Sidmouth Chiefs, without a number of key players, battle so well against Chard
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth 12, Chard 39 Despite the absence of several regulars, who were unavailable for this rearranged league game, the Chiefs competed very well against in an entertaining game against in-form Chard, writes Terry O’Brien.
They were very much in the game until the final ten minutes, when the Somerset side’s superiority in the set pieces enabled them to draw clear.
Chard kicked off in perfect conditions and opened the scoring when the fly half kicked a penalty in the first minute. They were soon back on the attack to earn a scrum deep inside the Sidmouth 22. They shunted the Sidmouth eight back to score a pushover try by the number eight. The fly half added the conversion.
The Chiefs were undaunted by these early setbacks and set about countering the visitors pack power by moving the ball wide at every opportunity. Young half backs Jonny Hamill and Jay Wright played their part in this tactic by moving the ball quickly away from the point of contact at every opportunity. The more mobile Sidmouth forwards’ speed to the breakdown enabled them to keep playing at a high tempo. The Sidmouth backs, with Jason Luff and James Powell posing a constant threat, kept the Chard defence at full stretch. They were well supported by the back row, while any slow ball was driven forward around the fringes by Jack Pyne, James Perry and Alex Spurdle. Although playing out of position in the second row, Rhys Thomas was quick to react to any loose ball on the ground.
Although much of the play was in the opposing half, Chard’s superiority in the set pieces prevented Sidmouth from maintaining pressure close to the line. The absence of the regular goal kicker was another problem. It wasn’t until first half injury time that their ambition was rewarded when Jack Pyne latched on to a loose ball at the back of a lineout inside the 22 to power his way over. Chris Higgs added the conversion to make the halftime score 7-10.
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Chard started the second half as dynamically as the first. Despite two try saving tackles by James Powell, they increased their lead when the full back came into the line at pace after a turnover on the Sidmouth 22. The try was converted and soon followed by a third try scored by the right winger on the overlap.
Once again the Chiefs staged a spirited fight-back. Two tap penalties in quick succession stretched the defence and James Powell came into the line at a good angle to cut through for an unconverted try.
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Just ten points behind with 20 minutes to play and the Chiefs were very much in the game. However, the Chard pack gradually took control as the Sidmouth eight began to tire. With ten minutes to go they scored a second pushover try dotted down by the scrum half. Another try soon followed when the right winger finished off a good handling move. Then, in injury time, the referee awarded a penalty try when the Sidmouth pack prevented another pushover try illegally. The conversion rounded off the scoring.
On Saturday the Chiefs travel to second placed Camborne. The Cornishmen are unbeaten at home and sure to be confident after winning their county Senior Cup competition.
At the Blackmore the Quins entertain Torquay 2nds, kicking off at 3pm.
The Colts travel to Ivybridge, where a win would ensure them a home draw in the Colts Cup semi-final.