Sidmouth Chiefs’ defeat and points deduction leaves team second bottom of the table

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1664. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Tiverton. Ref shsp 40-17TI 1664. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth suffered another narrow defeat, beaten 20-18 by visiting Tiverton and that, on top of a five-point deduction for playing an unregistered player, leaves the Chiefs just one place off the bottom of the league table, writes Terry O’Brien.

An inability to field a consistent team has added to the problems since the outstanding opening day of the season win at St Austell.

The Chiefs dominated the first 25 minutes of this local derby, but failed to add to a fine early try by Ethan Mead, which was converted by Dan Retter.

The young winger came from the blindside in a set move from a scrum inside the Tiverton 22 to cut an excellent angle through the defensive line.

On the first excursion into the Sidmouth half, the Tiverton full back kicked a penalty to reduce the arrears.

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Despite producing some good handling moves and approach work the Chiefs could not break down the defence and they were unfortunate to see a penalty attempt rebound from the crossbar.

As the half progressed, Tiverton gradually took control as their forwards gained the ascendancy at the breakdown, where they turned over possession too easily, too often.

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A long period of pressure inside the Sidmouth 22 was eventually rewarded when the number seven broke through from close range. The try was converted by the full back.

When a Tiverton back dropped the ball in first half injury time, Ethan Mead scooped it up and sprinted upfield. He was eventually overhauled inside the opposing 22 with no close support to capitalise and the score remained 7-10 at the break.

After the restart with rain falling steadily, Tiverton carried on where they left off and soon added a second try, when the hooker drove over following a tap penalty move near the line. The try was converted.

The Sidmouth backs continued to look dangerous but all the moves were initiated from their own half and the Tiverton cover defence proved to be sufficiently effective.

Tiverton increased their lead midway through the half when the full back kicked a second penalty.

The Chiefs gradually worked their way back into the game with some well-placed kicking pegging the visitors back into their own half as conditions deteriorated, while good counterattacking runs by Luke Wells-Burr and Ethan Mead rendered Tiverton’s kicking game less effective.

The Chiefs added a second try following a good handling move and a slick offload by Ben Halford to send Harry Chesterton over in the left corner.

Another fine passing move out of defence set up Ethan Mead on a long run, which was only stopped by a desperate tap tackle and the Chiefs had to settle for a Dan Retter penalty to put them in bonus point range.

Another Retter penalty soon followed to set up a nail-biting finish. The Chiefs threw everything into attack in the closing minutes but, when another penalty attempt drifted just wide of the upright, they had to settle for a losing bonus point.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to Torquay.

At the Blackmore field, the Quins entertain Torquay Athletic 2nds, kicking off at 3pm.

The Colts travel to play Devonport High School Old Boys Colts.

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