Sidmouth Chiefs topple Truro with super show
PUBLISHED: 12:02 23 January 2015 | UPDATED: 12:02 23 January 2015
Sidmouth Chiefs achieved their best win of the season by edging out third placed Truro 26-25 in what was an exciting encounter at the Blackmore Field, writes Terry O’Brien.
Chiefs continue to move up the league table thanks to a victory created from dogged defence and skillful opportunism over forward power.
Living off scraps, the Chiefs provided a feast for their supporters with four outstanding tries to earn a bonus point.
Taking on one of the best packs in the league, Sidmouth were without a number forwards on the injured list, and talisman Dwight Pansegrouw, who has returned to university in South Africa. Despite the disadvantage, the Sidmouth eight produced a fine rearguard action. And, when they resisted two five metre scrums late in the game, it was as important as any of the tries.
Truro were quickly into their stride and early pressure was rewarded with a drop goal by the fly half. They were soon back on the attack but, when Dan Retter threw the coaching manual aside, it was the Chiefs who scored next. When the ball was turned over near the Sidmouth line and moved to the fly half, instead of the orthodox clearance to touch he kicked diagonally to the far touchline, where Rory O’Brien was in space. The ball bounced perfectly and the young winger set off upfield. The cover closed in as he entered the Truro 22 and he passed inside to George Locke to finish the move off. Dan Retter added the conversion.
Truro underlined their forward strength with a try from a lineout catch-and-drive play to regain the lead.
Ten minutes later the O’Brien/Locke combination struck again with another opportunist try. George Locke’s tackle on halfway knocked the ball loose and Rory O’Brien scooped it up to sprint clear for an unconverted try.
Truro finished the half strongly. A try by the fly half when he darted through a gap following a ruck near the line was converted to regain the lead, which was extended with a penalty in first half injury time.
The visitors looked odds on favourites going into the second half. However, although they dominated possession, they could not find a way through a well-organised and determined Sidmouth defence. Gradually they ran out of ideas as the game became bogged down in a midfield battle of attrition. That is until the Chiefs turned over possession on halfway. The ball was quickly transferred across the line to Rory O’Brien on the left wing. He rounded his opposite number and wrong-footed two more players on his way to the line. Dan Retter’s conversion from wide out put his side back in the lead.
Truro came back strongly, but failed to gather the ball cleanly at a lineout deep inside the Sidmouth 22, and, when the Sidmouth pack resisted well against a five metre scrum, they lost control of the ball before a penalty enabled the Chiefs to clear the danger.
When the Chiefs were awarded a penalty on halfway, Dan Retter again spotted space on the opposite side of the field. His diagonal kick was chased by George Locke, who had time to pick up and dive over. Dan Retter’s conversion meant Truro had to score twice in the final minutes.
The Cornishmen were soon hammering away on the Sidmouth line. Again they were denied in another attempt to pushover a five metre scrum. A forward did eventually force his way over and the conversion closed the gap to one point. However, the Sidmouth defensive effort had run down the clock sufficiently for them to play out the final minute safely.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain second placed Teignmouth in a match rearranged from 3rd January. The kick off at the Blackmore Field is at 2.30pm.
The Quins seek to continue their rise up the Merit Table when they travel to Brixham.
The Colts play Torquay Colts at Sidford with a 2.30pm kick off.
The club are reintroducing a third team and they travel to play Crediton third XV this weekend. If the venture is successful, more matches will be arranged.