Sidmouth Chiefs cap a superb season with cup final win to seal a historic double
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Chiefs capped an outstanding season and made history by achieving a league and cup double with what was ultimately a convincing 39-19 victory over league runners-up Crediton in front a large crowd at the Blackmore Field, writes Terry O’Brien.
Convincing it was at the end, but the Sidmouth supporters could not relax until the final ten minutes of a thrilling and very entertaining game.
The visitors took an early lead with a penalty kicked by the fly half. The Chiefs hit back five minutes later when Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick into the Crediton 22. Luke Wells-Burr followed up to gather the bouncing ball.
He was tackled a few metres short of the line, but skipper Ollie Pyne bundled his way over from the base of the resulting ruck. The conversion attempt rebounded on the wrong side of an upright.
Crediton regained the lead with an excellent try scored by the inside centre after the full back fielded a clearance kick on halfway and evaded the chasing defenders to set up a slick handling move finished off in the right corner.
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The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.
Midway through the half, the Chiefs regained the lead when full back Sam Meadham joined the line to cut through a defence which had been stretched by a relentless Sidmouth attack.
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A second successful penalty put Crediton back in the lead by a single point before the Chiefs scored a third try. This time Sidmouth exploited a loose clearance kick which Rory O’Brien fielded just inside his own half. He linked with Sam Meadham, who cut through the advancing defensive line and burst into the 22. O’Brien was in support to take the scoring pass.
The Crediton fly half reduced the arrears to one point with a third successful penalty.
The Chiefs opened up a more comfortable lead in first half injury time, when Josh Bess broke from the base of a scrum on the Crediton 22 to set up a series of quick rucks, which stretched the defence allowing Tom Hodge to exploit a gap to score try number four. Rory O’Brien took over the kicking duties to add the conversion for a 22-14 half-time lead.
Crediton dominated the remainder of the third quarter and, had they scored, momentum might well have switched in their direction. However, the Sidmouth defence, which has been the cornerstone of their league campaign, kept their line intact.
When the siege was broken, they scored an excellent try to ensure there would be no Crediton comeback. From a scrum on the Crediton 22, George Locke made the initial break. He was well supported by his fellow backs and slick inter-passing sent replacement full back Zac Bess in for a try converted by Rory O’Brien.
A superb individual run by top try scorer Luke Wells-Burr produced try number six. He received the ball in an unpromising position on the blindside of a scrum and left three would-be tacklers in his wake on the way to the line and top points scorer, Rory O’Brien, converted.
Crediton scored a consolation try in injury time, when a forward forced his way over from a ruck near the line.
The unsuccessful conversion attempt was followed by the final whistle and the celebrations began.