Sidmouth Chiefs edged out at Honiton in David Turner Cup


- Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs received an early wake-up call in advance of the league season as they relinquished their hold on the David Turner Cup after holding it for several seasons, going down 27-26 to hosts Honiton, writes Terry O’Brien.

The result did not flatter the home side, whose forwards kept the Sidmouth eight on the back foot for much of the game, while their direct running backs made frequent inroads over the gain line.

Dan Retter and the Honiton full back kicked early penalties to open the scoring for their sides. Despite playing up the slope, Honiton held territorial advantage during the first quarter as they retained possession well through many phases.

The Sidmouth defence did well to contain the threat before the home side deservedly took the lead with a second successful penalty.

The Chiefs fared much better in the second quarter and Dan Retter levelled the scores with a penalty after a James Powell break had taken play deep inside the opposing 22. Sidmouth pressure late in the half was rewarded when Ethan Mead followed up a Dan Retter cross kick to gather in the in-goal area and touch down. Retter added the conversion for a 13-6 half-time lead. The fly half extended the lead with a third penalty two minutes after the restart kick, but Honiton soon took advantage of the slope with their fly half kicking effectively for position and the forwards putting pressure on the Sidmouth set pieces.

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Eventually they reduced the deficit when the number eight touched down a push-over try from a five-metre scrum.

When the Chiefs regained possession from the restart kick, Dan Retter kicked a drop goal. However, Honiton were soon back on the attack, pinning the Chiefs inside their 22. The defence held out well, but eventually a break by the inside centre created a try for the full back. He then added the conversion from wide out to give his side a one-point lead.

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The Chiefs responded well to the setback with their best spell of the half.

They advanced the ball through many phases before being awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Instead of settling for a routine three points, they took a quick tap penalty and moved the ball swiftly to the right. When he received the ball, Ollie Perez still had a bit to do and left two defenders in his wake on his way to the line. The conversion opened a six-point lead with five minutes to go. Honiton hit back almost immediately, with the inside centre once again being the instigator.

He broke through from halfway and found the number seven in support to apply the finishing touch. The conversion rebounded off the right side of the upright to ensure a single point victory.

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