Sidmouth Chiefs’ spirited comeback

The Chiefs staged a spirited comeback, but could not get the winning score, despite laying siege to the Camborne line for much of the last 10 minutes. They may count themselves unlucky to have only been awarded two tries, despite crossing the line five times. However, not many games are won if you concede five tries. And, when three of them result from the same ploy, the defensive organisation needs to be examined.

Not for the first time this season, the Chiefs conceded a try within a few minutes of the kick off. This was the first of three resulting from lineout catch-and-drive plays after Camborne had kicked a penalty to the corner. The maul collapsed into a ruck as it reached the line, but the number seven picked up and drove over in the corner. The try was converted.

The Sidmouth forwards showed that they could also maul effectively. This time it was from longer range and produced a penalty rather than a try. Dan Retter kicked the goal. However, it was cancelled out by a similar effort from his opposite number a few minutes later. The Chiefs asserted themselves well in the middle of the half, and might well have scored a couple of tries. A Ben Damen break split the defence, but he delayed his pass too long and was tackled in possession. Instead, they had to be content with a Dan Retter drop goal after a powerful run by Sam Richardson had set up the position.

Richardson was in the action again when he broke away from a lineout just outside the Camborne 22. He was eventually brought down a couple of metres short of the line. The ball was quickly recycled and moved along the back line. When Tom Hodge was tackled a metre short, Andrew Dare was on hand to pick up and dive over, but the referee had spotted a knock on. Instead, the Chiefs had to be content with a Retter penalty.

When a Sidmouth lineout throw on halfway went too long, the Camborne flanker set up a move which almost brought a try on the right wing. Andrew Dare got back to make the vital tackle, but was yellow carded for not rolling away from the tackled player and preventing early release of the ball. The resulting penalty was kicked into touch for a lineout. This time the driving maul went all the way for the hooker to touch down an unconverted try.

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A long range penalty by Retter narrowed the gap once again. However, Camborne finished the half strongly and extended their lead in injury time with a third try when the outside centre dived over in the left corner after a long period of pressure. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the half time score at 12-20.

When the Chiefs lost a lineout inside their own 22 early in the second half, they found themselves under intense pressure once again. Skipper Ollie Derryman became the second Sidmouth player to spend time in the sin bin, when he got on the wrong side of a ruck near his line. Camborne again used the penalty to set up a lineout catch-and-drive. The number seven scored the try to earn his side a bonus point. The conversion opened up a 15 point lead.

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The Chiefs staged a spirited fight back and a fourth Retter penalty closed the gap. They were soon back pressing on the home goal line, where Mark Unsworth drove over on the blindside of a ruck, but the referee ruled that he had not touched the ball down correctly.

Despite the disappointment, the pressure continued and was rewarded with a try. Dan Retter found Tom Seward with an inside pass and the wingman side-stepped his way through three defenders on his way to the line. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

The decisive score came very much against the run of play with 10 minutes of normal time to go. Sidmouth were penalised just inside their own half. The Camborne centre took a quick tap to set up a move which he finished off to restore a 12 point lead.

Sidmouth dominated the final 10 minutes.

They guaranteed a bonus point when Jack Pyne powered his way over from the 22 with a well-angled run.

Dan Retter converted. In injury time, Sam Richardson dived over under the posts, but the referee decided the ball was held up under a pile of bodies. The final whistle soon followed.

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