Sidmouth Chiefs see off the Presdient’s XV in Boxing Day meeting - eventually!

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9589-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9589-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife. - Credit: Archant

The annual Boxing Day match at the Blackmore ended with Sidmouth Chiefs defeated in the President’s XV 12-7 writes Terry O’Brien.

Played in muddy conditions, with intermittent drizzle, this traditional game was contested in a good spirit and a high level of skill was shown by both teams. Both turned down penalty kicks at goal in an attempt to score tries. The result was a close-fought, open and entertaining game enjoyed by a good holiday crowd.

Sidmouth, without their first choice back row, all absent due to injury, took on a strong Presidents XV, captained by Sam Richardson (Taunton) and including former Exeter Chiefs centre Nic Sesteret, Tom Whelan (Rosslyn Park) and Ollie and Jack Pyne (Exmouth).

The President’s XV had the better of the first half, but Sidmouth defended with great determination. They kept their line intact until the 27th minute. From a ruck near the line , Jack Pyne drove over but was prevented from touching down. However, the President’s pack scored a push over try from the resulting 5 metre scrum, touched down by scrum half Johnny Hamill and converted by Tom Whelan.

Two minutes later right wing George Locke made a try saving tackle on his opposite number after an excellent President’s XV handling move.

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In the closing minutes of the half, Sidmouth had their first period of sustained pressure initiated when Jack Sowden broke away from a lineout on halfway. After a series of rucks inside the opposing 22, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick. Dan Powell followed up to out-jump the defenders and catch the ball at full stretch over the goal line and touch down for a try which he converted himself.

Against the run of play, the game was all square at 7-all at the interval.

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The score had a galvanising effect on the Sidmouth team, which continued to have the upper hand after the break. Joe Briggs came close to scoring from a grubber kick before the decisive score came midway through the half. Sidmouth won a scrum just outside the President’s 22. Gavin Pearson broke on the open side from number eight and made ground before the ball was quickly recycled from a ruck and transferred to the backs. Dan Retter threw a long pass direct to Dan Powell joining from full back. He went through a gap and drew two players before passing to George Locke, who sprinted over in the corner.

Sidmouth almost increased their lead in the closing minutes following a turnover on halfway. Gavin Pearson broke to start a handing move which ended when Rory O’Brien was tackled by Ollie Pyne a couple of metres short of the line.

The Chiefs successful played out the remaining time in the opposing half.

On Saturday the Chiefs resume their league campaign when they entertain promotion-hopefuls Teignmouth. The South Devonians lie in second place behind Exeter University, who are rumoured to be under investigation for fielding ineligible players. Watch this space!

The Quins travel to play Topsham 1st team.

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