Sidmouth Chiefs made to work hard in home win over a lively Winscombe outfit


- Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs secured their second league win against newcomers Winscombe, but the 36-7 final score does not reflect the balance of the game in terms of both possession and field position, writes Terry O’Brien.

Winscombe, who have been transferred sideways from Western Counties North to balance the numbers in the two Western Counties leagues, saw plenty of the ball, but could not break down the well-organised Sidmouth defence, with very few tackles being missed. Meanwhile, the Chiefs made the best of their limited opportunities.

Winscombe started in lively fashion, regaining possession from their own kick-off and retaining it well through several phases.

They spent the first eight minutes in the Sidmouth half aided by a scrum win against the head and stealing the opposition ball at three lineouts. However, their efforts went unrewarded.

When the Chiefs were awarded a penalty on their own 10 metre line, Dan Retter’s kick was long and accurate to earn a lineout deep inside the opposing 22.

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The ball was won cleanly to set up a classic catch-and-drive play. Matt Farrington applied the touchdown and Dan Retter converted.

Winscombe were soon back on the attack as Sidmouth’s problems in the set pieces continued. However, it was the Chiefs who scored next against the run of play.

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Sam Meadham at full back was always looking for counterattacking opportunities, linking with his wingers to pose the Chiefs biggest threat.

He fielded a loose kick deep inside his own half to start a handling move finished off by Matt Farrington scoring a second try, again converted by Dan Retter.

The visitors reduced the arrears with a pushover try scored by the number eight and converted by the full back.

The Chiefs finished the half well and scored a third try in the closing minutes.

Again, a Sam Meadham break opened the defence to set up a move up the left. When the ball was switched to the right, Peli Vea broke through with a powerful run to score under the posts. The conversion made the half-time score 21-7.

Four minutes into the second half, the Chiefs secured a bonus point with a fourth try. Again, it was initiated by a run out of defence.

This time it was Luke Wells-Burr who made the running from his own half deep into the opposing 22. The forwards took over with a series of pick-and-drives until Ollie Pyne forced his way over.

Winscombe were soon back applying pressure inside the Sidmouth half but, again, it was the Chiefs who scored on the break. From a lineout, Tom Seward broke through the first line of defence and found Cameron Grainger in support to set up a move finished by Seward for Dan Retter to convert.

A Dan Retter penalty completed the scoring with ten minutes to play. Winscombe dominated the closing minutes but could still find no way through or around the home defence.

On Saturday(September 15), the Chiefs will face a stern examination of their league potential when they travel across the Tamar to play St Austell.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain South Molton 2nds, kicking off at 3pm.

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