Sidmouth Chiefs end campaign on a positive note

Sidmouth Chiefs at home to Wellington. Ref shsp 13-17TI 9528. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Chiefs at home to Wellington. Ref shsp 13-17TI 9528. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs finished the league season with a well-deserved 16-9 win against Burnham-On-Sea to end the campaign on a positive note, writes Terry O’Brien.

The visitors, needing a point to be sure of avoiding relegation, were well-motivated and had the edge in the first half.

The Chiefs upped their game in the second half but missed opportunities meant they were never totally in control.

The Chiefs started well, with Dan Retter’s accurate kicking giving them territorial advantage. They eventually took the lead on 10 minutes thanks to a Tom Whelan penalty. This was soon cancelled out by a similar effort by the Burnham fly half.

A clean break by Harry Chesterton created a scoring opportunity but the cover defence just snuffed out the danger.

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Almost immediately Burnham had a similar opportunity, when the full back broke out of his 22 and kicked ahead into space. George Locke won the chase and Cameron Grainger was back in support to make the clearance kick.

Burnham maintained the attacking position and the pressure was rewarded with a second penalty kicked by the fly half.

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A break by Tom Whelan opened up the defence before he kicked diagonally. Chris Higgs was first to the ball but he could not gather it cleanly.

The Chiefs finished the half on the attack but lost two scrums against the head inside the Burnham 22, allowing the visitors to clear the danger. The score remained 3-6 at the break.

The Chiefs were soon back on the attack after the restart. When they were awarded a penalty, they opted to kick for the corner rather than for goal. The decision was rewarded, when they set up a maul from the resulting lineout and drove over for Ollie Pyne to get the touch down. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

A second Tom Whelan penalty increased the lead before an excellent try put them further ahead. Following a turnover in his own half, Tom Seward broke upfield to set up a handling move going right. George Locke made further ground into the 22 before sending Gavin Pearson sprinting over in the corner. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs remained in control and might have increased their lead but for a couple of handling errors. When Burnham broke into the Sidmouth half in injury time, they were awarded a penalty just outside the 22. The fly half’s successful kick gave them the bonus point to ensure another season in the Western Counties league.

On Saturday the Quins complete the 15-a-side season, when they entertain touring side Fawley kicking off at 3pm.

On Sunday, the comes to an end with eight teams contesting the Annual Charity Sevens sponsored by Fords of Sidmouth and starting at 1.30pm.

This year’s event is in aid of the Devon Air Ambulance Trust.

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