Sidmouth show title credentials with impressive home win over Tiverton

Rugby. mscsp 48 17TI 3879. Picture: Terry Ife

Rugby. mscsp 48 17TI 3879. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs confirmed their credentials for potential league success with a convincing 27-7 win against third-placed Tiverton despite five changes to the pack from the previous game, writes Terry O’Brien.

In difficult wet conditions, the first half performance was near faultless, the only area of concern being the lineout, which misfired throughout.

The tactical kicking from Dan Retter in particular, and Cameron Grainger consistently found space to put Tiverton on the back foot.

The forwards maintained possession securely through multiple phases, with Tom Seward, George Jarman and Jack Pyne making significant inroads over the gain-line.

Under pressure, the Tiverton clearance kicking was often poorly directed, giving the dangerous Sidmouth back three opportunities to counterattack.

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The Chiefs were on the attack straight from the kick-off and, after a series of rucks near the Tiverton line, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick to the right, which George Locke followed up to catch and touch down for the opening try. Retter converted from wide out.

From the restart kick, Tom Seward broke through some weak tackling to carry the ball deep into the opposing half. When he was eventually stopped, the ball was quickly recycled for Cameron Grainger to break on the blindside. Seward was back on his feet and in support to send Luke Wells-Burr over for a second try. This time it was unconverted.

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Sidmouth continued to control field position until, midway through the half, a loose clearance kick gave Luke Wells-Burr the opportunity to initiate a counterattack. Ethan Mead and James Powell made the running to take play into the Tiverton 22, where the visitors were penalised. Dan Retter kicked the three-pointer.

When Luke Wells-Burr chased up a well-placed cross kick, he forced the full back to concede a five-metre scrum. From the position, the forwards launched a series of rucks until James Powell made a well-angled run to cut through and touch down near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

In injury time, Tiverton reduced the arrears when the scrum half forced his way over on the blindside of a five-metre scrum. The fly half converted to make the half-time score 22-7.

After the restart, the weather began to take its effect and play became more fragmented. Sidmouth continued to look the more dangerous side and came close to scoring when Tom Hodge made a break supported by George Locke, who was tackled just short of the line. The forwards were in support to carry the ball over but could not ground the ball.

Sidmouth maintained the attacking position until James Powell made a decisive break down the left touchline before sending Dan Retter over for the bonus point fourth try.

In the final quarter, Tiverton began to gain the ascendancy in the scrums and lineouts. As a result, play was mainly confined to the Sidmouth half. Despite increasing pressure, they could not find a way through the outstanding Sidmouth defence and there was no addition to the score.

On Saturday the Chiefs travel to Truro.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Exmouth 3rds seeking to maintain their unbeaten run in the Merit Table. The kick-off is at 3.00pm.

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