Sidmouth Chiefs now three long months without a home win

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 05-16TI 0069. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 05-16TI 0069. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

The Chiefs dismal record at home continued with what is surely a critical 30-18 defeat at the hands of fellow strugglers St Austell, writes Terry O’Brien.

The loss means that it is now a long three months since the Chiefs last won a home game!

Where defence was the key to victory at Saltash the previous week, it became the Achillies heel in this game.

Too many first up tackles were missed and St Austell were allowed to get over the gain line too easily. Consequently the visitors were allowed to build up mementum on the attack forcing the Chiefs onto the back foot.

St Austell kicked off on a dry but soft pitch but it was Sidmouth who launched the first serious attack.

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They were rewarded with a penalty kicked by Paul Richardson in the third minute. Two minutes later a long pass from Richardson sent Giles Dixon on a clear run to the line but the referee judged the pass to be forward.

St Austell levelled the score thanks to a penalty kicked by the full back. They soon took the lead when a forward drove over from close range after the ball had been advanced through several phases. The full back added the conversion.

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A second Paul Richardson penalty reduced the arrears before the Chiefs retook the lead with a neat try. Harry Rumens made the initial break from the base of a ruck inside the opposing 22 before offloading to Rory O’Brien, who dived over near the posts. Paul Richardson added the conversion.

St Austell regained the lead just before halftime with a try similar to their first one. The hooker drove over under the posts after his fellow forwards had done the spade work. The successful conversion made the score 13-17 at the break.

The visitors continued to dominate proceedings from the restart and increased their lead five minutes in, when the scrum half sniped over from the base of a five metre scrum. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs always looked dangerous whenever they moved the ball wide and a good handling move sent Luke Wells-Burr on a sprint up the left wing to set up a period of pressure inside the St Austell 22. The Chiefs had two attacking lineouts in quick succession but on each occasion the ball was judged to be not straight and the initiative was lost.

The pressure was eventually rewarded with a fine try. Following a lineout just outside the St Austell 22, a miss move put James Powell in space. He made good ground before exchanging passes with Tom Elliott on the right wing and outpacing the cover to cross in the corner. The try was unconverted.

When a St Austell forward was yellow carded midway through the half, the Chiefs had a chance to take the initiative. But it was the visitors who scored next. Another multi-phase move stretched the defence for the left winger to score on the overlap.

St Austell continued to dominate in the closing stages and closed the match out with a penalty kicked in injury time.

The Chiefs now face three tough away matches in succession. The first is on Saturday against promotion contenders Kingsbridge.

The Quins travel to play Bideford 2nds and the Colts are at Exeter Chiefs.

There is no game at the Blackmore Field on Saturday, but the clubhouse will be open from 2pm for anyone wanting the watch the 6 Nations matches on the big screen. Italy play Scotland at 2.25pm and England v Ireland kicks off at 4.50pm.

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