Sidmouth Chiefs edged out by Truro in Blackmore thriller
- Credit: Archant
The first league game of the season on the Blackmore Field provided an entertaining and exciting encounter played at a furious pace throughout and it ended with visiting Trurto winning by a margin of justg two points at 26-24, writes Terry O’Brien.
The Chiefs produced a fine display against Truro, who finished in third place last season and start as favourites for promotion, but fell just short as the visitors edged the battle up front in the final quarter.
The Chiefs started the game strongly and took an early lead thanks to a Tom Whelan penalty. Minutes later, a good handling move set Rory O’Brien on a run into the 22 and quick support looked likely to bring a try, but the referee spotted some obstruction and awarded a penalty to the visitors. However, continued Sidmouth pressure was rewarded by two more Whelan penalties.
Truro opened their account with their first serious visit to the Sidmouth 22 on the quarter hour mark. Quick phases created space for the outside centre to break through and put the right winger in at the corner. The fly half added the conversion from a narrow angle.
The Chiefs continued to look dangerous with the ball in hand. Among the forwards Josh Bess, Aidan Taylor and Ollie Pyne made ground over the gain line, while Rory O’Brien and Tom Seward made promising breaks. However, they failed to capitalise as possession was lost in contact or recycled too slowly.
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By contrast, Truro were more patient in their build up and kept the ball through multiple phases. The Chiefs found themselves under pressure inside their 22 and defended with great determination to keep their line intact. They did well to stop a lineout catch-and-drive play and Rhys Thomas brought off a try-saving tackle on the right winger in a tense spell of pressure.
The Chiefs eventually broke out in the closing minutes of the half and increased their lead to 12-7, when Tom Whelan kicked a penalty from 50 metres.
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Truro kicked off for the second half and, when the Chiefs tried to run out of defence straight from the kick, they turned over possession to create immediate pressure. A fine covering tackle by Ollie Pyne stopped a certain try before the Chiefs turned over possession in a ruck and launched an attack of their own. Good handling and support took play into the Truro 22, where Tom Seward followed up a Tom Whelan chip ahead to score in the left corner. The try was unconverted.
Truro replied almost immediately, when a quickly taken lineout throw caught the Sidmouth defence offguard and the outside centre sprinted in under the posts for the fly half to convert.
When Josh Bess broke from the base of a scrum near halfway, he found Tom Seward in support to open up the defence but a knock on brought the promising move to an end.
A penalty enabled Truro to set up an attacking lineout from which they peeled off to set up a series of rucks taking play to the Sidmouth line. The scrum half dummied his way over from close range to put his side in front for the first time. The conversion opened up a four point margin.
With 15 minutes to go, the Chiefs regained the lead with a fine try of their own. A tap penalty set Ollie Pyne on a run and, when he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled. Aidan Taylor burst over the gain-line and offloaded to Jack Pyne in support. The second row showed a good turn of speed to outpace the cover and touch down under the posts. Tom Whelan added the conversion.
Truro showed great resiliance and composure as they took control in the closing stages. They retook the lead with a simple two on one move on the blindside of a scrum near the Sidmouth line. The left winger dived over in the corner. The try was unconverted but Truro kept play safely in the Sidmouth half until the final whistle.
On Saturday the Chiefs travel to play Wadebridge Camels.
On the Blackmore Field the Quins entertain Barnstaple 2nds kicking off at 3pm.
The Colts travel to Barnstaple.