lead was extended soon after the restart, when a slick handling move, following a lineout on the Torquay 22, found Zac Bess in space on the left. He still had much to do and left two defenders in his wake on the way to the line. The try was unconverted.

Torquay reduced the arrears with a second penalty before taking the lead when they exploited some poor Sidmouth defending. A handling move to the left seemed to be well covered but tackles were not made and the fly half supported his winger to run in for his second try, which he converted from the touchline.

Zac Bess broke out of his own half following a quick lineout throw with Jake Watts in support, but the debutant centre was caught just short of the line.

With ten minutes to go Torquay extended their lead, when the fly half completed his hat-trick of tries on the end of an excellent counter-attacking move. His conversion opened up a ten-point lead.

The Chiefs threw everything into attack in the closing minutes. They created chances but handling errors let them down. They were awarded a very kickable penalty in the final minutes, which, if successful, would have earned a bonus point. Instead they went for a try, which did not come.

On Saturday, the Chiefs travel to St Ives.

At the Blackmore Field the Colts entertain Brixham Colts kicking off at 3pm.

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