Sidmouth beaten at home by Cullompton

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Cullompton. Ref shsp 03-16TI 9557. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Cullompton. Ref shsp 03-16TI 9557. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth were beaten 27-10 by Cullompton when the pair met at the Blackmore in a league game, writes Terry O’Brien.

After two postponements, the Chiefs were pleased to see their first action of the New Year, but disappointed at the outcome.

Resurgent Cullompton gained revenge for defeat at Stafford Park earlier in the season as they dominated possession and territory for much of the game. Sidmouth gave away possession far too easily. They defended with great spirit and determination to stay in the game until the final ten minutes, but two late tries eventually exposed the gap between the two teams.

The Chiefs started the game strongly as Giles Dixon followed up the kick off to gain possession and put his side on the attack. A gradual build up of pressure ended when a penalty was conceded. Cullompton cleared upfield and then went on the offensive with a powerful driving maul from the resulting lineout. It was the Chiefs turn to defend and they did well to resist a five metre scrum before the ball went loose and Alex Ford hacked it upfield to clear the danger.

The Chiefs took the lead after 15 minutes, when a slick exchange of passes between Paul Richardson and Rory O’Brien put the former through a gap to score near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

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The visitors soon reduced the arrears following a long period of pressure inside the Sidmouth 22, when the openside flanker dived over in the right corner for an unconverted try.

The Chiefs would regret turning down a kick at goal, when a tap penalty move went wrong and Cullompton went on to dominate the final ten minutes of the half. Sidmouth did well to keep their line intact under heavy pressure. Cullompton did cross the line once but were recalled for a forward pass. The score remained 7-5 at half-time.

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Cullompton took the lead within two minutes of the restart, when the full back chased a diagonal kick and rose above the defenders to make the catch and drop over the line. The try was unconverted.

With Cullompton now in control, a third try followed. The Chiefs failed to mark a big blindside of a scrum ten metres from the line. The number eight and scrum half combined to send the winger over in the corner.

The Chiefs fought back to enjoy their best period of the half and, when the forwards drove well to take play deep into the opposing 22, Cullompton were penalised. Dan Retter kicked the goal to close the gap to five points.

Unfortunately the Chiefs ran out of steam in the closing stages and gaps began to appear in the defense. The inside centre exploited one of these to provide a try for one of his forwards before adding the conversion himself.

With a few minutes to go, concerted pressure and good handling created an overlap for the right winger to sprint in at the corner to complete the scoring.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to Devonport Services for their third meeting of the season. The Chiefs, who gained narrow victories in both league and cup games, badly need a win to halt the slide down the table. The Colts travel with them.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Devonport 2nds with a 2.30pm kick off.

Sidmouth third XV entertain South Molton 2nds at Sidford.

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