Sidmouth taking a step forward - then two back!

Sidmouth Chiefs played Wadebridge at the Blackmore on Saturday. Ref shsp 8493-42-14SH Picture: Simon

Sidmouth Chiefs played Wadebridge at the Blackmore on Saturday. Ref shsp 8493-42-14SH Picture: Simon Horn - Credit: Archant

One step forward then two steps back it seems for the Chiefs, as they suffered a 44-22 defeat at Devonport Services, writes Terry O’Brien.

After last week’s fine win against Wadebridge, this was a very disappointing performance, with poor decision making, missed tackles and gifted tries.

Good work at the breakdown, with Dwight Pansegrouw, Stuart Bickerstaff and Nick Mills prominent, could not make up for the shortcomings in the set pieces. The lineouts were a serious problem area, with just one clean catch in the whole game and many lost to the opposition. While the backs produced some good moves, there were too many unforced handling errors.

The home side kicked off in good conditions and the Chiefs failed to control the ball, putting Services on the attack. They were immediately awarded a penalty, which was kicked by the fly half.

For the next ten minutes, the Chiefs were in the ascendency but could not breach the home defence. And, when Services won a lineout just inside the Sidmouth half, the blindside winger appeared between the centres to burst through and run clear to score under then posts. The fly half added the conversion.

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Despite their problems in the set pieces, Sidmouth enjoyed territorial advantage for the next 20 minutes. They were rewarded with a try from Dwight Pansegrouw, when he found a gap on the fringe of a ruck on the home 22 to sprint in under the posts. Dan Powell added the conversion.

Three tries in five minutes sealed the game for Services before half time. When they won a Sidmouth lineout 15 metres out, they drove a maul to the line for a converted try. Straight from the restart kick, a return kick bounced kindly for the left winger to start a move, which took play to the Sidmouth line. The forwards set up a maul and drove over for a try, which was unconverted. The bonus point try soon followed, when they found space to the right of a ruck inside the Sidmouth half. The winger and full back exchanged passes before the former dummied his way in at the corner.

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In the final minute of the half, Christian Goddard took a quick tap penalty on the Services 22 to start a handling move finished off by Giles Dixon in the left corner to make the score 12-27 at the break.

The Chiefs produced a good handling move out of defence in which Giles Dixon and Charlie Cotton made significant ground. Under pressure in their own 22, Services conceded a penalty, which was converted by Dan Powell.

Any thoughts of a comeback soon disappeared when Services won another Sidmouth lineout near the line and drove over for a converted try.

The Chiefs closed the gap when Stuart Bickerstaff broke on the blindside of a scrum and Christian Goddard provided the link to Charlie Cotton. The young winger still had plenty to do and took two defenders with him over the line. The try was unconverted.

Services extended their lead when they turned over possession at a ruck near the Sidmouth line and the fly half found the left winger in space with a long pass. And the number ten was involved in an injury time try, when he intercepted on the Sidmouth 22 and found a forward in support to provide the finishing touch.

The Dukes Man of the Match award went to Christian Goddard.

On Saturday the Chiefs entertain top-of-the-table Exeter University. The students are seeking their fourth promotion in as many seasons since joining the league system. The kick off is at 3pm. The Quins travel to play Ivybridge 2nds and the Colts entertain Teignmouth Colts at Sidford (3pm).

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