Sidmouth Chiefs chalk up fifth straight league win
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth powered their way to a fifth straight league success with a 49-7 win over Wadebridge Camels, writes Terry O’Brien.
With such a convincing scoreline, defence would not be expected to feature prominently in the match report.
However, it was the outstanding Sidmouth defence which laid the foundation for victory, while some clinical finishing decided the margin.
Wadebridge had as much possession as the Chiefs and showed equal ambition with the ball in hand, but could not find a way through or around the determined and well-marshalled defence until deep into injury time. Indeed, such was the effectiveness of the home defence that Wadebridge could barely penetrate, let alone gain a foothold, inside the Sidmouth 22.
The visitors kicked off in good conditions and the opening stages were evenly contested until Rory O’Brien found space on the blindside of a ruck to burst up-field into the opposing 22. The forwards took over to advance the ball through a series of rucks before the ball was released to the backs with a big overlap to the left. Luke Wells-Burr applied the finishing touch for Dan Retter to kick the first of seven out of seven conversions.
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Midway through the half, Wells-Burr was in action again on the end of a fluent handling move. He was eventually tackled just short of the line, but Sione Livai was on hand to force his way over from the base of the resulting ruck.
When Rory O’Brien fielded a loose clearance kick on halfway, he initiated a handling move, which sent Ethan Mead sprinting over in the left corner. Then, in first-half injury time, Ethan Mead scooped up a loose ball to embark on a solo run to touch down for a bonus point fourth try.
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The Chiefs kicked off the second half and immediately regained possession to set up camp inside the Wadebridge 22. The defence was solid until Sidmouth were awarded a penalty. Dan Retter took a quick tap and found Rory O’Brien in support to sprint over for try number five.
The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and a series of rucks near the line stretched the defence. Ethan Mead came off his wing to cut through a gap in the centre and complete his hat-trick. The 18-year old Devon Colt has now scored nine tries in his debut season.
With ten minutes to go, a laboured handling move seemed to be well covered until Luke Wells-Burr cut inside and weaved his way in under the posts from 40 metres out.
With Wadebridge attacking strongly, Nick Mills was yellow carded for stopping a driving maul illegally. Despite strong resistance, Wadebridge kept up the pressure and eventually made the extra man count, when a forward burst over following a move from a five-metre scrum. The successful conversion was followed by the final whistle.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain promotion hopefuls Kingsbridge attempting to reverse a 40 point hammering at High House in September. The kick off is at 2.30pm.
The Quins hope to continue their winning run at Kingsbridge.
The Colts travel to Newton Abbot.