Sidmouth Chiefs youngsters give hope of a bright future

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 05-16TI 0069. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth chiefs at home to Truro. Ref shsp 05-16TI 0069. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs went down to a heavy 41-8 defaet when they visited Kingsbridge on the final Satuyrday of February,writes Terry O’ Brien.

Sidmouth Chiefs went down to a heavy 41-8 defaet when they visited Kingsbridge on the final Satuyrday of February,writes Terry O’ Brien.

The Chiefs fielded five colts, including three making their debuts, in their starting XV in the game at the home of promotion contenders Kingsbridge, who have been building a formidible team for several seasons.

Despite the disparity in experience, size and team organisation, the Chiefs can be pleased with their performance. When the Kingsbridge pack drove 20 metres upfield in a maul following the first lineout, the writing was on the wall. However, it took 35 minutes for them to finally break down the Sidmouth resolve and impose themselves on the game.

Sidmouth kicked off down the slope and signalled to the home side that they were not going to be a soft touch. They defended aggressively, contested strongly at the breakdown and moved the ball away from the forwards at every opportunity. In the early stages they looked the more likely to score a try with a couple of good handling move stretching the defence. They deservedly took the lead after 15 minutes with a penalty kicked by Paul Richardson.

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Gradually Kingsbridge began to exert some control through their strength in the set pieces. Midway through the half, they kicked a penalty to the corner and the forwards caught and drove over from the resulting lineout. The try was unconverted.

Despite Kingsbridge enjoying territorial advantage, the Chiefs defended with great determination, exemplified by a splendid try-saving tackle by Sam Cavin. It was not until the influential Paul Richardson was sent to the sin bin in the 35th minute, for a technical offence at a ruck, that Kingsbridge took control. They scored three tries while Sidmouth were down to 14 men.

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When Kingsbridge won a scrum against the head close to the Sidmouth line, the number eight broke down the blindside to set up a try by the left winger. The fly half added the conversion from the touchline. Then in first half injury time the number eight touched down a pushover try from a five metre scrum. The conversion made the halftime score 3-19.

Three minutes after the restart, the Kingsbridge fly half dummied his way over after his forwards had driven a lineout maul to within two metres of the Sidmouth line. He also added the conversion.

Kingsbridge were soon back on the attack and play was confined to the Sidmouth half but, restored to a full fifteen men, the Chiefs defended superbly to keep their line intact until the middle of the half. After a long period of pressure, the Kingsbridge number seven forced his way over from the base of a ruck on the line. A fifth try soon followed, when a the fly half launched a diagonal kick. The ball broke kindly for the home full back to give him a simple run in. Neither try was converted.

The Chiefs spirit and determinion remained unbroken and they broke out of defence with some promising handling moves but could not sustain a position in the Kingsbridge half.

With five minutes to go, Kingsbridge scored again through the full back on the overlap after a sustained period of pressure.

From the resulting restart kick, the Chiefs regained possession and took play into the opposing 22. They kept possession through several phases to stretch the defence until an overlap was created for hooker Josh Mynett to score a try on his debut.

Mynett and fellow debutants, scrum half Aaron Bagwell and flanker Will Thomas, along with fellow Colts Dan Swain, in only his second game, and Sam Cavin came out of the game with great credit. If Sidmouth can hang on to these talented players, the future looks promising.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to Wadebridge Camels.

At the Blackmore Field, the third team entertain Cullompton third XV, Kicking off at 2.30pm. Last, but not least, the Colts travel to Crediton.

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