Sidmouth Chiefs win pre-season game at Wellington
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Chiefs were 14-13 winners when they travelled to Wellington for a pre-season game, writes John Dunn.
The Chiefs travelled with a playing squad of 17 drawn from 1st and 2nd XVs together with a number of new faces and, upon arrival, found the home team warming up with a hug be squad of some 30 players!
The contest was split into four quarters, each of 20 minutes. The opening quarter was more akin to a chess match with each side testing the opposition defence.
Sidmouth fronted up well and broke through the home lines when they could. However, a hamstring injury ended Will Dunford’s afternoon and led to an early reshuffle in the back line.
Wellington opened the scoring when Chiefs were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown and that was to be the only score heading into the break.
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The second quarter saw more of the same with the Chiefs defence holding strong and that, in turn, raised the confidence levels throughout the side and saw them begin to look to play a more expansive wider-running game.
However, a downside was that a gap was created out wide, seized upon by the Somerset side that scored an unconverted try to lead 8-0 at half-time.
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During the third quarter, the hard work, particularly on fitness, that had been overseen by coach Shaun Malton over the previous weeks, came to the fore and Chiefs began to pin the hosts back towards their try line for long passages of play.
A rolling maul from a line out in the corner saw new signing Jack Darragh using his quick feet to go over for the first Chiefs try of pre-season and it was successfully converted by Dan Retter.
Sidmouth continued to enjoy dominance with the stand-out individual performances coming from Dan Rugg and Chris Goddard on the wings and Josh Ledger at scrum half.
The sustained pressure on Wellington’s line saw a poor clearance form the fly half charged down by Dan Retter which he collect with ease to dot down and score and he also added the extras to put Chiefs into a 14-8 lead at the end of the third quarter.
The final quarter saw the home side clearly determined to extract something from the game and they began to build lengthy passages of pressure.
Sidmouth’s defensive structure and discipline held strong until a two-on-one overlap out wide saw Wellington go over in the corner.
However, the strong defence that Chiefs had shown throughout, ensured that the try was scored out wide and so the conversion was a difficult one, and it was duly missed, leaving Chiefs the 14-13 victors.
This was a good win and ultimately a lot can being taken from this game. In particular, the collective commitment, hard work in going through the game phases and good defensive discipline, were all impressive and clearly needs to remain at the forefront of the teams continued pre-season campaign.