Sidmouth Rugby Club and the Devon Intermediate Cup

Devon Intermediate Cup 2018

Devon Intermediate Cup 2018 - Credit: SRC

In 2009, the Devon cup competitions were divided into three tiers by the introduction of the Intermediate Cup. The top eight clubs by league ranking contested the Senior Cup. The next eight, including Sidmouth, played for the Intermediate Cup and the remainder played for the Junior Cup. 
The Chiefs made a promising start to the 2017-18 season in the Western Counties West league with a 23-22 win away to St Austell, thanks to two long-range tries by Ethan Mead in the last ten minutes. 
Unfortunately, the next seven games ended in defeat and the Chiefs found themselves in last place at the end of October. 
On November 4, a nail-biting 25-24 win at Chard started a seven-game winning run up to the new year. A further seven victories and two draws gave them a respectable sixth-place finish and confidence they could challenge for promotion the next season. 
The first round of the Intermediate Cup was played at Crediton on November 18.  
The Chiefs had travelled there the week before for the scheduled league game. It was a dour affair which Sidmouth won thanks to 15 points from the boot of Dan Retter. 
The combined starting XV’s for the cup game included only six of those who had played the previous week, illustrating the lack of importance attached to the knock-out competitions by coaches and players alike. That is, unless they managed to stumble into a final. 
The first half of the match was a continuation of the previous week’s thin gruel. At the break, Sidmouth led by two Rory O’Brien penalties to one. The second half had all the drama and entertainment missing from the previous three. 
Both sides scored three quality tries. Sidmouth converted three to Crediton’s one to run out 27-20 winners. 
Sidmouth were drawn at home against Torquay Athletic in the semi-final. After three attempts to play, the game fell victim to the ‘Beast from the East’ and other weather events, Torquay, having been beaten 67-0 in the league, gave the Chiefs a walkover. 
The final was played at Cullompton on Saturday, April 28. Cullompton, who played in the South West One West league and had finished ninth, were clear favourites. 
In perfect conditions, Sidmouth took an early lead with an outstanding try from a move started and finished by Harry Chesterton. He broke from inside his own 22 and all the backs were involved as the ball was carried through three quick phases. Dan Retter converted.  
Cullompton had a penalty attempt rebound from an upright before levelling the score on the half-hour mark when their number six forced his way over from a tap penalty. 
The home side dominated the closing stages of the half and deservedly went ahead when the number eight scored from a five-metre scrum. The conversion gave them a 14-7 half-time lead. 
Each side kicked a penalty in the first ten minutes after the restart before Cullompton took control in the middle of the half and extended their lead with a converted try after a long period of pressure on the Sidmouth line. 
Sidmouth reduced the deficit back to seven points thanks to a try by Ollie Pyne converted by Dan Retter.  
Straight from the kick-off, Sione Livai peeled off a maul and burst through three tackles into the opposing half. Cameron Grainger provided the link to send Luke Wells-Burr on a 40-metre sprint to the line. The conversion was unsuccessful, leaving Cullompton two points ahead.    
With four minutes to go, Ethan Mead fielded a diagonal kick just inside his own 22 and passed inside to Rory O’Brien. He drew the chasing players before sending Zac Bess sprinting down the left touchline. He outpaced the covering players to score a try, giving his side a dramatic 27-24 victory. 
The Chiefs defended the trophy in 2019, beating Crediton 39-19 on Easter Saturday at the Blackmore Field. 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus