Sidmouth edge out Penryn with last gasp score

Sidmouth Chiefs were at home to Penryn on Saturday. Ref shsp 16-16AW 2905. Picture: Alex Walton

Sidmouth Chiefs were at home to Penryn on Saturday. Ref shsp 16-16AW 2905. Picture: Alex Walton - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Cheifs were 25-24 winners when they entertained Penryn, writes Terry O’Brien.

However, the Chiefs left it until the last minute of injury time before playing their get-out-of-jail-free card and secure the win, which might secure their survival in in the Western Counties West league. And they may well have been helped by Penryn’s England World Cup moment.

Sidmouth kicked off in dry conditions suited to the running rugby they prefer to play.

However, the ball held up in the steady breeze blowing down the pitch and failed to travel the required ten metres. Penryn were awarded a scrum on halfway, from which the number eight broke downfield to initiate a torrid 15 minutes for the Chiefs and their anxious supporters.

A period of intense pressure on the Sidmouth line eventually produced the opening score, when a forward forced his way over near the posts. The fly half kicked a routine conversion.

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Penryn were soon back on the attack and, from scrum close to the Sidmouth line, the influential number eight picked up and drove over for a second try, which was also converted.

At last the Chiefs woke up and their first attack brought a penalty, which was kicked by Zac Bess to get his side on the scoreboard.

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Another period of Penryn pressure was met with stiff resistance until the Chiefs turned over possession in a ruck near the line and were able to clear the danger.

Another turnover inside their own 22 led to the first Sidmouth try. The backs found space on the right and James Powell made the initial running into the opposing half. He found Zac Bess in support, who sent Luke Wells-Burr clear to touch down near the posts. Bess added the conversion.

The Chiefs gained in coinfidence and looked dangerous with ball in hand. Dan Rugg was brought down just short of the try-line after he had latched on to a loose ball at a lineout. The Chiefs maintained the attacking position and Rhys Thomas did well to make ground over the gain line from the base of a retreating scrum. The forwards progressed the ball through a couple of rucks before releasing the ball to the backs. With little seeming to be on, James Powell ran a good angle to draw in two players before passing to Luke Wells-Burr. With just a few metres to work in, the wingman did well to dive in at the corner for his second try, which was unconverted.

The lead was only held briefly until the Penryn fly half kicked a penalty, which was followed by the half time whistle. The score at the break was 15-17.

Two minutes after the restart, the Chief’s fell further behind, when the Penryn inside centre charged down an attempted clearance kick and followed up to touch down. The fly half converted the try from wide out.

Penryn looked to be in comfortable control as the Sidmouth lineout imploded, giving the visitors control of possession. However, they could not make progress against determined Sidmouth tackling.

When James Powell followed up his own kick ahead, he forced the full back to concede a five metre scrum and gain his side a strong attacking position for the first time in the half. The reward was a penalty kicked by Sam Cavin to put his side within six points and in sight of a bonus point.

Then came the crucial decision. Penryn were awarded a penalty 35 metres out and to the left. A successful kick would leave Sidmouth needing two scores to win. Instead they opted to kick for a lineout and the possibility of a bonus point fourth try. They knocked on in the lineout and the Chiefs cleared the danger.

As the game went into injury time, Penryn were still attacking and seemingly in control. Suddenly, a dropped ball bounced into the hands of James Powell, who set off downfield. As the cover closed in, he exchanged passes with Tom Seward before sprinting clear to touch down under the posts. Sam Cavin’s successful conversion was followed by the final whistle.

The Chiefs are now seven points above the relegation zone. Not yet completely safe, but in a much better position than a week earlier.

On Saturday (April 23), the Chiefs travel to play Exeter University. Matches between these two sides have always been close and entertaining.

Hopefully, there will be plenty of support from Sidmouth travelling to cheer them on.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Topsham 1st Team, kicking off at 3pm.

On Sunday, the Colts play Teignmouth in the final of the Devon Colts Plate. The game will be played at Sandy Park kicking off at 11am. Again, plenty of support will be welcome.

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