Sidmouth Chiefs undone by missed opportunities

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Exeter Engineers at the Sidford ground. Ref shsp 06 18TI 7055. Picture: Ter

Sidmouth 2nds at home to Exeter Engineers at the Sidford ground. Ref shsp 06 18TI 7055. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Wadebridge Camels certainly deserved their 34-7 home success over Sidmouth Chiefs, but the score line could have been much closer had the Chiefs converted the many opportunities they created into points, writes Terry O’Brien.

In the opening minutes there was no sign of what was to come as Sidmouth opened the scoring after two minutes in clinical fashion.

They regained possession from the kick-off and drove forward to earn a five-metre scrum. From a solid platform, they worked the ball through several phases until Cameron Grainger dived over from the base of a ruck on the line. Dan Retter converted from wide out on the right.

Wadebridge responded on their first incursion into the Sidmouth 22 with a well-struck drop goal by the fly half.

On the quarter hour, the home side took advantage of some poor tackling to take the lead from a move finished off by the right winger.

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The try was converted by the fly half.

Harry Chesterton had been causing the home defence a few problems with powerful breaks at inside centre. One of these led to a handling move to send Luke Wells-Burr on a run down the right wing. He was eventually stopped just short of the line. When the ball was recycled, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick to the opposite wing, where Ethan Mead was in space. Unfortunately, he was unable to gather the ball cleanly.

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The Chiefs continued to press inside the Wadebridge 22 but could not turn the pressure into points and a knock-on led to the pressure being relieved.

A rising penalty count against the Chiefs enabled Wadebridge to build up momentum. When they kicked for lineout in the corner, they caught and drove over for the hooker to touch down for a second converted try.

The Chiefs finished the half on the attack but could not add to their score.

The Chiefs opened the second half with a fine handling move following a turnover inside their own half to send Ethan Mead on a run into the opposing 22, but they could not sustain the attacking position.

The game swung decisively in favour of Wadebridge in the next five minutes, when they took advantage of two fortunate bounces.

From a charged down Sidmouth kick on halfway, the ball rebounded into the hands of the Wadebridge number seven, who sprinted into the Sidmouth 22. He was well supported by the hooker to finish off the move. The try was unconverted.

Minutes later, a Wadebridge kick ricocheted off a Sidmouth player into the hands of the outside centre, who initiated a handling move finished off in the left corner. Again, the try was unconverted.

The Chiefs responded well and continued to create opportunities without managing to finish them off.

In the final quarter, Wadebridge gained the upper hand thanks to an increasingly dominant scrum, which was the source of their final score. At a five-metre scrum, the referee awarded a penalty try, when the ball was kicked out by a Sidmouth player as the scrum advanced.

On Saturday, the Chiefs, now assured of a sixth-place finish, complete their league campaign at home to St Austell, who can still earn a place in the play-offs with a victory. The kick off at the Blackmore Field is at 3pm.

After the first XV game, Sidmouth Colts finish their season against St Austell Colts, kicking off at 4.45pm.

There’s also action for the Quins, who travel to play Topsham 2nds.

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