Spirited Chiefs push Petherton

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore against North Petherton. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 7439-06-13TI To or

Sidmouth Chiefs at Blackmore against North Petherton. Photo by Terry Ife ref shsp 7439-06-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth 1st XV 19, North Petherton 1st Xv 24

The Chiefs put up a spirited performance to earn a bonus point against league leaders North Petherton, but will be reflecting on a crucial lapse of concentration at the start of the second half, which proved decisive for the visitors, writes Terry O’Brien.

The heavy surface made life difficult for both teams, who nonetheless produced an entertaining game. Also, it was a credit to the high standard of both kickers that they were each successful with five attempts out of six.

Territorially, play was pretty even during the first half, but North Petherton were more clinical at turning pressure into points. The Chiefs turned down a couple of kickable penalty attempts in an unsuccessful search for tries and failed to sustain attacking positions. In contrast the visitors turned early pressure into a try. They drove a lineout maul towards the line and when it was stopped, the ball was released to the backs. The Sidmouth defence was caught too narrow giving a simple overlap for the right winger to dart in at the corner. The try was unconverted.

For Sidmouth, flankers Alva Senderayi and Dwight Pansegrouw were constant threats with their strong, direct running, while Nick Mills and Dan Trim got through a lot of useful work at the breakdown and around the fringes. However, the back play lacked accuracy.

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The North Petherton full back kept the scoreboard ticking over for his side with two well-struck penalties before Tom Whelan opened Sidmouth’s account with one of his own. Then, in first-half injury time, Ollie Pyne, in his first game back after a long injury break, came off the bench to replace the injured Trim and made an instant impact. He burst upfield from halfway to take play deep into the opposing 22. He linked with debutant winger Ben Dobson, but was brought down just short of the line, Jason Luff being on hand to pick up and dive over. Whelan added the conversion to make the halftime score 10-11.

Just when the Chiefs needed to build on the momentum, the game moved back decisively to the visitors. The restart kick went directly into touch giving North Petherton a scrum on halfway. The backrow initiated a move down the right and a couple of missed tackles opened the way for the scrum half to score on the overlap. The try was converted from wide out.

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The Chiefs responded well and were soon pressing in the opposing 22. They were rewarded with a Whelan penalty. Minutes later a well-angled Dan Retter kick forced North Petherton to concede a lineout close to their line. Following a quick throw, Ollie Pyne dived over the line, but the try was disallowed because the ball had been touched by a spectator.

Sidmouth kept up the pressure. Both Pyne and Glenn Channing came close to scoring before a defending forward was yellow carded for an offence in a ruck. Tom Whelan kicked the resulting penalty.

The Chiefs could not capitalise further on their extra man. Instead North Petherton edged further ahead with two more penalties. Then, in injury time, Tom Whelan kicked a penalty from the halfway line to give his side a well-earned bonus point.

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