Sidmouth Chiefs serve up super show to win at Wellington

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9438. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9438. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs produced one of their best all-round performances of the season in an entertaining game to overturn a 13 point deficit and record an emphatic 45-18 victory at Wellington, a result that lifts them above midway in the league, writes Terry O’Brien.

In an error strewn start, the Chiefs conceded two soft tries and two penalties to a lively Wellington side ready to punish any mistake.

They failed to secure the ball from the kick off giving the home side an early attacking opportunity and they duly took the lead in the second minute thanks to a penalty kicked by the full back.

The Chiefs hit back immediately to take a brief lead, when Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick into the opposing 22 and Chris Higgs followed up to gather the bouncing ball. He was tackled just short of the line but reached over for the touch down. The try was unconverted.

A few minutes later, Wellington regained the lead with a try by the right winger, when the Chiefs failed to deal with a similar kick. Again the try was unconverted.

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Wellington increased their lead with a second penalty and, from the restart kick, a Wellington forward burst through several would-be tacklers to set up a handling move finished off by the outside centre. The conversion made the score 3-18 on the quarter hour mark.

Chris Higgs chased the resulting kick off to palm it back for Josh Bess to scoop up and burst into the 22. When he was tackled, the ball was quickly recycled and moved swiftly along the backline. Rory O’Brien made the extra man from full back to send Luke Wells-Burr sprinting over in the right corner. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

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A third try quickly followed when a Harry Chesterton break was carried on by Tom Whelan and Rory O’Brien provided the link to send Chris Higgs over for his second try, which was unconverted.

The bonus point was secured in the 24th minutes, when Haydon Down crashed over from a ruck near the line after the forwards and backs had combined to progress the ball through several phases. Tom Whelan converted.

Wellington showed that they were not going to roll over easily as they enjoyed a period of pressure inside the Sidmouth 22. Eventually the ball was turned over in a ruck for Cameron Grainger to put in a good clearance kick.

The Chiefs finished the half on the attack and Chris Higgs was tackled into touch just short of the line to deny him a hattrick and leave the halftime score at 24-18.

Two minutes into the second half, Dan Retter kicked a drop goal to increase the lead.

Despite the absence of influential forwards Sam Richardson, Ollie Pyne and Gavin Pearson, the Sidmouth pack were having a fine game. They produced a noteable collective effort to win a penalty at a scrum infront to the posts, which wasconverted into three points by Tom Whelan.

Luke Wells-Burr scored his second try, when the Wellington backs mishandled inside their own half and the wingman hacked on the loose ball and followed it on to dribble it over the line and win the chase for the touch down.

Try number six was another reward for the forwards, when they set up a lineout catch-and-drive for Haydon Down to peel off and drive over for his second score. Tom Whelan kicked the conversion before rounding off the scoring with a penalty.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to St Austell.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Ivybridge 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm. The Colts travel to Crediton.

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