Sidmouth Chiefs into Devon Cup semi-finals after Crediton victory
Sidmouth Chiefs continued their winning run win with a 27-20 Devon Intermediate Cup victory at Crediton, writes Terry O’Brien.
Both teams spent much of the warm-up introducing their player to each other such were the number of changes from the teams, which played each other in the league match the previous week. The Chiefs had just three of their XV from the week before in their starting line-up!
The result was a classic game of two halves with an exciting and entertaining finale. The first half was a dour affair as both teams struggled for cohesion and defences cancelled each other out. Crediton had the edge in the first 20 minutes and took a deserved lead with a penalty kicked by the inside centre in the tenth minutes.
Sidmouth, with a stiffening breeze at their backs, began to gain some ascendancy as the half progressed. Two penalties kicked by Rory O’Brien gave them a narrow half-time lead.
Crediton started the second half at a canter as two quick tries seemed to put them in control.
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A loose clearance kick gave them an attacking opportunity, which they seized with both hands as good running and support put the full back over in the corner for an unconverted try. A few minutes later, they won a Sidmouth lineout inside their own half to launch a splendid handling move finished off by the inside centre, who also added the conversion.
Despite the departure of Zac Bess and Sione Lavai due to injury, the Chiefs raised their game to create pressure inside the Crediton 22.
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A penalty allowed Crediton to briefly clear the danger before Rory O’Brien fielded a kick deep inside his own half. He ran the ball back and broke through the first line of chasing players down the left touchline. Support came from Giles Dixon and Will Bright, who was stopped just short of the line. Further pressure resulted in a penalty, which they kicked for a lineout five metres out.
They set up a maul. Ben Halford peeled off and drove over for a try converted by Rory O’Brien.
The Chiefs now had a full head of steam and soon earned a five-metre scrum. The ball was moved to the backs and James Powell ran a good angle to cut through and touch down near the post. Rory O’Brien added the extras.
With 10 minutes to go, both sides were reduced to 14 men with players sent to the sin bin.
Crediton drew level with a fine handling move from halfway finished off by former Devon prop Wayne Reed. The conversion was unsuccessful.
When the Chiefs turned over possession at a Crediton lineout, Luke Wells-Burr cut through the centre to score the decisive try, converted by Dan Retter.
The Chiefs played out the closing minutes safely in the Crediton half to progress to the semi-final.
On Saturday the Chiefs entertain top-of-the-table Devonport Services kicking off at 2.30pm.
The Quins travel to play Honiton 2nds.
In the other three Devon Intermediate Cup quarter-final ties Cullompton did not need to take to the pitch as opponents Kingsbridge conceded and so Cully were granted safe passage to the last four.
Devonport Services powered into the semi-finals after a 67-13 win over Paignton and completing the last four line-up are Torquay Athletic, who won 35-17 at Tiverton.