Sidmouth Chiefs end 2019 on high with Boxing Day success

Sidmouth Chiefs win at home to Newton Abbot by 32 points to 9. Ref shsp 44 19TI 2765. Picture: Terry

Sidmouth Chiefs win at home to Newton Abbot by 32 points to 9. Ref shsp 44 19TI 2765. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth 1st XV completed their 2019 action, playing in the annual Boxing Day match against a President’s XV that they beat 41-0, writes Terry O’Brien.

In keeping with what has been a soggy season so far, the rain arrived right on cue for the kick-off of a game that was played out in front of a large Boxing Day crowd.

Both sides contributed to an entertaining game in difficult conditions.

The one-sided score-line does not reflect the contribution of the scratch President's team, which had a fair share of territory and attacking pressure but could not break down the well-organised Sidmouth defence.

The Chiefs started strongly and took the lead after five minutes.

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They progressed the ball through several phases before moving the ball swiftly to an overlap on the right. Will Griffiths, making his debut on the right wing, still had the full back to beat and left him in his wake on his way to the line. Dan Powell kicked the conversion.

Griffiths was in action again as he turned provider for the second try. He fielded a Dan Powell chip ahead before passing inside for Zak Bess to finish the move off with an unconverted try.

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The President's team began to find some cohesion as the half progressed and spent the middle ten minutes of the half pressing in the Sidmouth half without reward.

When the Chiefs turned over possession on their own 22, Giles Dixon broke into the opposing half. He was well supported, and good handling was finished off by Haydon Down.

The President's XV were soon back on the attack but again it was the Chiefs who profited from a turnover. This time Zak Bess ran 70 metres for his second try.

The conversion was unsuccessful to leave the score at 22-0 at half-time.

Soon after the restart, Franck Friconnet found a gap on the blindside of a ruck after the forwards had progressed the ball through several phases. He ran in from 30 metres to score by the posts. The try was converted.

Dan Powell, who normally plies his trade with Plymouth Albion, produced a long pass to open up space on the left for Adam Squance to sprint over in the corner.

Despite the increasing score-line, the President's XV showed great spirit and played some good rugby without reward in the final quarter.

In the final minutes, the Chiefs scored a seventh try when the forwards bundled over the line following a move from a five-metre scrum. Dan Powell's conversion was followed by the final whistle.

On Saturday (January 4), the Chiefs entertain league leaders Devonport Services in a game which doubles as a Devon Senior Shield qualifier.

The Chiefs need to win to keep their hopes of a place in the final alive. The kick-off is at 2.30pm.

The Quins, who go into the New Year at the top of the Merit Table, travel to play Topsham 2nds.

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