Sidmouth Chiefs made to work hard for victory on first visit to Newton Abbot in 10 years

Honiton rugby action

Honiton rugby action - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth were 31-3 winners on their visit to Newton Abbot for their latest South West One West fixture, writes Terry O’Brien.

Rugby ball.

Rugby ball. - Credit: Archant

The score line might suggest that this was a bulk standard routine victory against the team that sits bottom of the league table.

However, Newton Abbot provided stiff opposition until the Sidmouth pack took control in the second half.

Indeed, but for two misdirected passes in scoring positions, this might have been a much closer run thing.

On the Chief's first visit to Rackerhayes for 10 years, the match was moved to a second pitch for safety reasons with the iconic poplar trees lining the main pitch rendered unstable by the recent storms.

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The Chiefs kicked off on a heavy pitch with a significant cross breeze and dry overhead conditions and were soon on the attack.

Three minutes of pressure ended when a penalty was conceded and the resulting clearing kick took play into the Sidmouth half, where Newton Abbot laid siege for the next ten minutes.

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The home side created two clear overlaps, but the final passes failed to find their target to the relief of the Sidmouth supporters.

Eventually, they had to be content with a penalty kicked by the fly half.

Strong breaks by Peli Vea and Cian Warren created pressure as the Chiefs enjoyed their own 10 minutes of territorial advantage. Eventually, Franck Friconnet forced his way over from a ruck near the line to get his side on the scoreboard.

Dan Retter added the conversion. Newton Abbot responded positively, as much of the remainder of the half was played in the Sidmouth half, but without really threatening the try line.

Then, in injury time, the Chiefs produced a fine move from a scrum on the home 22 to create an overlap for Luke Wells-Burr to sprint over in the right corner.

The try was unconverted leaving the half-time score at 12-3.

The Chiefs increased their lead five minutes after the restart. Then try was set up by an inside pass from Dan Retter that put Peli Vea through a gap on the Newton Abbot 22 and he drew the full back before sending Cameron Grainger in under the posts. Dan Retter converted and the lead was extended to one 16 points at 19-3.

The Sidmouth forwards were now in the ascendancy and the bonus point fourth try came when a slick move on the blindside of a scrum sent Sam Meadham sprinting over in the right corner.

Twice the Sidmouth forwards drove over from five metre scrums, but failed to ground the ball. Meanwhile, Newton Abbot twice pounced on Sidmouth errors to break out with good handling moves, which the cover defence managed to close down.

In the last minutes of normal time, Sam Meadham fielded a clearance kick and ran back to the Newton Abbot 22 to link with his forwards.

When the ball was recycled from a ruck, he received a pass on the unmarked blindside and ran over unopposed for his second try, which Dan Retter converted from the touchline.

In injury time, the Newton Abbot full back made a break to create an overlap on the right, but again the final pass lacked the necessary accuracy and they were denied a try their efforts deserved.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain North Petherton at the Blackmore Field kicking off at 2.30pm.

The Quins travel to play North Tawton 2nds and there's action also for the Sidmouth Colts who play Exeter Athletic Colts at Sidford with a 2.30pm kick off.

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