Sidmouth Chiefs beaten at basement side Bude
- Credit: Archant
The Chiefs see-saw season continued after they suffered a 12-8 defeat at bottom club Bude – a result that comes just seven days after the fine win against Wadebridge Camels, writes Terry O’Brien.
The key to Bude’s success was forward power, which enabled them to dominate the scrums and out-muscle the Chiefs in the mauls.
Both were key features on a day in which a strong wind down the pitch made open rugby difficult.
However, despite playing with a minority of possession, the Chiefs created enough scoring opportunites to have won the game. A combination of handling errors, poor decision making and a determined Bude defence in the tense closing stages left them with just a losing bonus point to show for their efforts.
Bude chose to play with the wind in their favour in the first half and, when the Chiefs kick off failed to reach the ten metre line, they had an early opportunity show their scrummaging superiority and launch an early attack. They were soon pressing inside the Sidmouth 22 and were unlucky to see a penalty attempt rebound the wrong side of an upright. Still they maintained the pressure and it took a fine tackle by Matt Farrington to deny the number eight a try from the base of a scrum.
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On the quarter hour the Chiefs showed their attacking potential, when they took play into the opposing half with a fine handling move following a quick tap penalty. Another promising move followed but a penalty enabled Bude to clear the danger.
Bude rarely moved the ball wide and relied on kicking to gain ground. Despite the tricky wind, the Sidmouth back three of Dan Retter, Chris Higgs and Rory O’Brien dealt with the barrage well to keep play at a safe range.
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Bude eventually took the lead following a penalty kick for touch deep into the Sidmouth 22.
A catch-and-drive took play close to the line before they exposed an overlap on the blindside of the maul to send the left winger over in the corner. The fly half added the conversion via an upright and the cross bar.
The Chiefs finished the half on the attack but could not sustain pressure for long enough periods to break down the defence. However, a seven point halftime deficite with the wind advantage to come was a favourable position.
The first five minutes of the second half swung matters decisively in Bude’s favour. All but a few seconds of that time was taken up with a series of scrums starting near the halfway line. Each resulted into a penalty to Bude and another attritional scrum. The first three saw the Bude pack advance deep into the Sidmouth 22 and Matt Farrington sent to the sin bin. After a couple of resets, the Bude number eight touched down a push over try, which was unconverted.
The Chiefs eventually broke their duck fifteen minutes into the half. A good move by the backs sent Rory O’Brien on a run up the right wing. When he was tackled, the ball was quickly recycled and Tom Whelan dummied his way through a gap before beating three men on a solo run to the line. The conversion attempt drifted just wide.
Whelan cut the deficite further with a penalty kicked after a James Powell break had created the attacking position. But, with Matt Farrington now returned to the field, Sidmouth were back to 14 men with Ollie Pyne yellow carded at another retreating scrum.
Gavin Pearson and Cameron Grainger had done well throughout to make use of the ball at the base of a retreating scrum and their efforts did much to enable the Chiefs to gain momentum in the closing stages. This should have been enough to secure the win despite the best efforts of desperate Bude defence.
Twice they crossed the line but lost control of the ball. Chris Higgs was tackled into touch a couple of metres short of the line and, when the ball went loose inside the 22, James Powell’s hack on was just too strong and roilled over the deadball line as he was favourite to win the chase.
The final whistel went with the Chiefs camped on the Bude line but they had to be content with a single point for their efforts.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain St Ives kicking off at 2.30pm.
The Quins travel to Okehampton and the Colts are at Plymstock Albion Oaks.