Sidmouth Chiefs end season on positive note

Sidmouth Chiefs were at home to Penryn on Saturday. Ref shsp 16-16AW 2906. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth Chiefs were at home to Penryn on Saturday. Ref shsp 16-16AW 2906. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs finished the season on a positive note, although leaving it to the last minute, by completing an East Devon double over Tiverton, writes Terry O’Brien

The visitors had dominated territory for much of the game but eventually succumed to the threat Sidmouth posed outside the scrum.

The biggest crowd of the season witnessed the unusual sight these days of a hooker striking the ball against the put-in. Sidmouth hooker Josh Mynett achieved it six times, twice leading to tries.

In the seventh minute, Mynett won the first strike against the put-in on his own 22 and Paul Richardson broke down the blindside to draw the winger and send Luke Wells-Burr sprinting up the right wing. He beat the full-back and outpaced the cover to score a fine individual try. The score was unconverted.

In the middle of the half, the Chiefs paid for ill-discipline as they conceeded penalties. Twice Tiverton kicked to the corner and mauled the ball over from the resulting line-outs. Both tries were touched down by the No.8 and converted by the full back.

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The Chiefs showed glimpses of their potential in the backs with good handling moves. James Powell, Rory O’Brien and Tom Seward made promising breaks.

However, Tiverton’s cover defence prevented any scores. The Chiefs only reward was a Richardson penalty to make the score 8-14 at half time.

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Tiverton’s kicking game was very effective, keeping the Chiefs pinned inside their own half. By contrast, Sidmouth’s clearance kicks found a Tiverton player with monotonous regularity and the kick was returned with interest.

When the referee eventually lost patience with Sidmouth indiscretions, Richardson was the unfortunate player to be sent to the sin-bin. With an extra player, the advantage seemed to swing decisively towards the visitors.

The Chiefs forwards did well to resist two more attempted catch-and-drive plays, but Tiverton eventually extended their lead, when the outside centre broke through and showed a good trun of pace to score wide out. The try was unconverted.

Minutes later, a similar break by the same player was snuffed out by a fine cover tackle from Powell.

When the Chiefs were eventually restored to a full fifteen, they began to test the Tiverton defence. A break by Rory O’Brien was well supported by Dan Swain but, again, the Tiverton cover snuffed out the danger. After further Sidmouth pressure inside the Tiverton 22, Dan Retter dummied his way through but was brought down just short of the line.

The Chiefs were finishing the game strongly and, when they won a scrum against the put-in near the Tiverton line, O’Brien forced his way over for Retter to convert and put his side within a try of the lead as the game went into injury time.

From the restart kick, Seward made a break before passing to Powell. The centre swerved between two players and outpaced the defence to score near the posts. Richardson’s conversion was soon followed by the final whistle.

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