Sid Chiefs' celebrate long into the night
The Sidmouth management will have been anxiously awaiting reports from the treatment room before their selection meeting for tomorrow s game
The Sidmouth management will have been anxiously awaiting reports from the treatment room before their selection meeting for tomorrow's game.
Jamie Wardrop, who dislocated an ankle just before halftime in last Saturday's Cullompton match, will certainly not be available. Ollie Derriman went off in the early stages with a leg injury and Dan Retter finished the game limping. They join Harry Chesterton who was already sidelined with an ankle injury, sustained against Plymouth Albion.
The injuries, plus two yellow cards, certainly disrupted the Chiefs' performance at Cullompton and, arguably, cost them the game, which was a close run affair decided in injury time.
The Sidmouth pack certainly did enough to earn a win. They pressurised the Cullompton eight in the scrums and gained many hard yards in the loose with Nathan Hannay, Nick Mills and Rhys Thomas in particularly good form. However, there will be concern over the lack of cohesion outside the scrum in both attack and defence. Although there were some good individual moments, with both Glenn Channing and Andy Matchett needing more than one man to stop them on most occasions, and Sam Cummins also making a promising league debut.
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Cullompton opened the scoring, at their first attack in the third minute, with a penalty. And that was the only score in a half which was largely played between the 22s. The Cullompton backs looked dangerous on a few occasions, but the threat was contain by the combined defensive work of Matchett and Wardrop. The Chiefs came close when a turnover gave the backs space and they took play into the 22, where the forwards twice mauled the ball to the line, but could not force their way over.
With two minutes left in the half, the game was held up for 30 minutes when an ambulance was called to deal with Jamie Wardrop's serious injury.
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When play resumed, the Chiefs won a scrum against the head and launched an attack which took them into the opposing 22 where Cullompton were penalised. Steve Trim took a quick tap and sent Hannay on a charge for the line. He was eventually brought down a metre short and the danger was cleared.
The Chiefs began to get the upper hand after the restart and were soon on level terms when a counter-attack sent Sam Cummins on a long run up the left wing. He was stopped just inside the 22, but Cullompton were penalised at the resulting ruck and Glenn Channing kicked the penalty.
They were soon back on the attack and a powerful run by Andy Matchett was only stopped a few metres short of the line. Then came the decisions which dampened the Chiefs' momentum.
The referee sent new prop Ollie Butel to the sin bin for lying on the wrong side of a ruck. A few minutes later he was followed by Andrew Dare for a similar offence. During all this, Cullompton almost scored from a kick ahead, but the ball was knocked on over the line. However, they did take the lead with a second penalty.
Once the Chiefs were restored to a full 15, the game came to life. Glenn Channing almost scored under the posts from a run which left three defenders in his wake. Cullompton were penalised and Channing levelled the scores.
Play swiftly moved to the other end, where Nathan Hannay produced a try-saving tackle on the outside centre. A few minutes later, with the game going into injury time, the same Cullompton player made the critical break which would win the game. From a ruck near halfway, he burst through a gap before sending his left winger clear to touch down under the posts. The try was converted.
There was still time for the Chiefs to launch one more attack and, from a tap penalty move, Andrew Dare dived over in the right corner. The conversion attempt drifted wide to be followed by the final whistle.
l On Saturday, the Chiefs entertain one of the favourites for the league Hartpury College.
The kick off at the Blackmore is at 3pm.
Hartpury have made a meteoric rise up through the leagues since deciding to join a few years ago. Last season they won Western Counties North and won the EDF Intermediate Cup beating Clifton at Twickenham. An entertaining game is certainly in prospect.
l The 3rd Team open their season and first Merit Table campaign at Sidford against Tiverton 3rds with a 3pm kick off.
l The Colts travel to Tiverton for a Merit Table match. The 'Quins are looking for a game.
l Members and supporters of Sidmouth Rugby Club celebrated the club's 125th anniversary with a dinner in the clubhouse last Friday.
After a splendid four course meal, president Derek Marchant opened the speeches by welcoming everyone and outlining the club's present position. He was followed by chairman Terry O'Brien, who gave a summary of the club's history, before proposing a toast to the Rugby Football Union and the game of rugby.
The response was made by former Bath, England and British Lions' lock forward Nigel Redman, who gave a series of amusing anecdotes relating to his playing career. He concluded by proposing a toast to Sidmouth Rugby Football Club.
The celebrations carried on long into the night and were resumed by many the following evening at a social evening for past and present players.