Sidmouth Chiefs hit by more injury woe in Tiverton defeat

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9566-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9566-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife. - Credit: Archant

Injury problems hit the Chiefs again as three forwards were forced to depart early for the second consective game with the inevitable consequence being uncontested scrums for 50 minutes of a match that ended in a 43-12 defeat at Tiverton, writes Terry O’Brien.

Tiverton are too good a side to take on with anything less than a full strength team, and they duly capitalised with a clinical performance.

With Dwight Pansegrouw, Rhys Thomas and Hayden Watene already sidelined before the game, a clash of heads in the second minute forced Will Siddle and Rafael Zappia off with serious cuts. Dan Rugg followed them on the half hour, also with a head injury.

With the Chiefs coming to terms with the disruption, Tiverton dominated the opening 20 minutes and scored two tries, both lineout catch-and-drive routines. One was converted.

Sidmouth came into the game more in the second quarter with some promising handling moves and a good share of territorial advantage. However, they could not convert the effort into points and, when they conceded an interception try late in the half, the struggle became decidedly uphill. The conversion made the half time score 0-19.

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Hopes were revived four minutes into the second half with a fine try by Charlie Cotton. Quick possessioin from a ruck just inside the Tiverton half gave the backs time and space on the left. Both Tom Seward and George Lock made ground in the centre before sending the left winger on his way. He outpaced the cover to score in the corner. Dan Retter added the conversion.

Any hopes of a revival disappeared as Tiverton scored three tries in a five minute purple patch, aided by some poor ball retention, which turned over possession and gave the home side the chance to run at a broken field.

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The first try came from a grubber kick. The Tiverton outside centre won the chase and the full back converted. Next the left winger was put clear by quick handling to an overlap. Then their influential second row forward finished off a fine handling move involving back and forwards.

With ten minutes to go, they scored a seventh try when a forward drove over from close range after a long period of pressure. Rory O’Brien was yellow carded for a technical offence during the build up.

The Chiefs showed typical never-say-die spirit with their best period of concerted pressure in the game. The Tiverton number eight followed O’Brien into the sin bin following a series of penalties inside the 22. When Dan Powell took a quick tap penalty to start a move going right, Gavin Pearson forced his way over in the corner for a last minute consolation try.

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