Sidmouth give Wellington the boot with 50-point victory

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9574-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9574-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife. - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs broke the 50 point barrier for the first time in two years to secure a valuable bonus point win against old rivals Wellington, writes Terry O’Brien.

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9598-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife.

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore to Wellington. Ref shsp 9598-50-14TI. Picture: Terry Ife. - Credit: Archant

Perfect overhead conditions, and a firm Blackmore pitch, provided ideal conditions for the talented Sidmouth backs and mobile backrow. With the set pieces proving more reliable than in the early part of the season, a good share of possession was secured.

The Chiefs opened the scoring after just two minutes, when Sam Meadham benefitted from a kick ahead. The wingman still had much to do when he received the ball 30-metres out, but showed good pace to round his opposite number and cut in to score near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

Wellington replied with some good driving work through the phases to put pressure on the Sidmouth line. The Chiefs defended well before being able to clear their line. And on the next visit to the opposing half, the lead was extended with a Dan Retter penalty.

The visitors responded well and enjoyed long periods of territorial advantage. However, when a threequarter move broke down on the Sidmouth 22, Sam Meadham snapped up the ball and sprinted clear for a second converted try.

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Continued Wellington pressure was eventually rewarded with a penalty try, when the Sidmouth forwards collapsed a driving maul as it approached their line. The conversion attempt was charged down, causing much discussion regarding the law relating to penalty tries.

With half-time approaching, another Wellington move broke down deep inside the Sidmouth half. From the loose ball, the Sidmouth backs produced a splendid handling move. It covered 80 metres and ended with Rory O’Brien touching down for Dan Retter to convert. There was still enough time for Retter to add an injury time penalty to make the score 27-5 at the break.

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Wellington dominated the first quarter hour of the second half and scored a well deserved try from a tap penalty and quick passing to the left winger on the overlap to race over. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs soon replied to extend their lead, when a well-judged diagonal kick found Rory O’Brien in space on the left. He caught the ball on the full over the line and touched down. Dan Retter’s conversion from wide out went over via both posts and the crossbar.

Sidmouth were well on top in the closing stages and added three tries in quick succession. Dan Powell was quick to react when the ball was overthrown at a lineout on the Wellington 22. He ran on to it and sprinted over for Retter to convert.

The dynamic Dwight Pansegrouw peeled off a lineout maul to drive over in the left corner and followed up to finish off a good handling move from the restart kick with a powerful run from the 22-metre line. Dan Retter’s conversion was the last act of the game.

The Dukes Man of the Match award went to Ben Halford, making his first start of the season at loose head prop.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to St Ives, who lie three places below them.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Brixham 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm. The Colts travel to Tiverton.

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