Sidmouth Chiefs hit by injury in Camels defeat

Sidmouth Chiefs narrowly beat Truro by 26 points to 25. Ref shsp 1180-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth Chiefs narrowly beat Truro by 26 points to 25. Ref shsp 1180-04-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The injury jinx hit Sidmouth Chiefs once again as they lost two forwards in the first 20 minutes of there 22-6 defeat at Wadebridge Camels, writes Terry O’Brien.

The injury woes had begun pre-match with replacement forward Tom Irish ruled out with an ankle injury sustained in the warm-up! This follows similar misfortune at Tiverton and St Ives in December.

Number eight Stuart Bickerstaff left the field with a rib injury after just two minutes and was followed later by Hayden Watene with a leg injury. The result was backs Rory O’Brien and Giles Dixon filling in the flanker positions. Meanwhile Christian Edbrook, making his first league start, filled the gap in the second row and had an excellent game, showing why he is in the Devon Under-20 team.

A slippery surface and a strong cross wind made life difficult for both teams and they did well to produce an entertaining game of rugby. The smaller Sidmouth pack matched their opponents in both scrums and lineouts but, with a makeshift backrow, failed to control the ball well enough in the scrums and conceded crucial turnovers at the breakdown. Thus Wadebridge maintained pressure more effectively in attacking positions.

Kicking off with the wind in their favour, the Chiefs put on early pressure but unforced errors prevented any score and eventually Wadebridge worked their way out of their 22. A series of penalties at the breakdown enabled the home side to kick their way into the Sidmouth 22. They kept the pressure on until the influential number eight found a gap in the defence to score an unconverted try.

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After a good period of pressure at the other end, Dan Powell reduced the deficit with a well-judged penalty from 40-metres.

In the second quarter, the Chiefs were forced to defend for a long period. They did well to keep their line intact until a turnover allowed Dan Powell to relieve the pressure with a long kick upfield. Another turnover put the Chiefs on the attack and, after a period of pressure, Dan Powell put them in front with a penalty from in front of the posts.

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With tension rising, the referee sent a player from each side to the sin bin. The loss added to the disruption of the Sidmouth pack and Wadebridge took advantage. However, it was not until the ninth minute of injury time that they turned it into a score, when the number eight drove over from a five metre scrum. The try was unconverted making the half time score 6-10.

The Chiefs started the second half brightly with an excellent move taking play from deep inside their own half into the opposing 22. However, when they lost possession, Wadebridge cleared upfield. Then, from a scrum near halfway, the number eight broke clear down the blindside to create a try for the inside centre. Again the conversion was unsuccessful.

Midway through the half the result was put beyond doubt. Another break by the number eight was carried on by the inside centre and finished off by the fly half, who also converted.

Both backlines produced promising moves but generally cancelled each other out. The Chiefs came close to scoring when they drove a lineout maul to the line but lost possession allowing Wadebridge to clear the danger.

Late in the game, Dan Rugg brought off a try-saving tackle after a well judged grubber kick had seemed to put the Wadebridge centre in the clear.

On Saturday, the Chiefs entertain Devonport Services kicking off at 2.30pm.

The Quins travel to Devonport Sevices.

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