Sidmouth Chiefs undone by Penryn’s superior set piece play

Sidmouth Colts line-up before the start of their pre-season game at Crediton that the young Chiefs w

Sidmouth Colts line-up before the start of their pre-season game at Crediton that the young Chiefs won 15-6. - Credit: Archant

The Chiefs will be disappointed with their start to the Western Counties West league season, as they conceded two late tries in a game, which they looked capable of winning, writes Terry O’Brien.

However, Penryn’s superiority in the set pieces eventually wore them down in the late summer heat and Sidmouth returned home with a 25-10 defeat.

Sidmouth kicked off in perfect conditions and regained possession to exert early pressure. This earned them a penalty attempt but, unfortunately, the kick drifted just wide. The Chiefs then conceded three consecutive penalties to enable Penryn, firstly, to gain ground and then take the lead when the scrum half kicked a straightforward goal.

When Penryn dropped the ball inside their own half, Cameron Grainger scooped it up and made a break to open up the defence, but a knock on denied his side an opening score.

Although the Sidmouth pack was under pressure in the scrums, the back row of Gavin Pearson, Stuart Bickerstaff and debutant Will Siddle were lively in the loose, harassing the opposition and combined well to gain ground with ball in hand.

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A good handling move out of defence sent full back Jevon Astley-Jones on a sprint down the left wing, but another handling error brought the move to an end. Then, in first half injury time, Penryn gained a five metre scrum at which they were awarded a penalty try. The conversion gave them a halftime lead of 10-0.

When Dan Retter fielded a kick near halfway early in the second half, he sent Jevon Astley-Jones on another run to take play deep inside the Penryn 22, where they were awarded a scrum. A Stuart Bickerstaff burst down the blindside saw him brought down inches short of the line and Penryn were able to clear the danger.

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Sidmouth were soon back on the attack and Bickerstaff started another attack for Jevon Astley-Jones and Charlie Cotton to combine and send Will Siddle sprinting in under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

The game remained delicately poised until the home side gained another five metre scrum at which the Chiefs were penalised and a quickly taken tap penalty enabled a Penryn forward to drive over for an unconverted try.

Almost Immediately the Chiefs reduced the deficit with a Dan Retter penalty. However, Penryn finished strongly against a tiring Sidmouth pack to score two tries in the closing minutes. The right winger finished off a slick handling move on the blindside of a ruck. Then the forwards drove over from a lineout catch-and-drive-play.

The final whistle went with Sidmouth on the attack.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain newly-promoted Tiverton. The kick off at the Blackmore Field is at 3pm.

The Quins travel to Tiverton, while the Colts open their East Devon Merit table programme at Cuulompton.

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