Sidmouth Chiefs defeat basement-side at home
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Chiefs consolidated their sixth place in the Tribute Western Counties (West) table with a 40-10 home success over Burnham-on-Sea, writes Terry O’Brien.
However, the final outcome was not as comfortable as the score line would suggest!
Burnham’s aggression in the tackle and at the breakdown unsettled the Chiefs.
The absence of Henry Thomas at hooker also resulted in problems securing their own lineout possession until they sorted matters out in the second half.
The Chiefs started brightly and were soon pressing in the Burnham half and were rewarded with the opening score. Sam Meadham joined the line from his wing to create the initial opening.
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The forwards were quickly in support to progress the ball through a series of rucks until Haydon Down was driven over for a try converted by Dan Retter, who was again deadly accurate, kicking five out of six conversions.
The Burnham restart kick went direct into touch and Luke Wells-Burr came into the line at the resulting scrum to break through the first line of defence. He drew the full back and sent Sam Meadham in under the posts.
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Any thoughts of an easy romp were soon dispelled as the visitors got the kick right this time to put themselves on the attack. The pressure was rewarded with a penalty kicked by the fly half.
A good handling move put Burnham on the attack again and the Sidmouth defence was given a stern test, which they passed until a penalty enable them to clear upfield.
When the Chiefs turned over possession at a ruck inside their own half, excellent handling and support play created a try for Ethan Mead on the left wing.
Burnham finished the half strongly, pressing near the Sidmouth line. Josh Bess and Matt Farrington were yellow carded in quick succession and Burnham should have scored, when they created an overlap for their right winger, but the last pass was forward, and he was recalled. The half-time whistle followed with the score at 21-3.
With Sidmouth still down to 13 men, Burnham started the second half as they had finished the first, but when they dropped the ball on the Sidmouth 22, Ethan Mead kicked it on and followed up to scoop it up and outpace the cover to touch down under the posts.
Even with the Chiefs restored to a full fifteen, Burnham continued to enjoy territorial advantage but could not break down the Sidmouth defence.
With 10 minutes to go, the Chiefs eventually managed to work their way into the opposing 22. Good approach work by the pack, and a break by Ben Pratt, opened up the defence before good handling along the backline sent Ethan Mead in for his hat-trick.
A few minutes later, a strong run by Haydon Down took play back into the Burnham 22, where Rory O’Brien finished off a slick handling move for the only unconverted try.
Burnham finished the game on the attack and were rewarded with a consolation try scored by the outside centre on the end of a tap penalty move. The fly half added the conversion to complete the scoring.
On Saturday (February 24), the Chiefs travel to Tiverton for a re-arranged league match. The kick-off is at 2.30pm.