Sidmouth Chiefs lose on first ever visit to Lydney in classic ‘game of two halves’

SIdmouth RFC in action during their away match to Hornets in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: MARK

SIdmouth RFC in action during their away match to Hornets in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs made their first ever visit to the Regentsholme home of Lydney for a contest that produced a classic ‘game of two halves’, writes Terry O’Brien.

SIdmouth RFC in action during their away match to Hornets in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: MARK

SIdmouth RFC in action during their away match to Hornets in Weston-super-Mare. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

While Sidmouth were in control for much of the first half to take a comfortable lead, Lydney dominated in all areas after the break to the extent that the Chiefs failed to even cross the opposition 22 metre line during the 40 minutes of second half action and, when the full time whistle was blown, the Chiefs found themselves on the wrong end of a 27-22 score line.

On a firm surface, the blustery diagonal wind seemed to be a significant factor. As was the penalty count, which matched the scoring ratio in each half, with the referee seeming to favour the team going forward at the breakdown.

The home side took an early lead in the second minute following a long diagonal kick by the fly half.

The Chiefs seemed to have control of the ball at a ruck on their 22, when the ball squirted out and the Lydney right winger ran in unopposed. The full back defied the awkward wind to kick the conversion.

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Sidmouth responded well and were soon pressing inside the Lydney 22, where the home number seven was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck near the line.

The Chiefs opted to kick for a lineout, but the attempted catch-and drive was held up over the line.

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However, further pressure was rewarded when Sam Meadham improvised an overhead pass to send Cian Warren over in the left corner. The try was unconverted.

When Lydney failed to field an up and under, Cameron Grainger snapped up the loose ball and sprinted into the 22. The forwards took over to drive over the line but, again, could not ground the ball. However, from the resulting five metre scrum, Peli Vea picked up and drove over near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

The Lydney backs produced two very good handling moves to take play into the Sidmouth 22, but handling errors prevented them from sustaining pressure.

A set move from a lineout sent Tom Seward sprinting into the Lydney 22, where the defenders were penalised at a ruck. Dan Retter kicked the three-pointer.

With half time approaching, a long kick resulted in a knock-on by the Lydney full back 10 metres from his try line.

From the scrum, the Sidmouth forwards progressed the ball to the line through a series of rucks, where Rabbie Hansford burrowed is way over under the posts. Dan Retter converted and Chiefs trooped off at the break with a 22-7 lead.

A very different Lydney appeared in the second half and they were on the attack from the restart kick.

The Chiefs repelled the first onslaught, but, when Lydney took a quick tap penalty on halfway, backs and forwards combined well through several phases to create an overlap for the outside centre to score an unconverted try.

Lydney were now in control and soon increased their lead. A well-worked peel from a lineout sent a second row forward on a run into the heart of the Sidmouth defence drawing players in.

When he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled and passed to an overlap for the full back to run in for a try, which he converted from the touchline.

Lydney took the lead midway through the half, when they turned over possession at a ruck inside the Sidmouth 22. The ball was quickly moved to the left winger who jinked his way over in the corner. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs marshalled their defence well to prevent any further score for the next 20 minutes to earn themselves a well-deserved bonus point. Lydney eventually increased their lead with a penalty in the final minute.

On Saturday (February 8), the Chiefs entertain Newent from Gloucestershire, another team making their first visit to the Blackmore Field. The kick-off is at 2.30pm. The Colts travel to Torquay while the Quins have a day off.

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