Superb second half performance sees Sidmouth Chiefs to victory over Thornbury
- Credit: Archant
Sidmouth Chiefs produced a commanding second half performance, scoring 19 unanswered points on their way to a 29-10 success against Thornbury in a South West One West meeting at the Blackmore, writes Terry O’Brien.
The win wiped out the memory of what had been a disappointing performance at Cooper's Farm in November, when they failed to score a point!
However, in this latest meeting between the teams, the smart money would have been on an away win as Thornbury's 15-man game posed a constant threat. However, the Chiefs dogged defence, an outstanding try and the reliable boot of
Dan Retter kept them in the game.
The second half saw a complete reversal of fortunes as the Chiefs controlled proceedings for all but a spell in the middle of the half.
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Most of the opening 10 minutes were played out in Sidmouth territory as Thornbury came out of the blocks flying. However, the home defence maintained its shape and discipline to keep the threat away from the goal line.
Eventually a penalty enabled a clearance to the opposing 22 and the first Sidmouth offensive which resulted in a Dan Retter penalty to open the scoring against the run of play.
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From the restart kick, play was mainly confined to the Sidmouth half. A score seemed inevitable and eventually came as the full back cut through a stretched defence to score an unconverted try.
The Chiefs were deep in their own half when they produced a candidate for try-of-the-season. From a scrum inside their own 22 Josh Bess broke on a wide blindside. Johnny Hamill provided a link for Luke Wells-Burr to embark on a 50-metres sprint up the right touchline. As the cover closed in, he found support on the inside. The ball was moved swiftly through several hands to the left, where Will Griffiths sprinted over in the corner. Dan Retter added the conversion from the touchline.
Thornbury responded five minutes later with a fine try of their own. The full back fielded a clearance kick just inside his own half and launched a counterattack. After several quick phases, accurate handling found the inside centre on the overlap to score in the left corner. The try was unconverted.
The Chiefs had a brief spell in attack until a charged down kick saw the ball rebound over the dead ball line before the halftime whistle sounded with the score level at 10 all.
At half-time, the Chiefs made two changes with the introduction of Peli Vea at number eight and Cameron Grainger at scrum half. The effect was almost immediate as they launched an attack through many phases, which resulted in a penalty award in front of the posts. Dan Retter kicked his side into the lead.
A few minutes later, a turnover on halfway initiated a similar attack, which resulted in another successful penalty.
The Chiefs were now in full cry and, when Thornbury dropped the ball on halfway, Peli Vea scooped it up and sprinted into the 22. George Locke and Will Griffiths provided the link to sent Cameron Grainger in for an unconverted try.
Thornbury rallied in the middle of the half and a penalty kicked to the corner enabled them to set up a driving maul from the resulting lineout. Despite some of their back joining in, the Sidmouth pack held them out, as they did on a second attempt two minutes later. Eventually, the Chiefs were able to clear upfield from a scrum.
From a turnover just inside their own half, the Chiefs launched another multi-phase attack, which produced a fourth successful penalty to leave Thornbury needing three scores.
Eventually it was the Chiefs who increased their lead when Cameron Grainger made a break over the gain-line from the base of a scrum near the visitors 22.
The forwards were quickly in support to progress the ball towards the line before releasing it to the backs. Swift passing found Will Griffiths in space to race over for his second try to complete the scoring.
The Chiefs, being up to date with fixtures, now have a two week break due to the withdraw from the league of St Ives.
On Saturday the Quins entertain North Tawton 2nds at Blackmore kicking off at 3pm. The Colts travel to Topsham.