Sidmouth Chiefs have to ‘write this one off’
The Chiefs had, in modern parlance, “a bad day at the office” on their visit to Clevedon. On their first encounter with a damp, muddy pitch, they failed to adjust to the conditions against a workmanlike side, who adapted their game more effectively.
Also, they could not rely on the accurate boot of Dan Retter, because they rarely had field position in range. He was restricted to just one long-range effort.
After a promising start, during which they took the lead with a well-worked try, a high error count and poor discipline enabled Clevedon to get back into the game and, eventually, dominate proceedings.
A strong run by Jack Pyne, straight from the kick off, started a move which should have been more productive but for the first of many dropped passes. They then survived a missed penalty attempt from in front of their posts, before a driving maul set up an opportunity for Tom Seward to stretch his legs down the left wing. He took play deep into the 22, but the move broke down for lack of support.
Another lineout catch-and-drive saw the ball released while the defence was retreating. Good work by the backs was supported by skipper Ollie Derryman, who touched down to the right of the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.
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Soon after taking the lead, the Chiefs lost full back Tom Whelan, who was suffering from double vision. Whether he could have done anything to stop Clevedon’s first try is debateable. It came from an interception 30 metres out. The grateful home outside centre galloped in, unopposed, to touch down under the posts. The conversion levelled the scores.
With the Chiefs’ error and penalty count increasing, Clevedon finished the half strongly, but rarely threatened the Sidmouth line.
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The closest they came was a five metre lineout, which Josh Bess did well to steal. The ball was cleared up field and the scores remained 7-7 at halftime. After the restart, Clevedon took an ever-increasing grip on the game. They kicked more effectively and retained possession well to keep the Chiefs pinned inside their own half for long periods. They rarely looked like breaking through the tight Sidmouth defence until a backrow move to the right of a scrum 30 metres out, followed by a quick change of direction, created an overlap for the left winger to score an unconverted try in the corner.
They had little trouble holding on to the lead. The Chiefs only managed one excursion into the home 22 in the final quarter.
They earned a lineout 15 metres out, but a knock prevented any chance of capitalising and they had to be content with a bonus point for a close losing margin.
With closest rivals, Old Redcliffians and Avonmouth Old Boys, also losing, they remain in fifth place on points difference.
?On Saturday, the Chiefs entertain Cullompton for their only local derby of the season. The Stafford Park outfit are not enjoying the best of seasons to date, but a good win over Paignton last week indicates they might be running into form. The kick off at the Blackmore is at 2.30pm.
?Neither the Quins or the Colts managed a full 80 minutes of rugby last weekend due to serious injuries in both matches. They will be hoping for better luck on their travels this week. Both play Merit Table games. The Quins travel to Cullompton, while the Colts take on Exeter Chiefs Colts.
? The 3rd Team entertain Ilfracombe 2nds at Sidford, kicking off at 2.30pm.