Sidmouth Chiefs chalk up big clean-sheet home success

Rugby. mscsp 48 17TI 3879. Picture: Terry Ife

Rugby. mscsp 48 17TI 3879. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A good crowd was in attendance to see Sidmouth Chiefs defy the gluepot surface to produce a champagne performance of 15-man rugby as they put visiting Torquay Athletic to the sword, beating them 67-0, writes Terry O’Brien.

The nil was as satisfying as the 67 points, for Torquay certainly had their moments, but could not penetrate the increasingly impressive Sidmouth defence.

The Chiefs showed their intent right from the kick-off with a fine handling move that put them in an attacking position. Torquay were penalised and Dan Retter opened the scoring with the first of 10 successful kicks out of eleven.

Torquay went straight onto the offensive from the restart kick, but five minutes of pressure went unrewarded. When the Chiefs eventually turned over possession and broke out into Torquay territory, Dan Retter kicked a second penalty.

Two minutes later, from a scrum on halfway, Rory O’Brien came from the right wing to take the ball in the fly half position to set up Harry Chesterton on a break through the centre. He was supported by Ben Pratt and O’Brien was on hand to run in under the post.

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The forwards won the ball at a Torquay lineout to provide the backs with time and space. Quick handling put Ethan Mead in space on the left wing and the prolific youngster outpaced the defence to score in the corner.

The scorer then turned provider when he joined the line in the centre. He was tackled short of the line, but Dan Retter was on hand to pick up and dart over for try number four.

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Rory O’Brien scored a second try when he followed up a Luke Wells-Burr kick. The Torquay winger dropped the ball as he was tackled, and the right winger gathered it up to run in at the corner unopposed.

In the closing stages of the half, another handling error by the visitors was punished by a counterattack finished off by Ethan Mead and Chiefs trooped off at the break with a 41-0 lead.

Torquay rallied to have the better of territorial advantage during the opening ten minutes of the second half. They stemmed the flow of Sidmouth points but could not make an impression on the well-organised defence.

When the Chiefs regained some fluency in their play, they advanced the ball through several phases until Johnny Hamill found a gap on the blindside of a ruck 5 metres out to dart over under the posts.

Torquay dominated proceedings through the middle of the half, but, despite the loss of Nick Mills to the sin bin, the Chiefs kept their line intact.

Like George Foreman in the ‘rumble in the jungle’, they eventually punched themselves out and the Chiefs ran in three tries in the closing minutes.

Jack Pyne scored twice, first bursting over from a ruck near the line, then he peeled off a driving maul to crash over. The latter being the only unconverted try.

Deep into injury time, Sione Livai put the finishing touch to a handling move following a quick lineout throw.

On Saturday (February 3) the Chiefs travel to Truro.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Exeter Engineers kicking off at 2.30pm.

At Sidford, the Colts complete their Devon Plate qualifying league campaign against Honiton. The kick off is at 2.30pm.

*Saturday’s match was used as a charity day in aid of Force Cancer. It started with a pre-match lunch attended by over 70 people. Other fundraisers included match score prediction, a raffle, an auction and a collection. Over £3,000 was raised. The event was organised by our players and their wives and girlfriends.

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