Sidmouth Chiefs hit new low with defeat at Penryn

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Crediton 2nds. Ref shsp 7934-50-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Crediton 2nds. Ref shsp 7934-50-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs slipped to their fourth successive defeat, going down 27-26 at bottom-of-the-table Penryn as the league campaign reached the midway stage, writes Terry O’Brien.

The rain had relented by kick off time, but there was significant wind up the slope.

The Chiefs inability to capitalise on the advantage in the first half led to their downfall. In fact they reached the break with a nine point deficit. A spirited second half fight-back earned a bonus point but fell just short.

The chiefs started strongly and were soon awarded a penalty in front of the posts. They turned down the three points on offer only to tamely turn over possession following the quick tap.

Penryn were less generous when they made a break through the centre from their own half to set up a move finished off by the left winger. The try was unconverted.

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Dan Retter reduced the arrears with a long range penalty before an excellent try lifted the hopes of the supporters, who had made the long journey to Cornwall. A quick tap penalty on their own 22 started a handling move. Tom Seward made the initial break and James Powell provided the link to send Tom Elliott sprinting in at the right corner for an unconverted try.

The lead was short-lived. When Penryn kicked a penalty to the corner, the Chiefs did well to hold out against a lineout catch-and-drive and a five metre scrum, but a forward eventually forced his way over following a ruck on the line. The try was converted by the fly half.

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Poor defence on the blindside of a ruck allowed the home inside centre to break through from halfway and send the left winger in for his second try.

The Chiefs finished the half on the attack, but could not add to their score. Halftime arrived with the score 8-17.

With the wind now in their favour, Penryn were favourites for a comfortable victory, but the Chiefs had other ideas. A good handling move sent Tom Elliott on a run into the 22. The forwards advanced the ball through several phases before Dan Retter threaded a grubber kick through the defence and Zac Bess followed up for the touch down. The try was unconverted but Dan Retter kicked a second penalty after more good approach work by the forwards with Christian Edbrooke, Nick Mills and Alex Ford prominent.

Penryn reasserted themselves, when they kicked a penalty to the corner and mauled their way over from the resulting lineout.

A 50-metre diagonnal run by Zac Bess was promising, but lacked support as the cover closed in. However, the Chiefs continued to defy the elements to enjoy territorial advantage. They were eventually rewarded, when Dan Retter kicked a third penalty.

When Alex Ford made a long break into the 22, close support was again lacking, but the attacking position gained eventually bore fruit. Zac Bess kicked ahead from the 22 and James Powell followed up for the touch down. Dan Retter added the conversion to put his side ahead for the second time.

Penryn hit back almost immediately, when they kicked a penalty to the corner. The Chiefs held the attempted catch-and-drive, but neglected to mark the blindside, where a forward peeled off and drove over for what proved to be the winning score as Penryn kept play in the Sidmouth half for the remaining few minutes.

On Boxing Day, the Chiefs play the annual match against the President’s XV. The kick off is at 2.30pm.

On January 2, the Chiefs entertain Tiverton looking to get their league campaign back on track by achieving the double over their East Devon rivals. The kick off is at 2.30pm.

The second and third Xvs both start the New Year with matches at Tiverton.

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