Try hat-trick for Luke Wells-Burr in bonus point win over Chard

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6047. Picture: Terry Ife

Sidmouth at home to Kingsbridge. shsp 49 18TI 6047. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Sidmouth Chiefs gained a much-needed confidence boost with a 44-17, bonus point win against Chard, writes Terry O’Brien.

However, there will be concern about the continuing scrummaging problems, which gave the visitors a foothold in the game throughout the first half.

In the end, the potency of the Sidmouth backs proved to be the decisive factor, aided by the strong-running of the back row supported by skipper Ollie Pyne and fellow lock Peli Vea.

Sidmouth kicked off in dry, but breezy conditions and soon got into their stride with backs and forwards combining well through the phases.

Chard’s defence was well organised and determined in response. It wasn’t until the 15th minute that the Chiefs were able to turn pressure into points, and then it took a moment of individual talent from Luke Wells-Burr to make the difference.

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With the forwards controlling the ball through the phases, a strong burst from Ollie Derryman put the defence on the back foot.

Quick handling got the ball to the right wing where Wells-Burr brushed off three would-be tacklers on a 40-metre run to the line. Rory O’Brien kicked the conversion.

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O’Brien added a second try two minutes later after slick handling had stretched the defence and the fly half wrong footed the cover to sprint over near the posts for him to add the straight forward conversion.

The Chiefs problems in the scrum were exposed, when Chard established an attacking position for the first time midway through the half.

After the Sidmouth pack were penalised at five consecutive scrums near their own line, the referee lost patience and awarded a penalty try.

The Chiefs were fortunate there wasn’t also a yellow card shown.

The Chiefs responded well to finish the half strongly. A Rory O’Brien penalty kept the scoreboard ticking over before a try right out of the top drawer sent them into half-time with a comfortable lead.

From a centre field scrum inside their own half, Josh Bess broke to the right and passed to Sam Meadham joining in from full back. He exchanged passes with Luke Wells-Burr before the wingman sprinted clear to touch down under the posts. Rory O’Brien’s conversion was followed by the half time whistle.

Two quick tries in the opening few minutes of the second half settled the result.

A move to the right of a scrum in front of the Chard posts provided Luke Wells-Burr with his hat-trick.

A few minutes later a superb handling move was finished off by Sam Meadham. Rory O’Brien converted the latter score before adding a second penalty.

Chard showed they were a danger whenever they could get in range of the Sidmouth line, when they scored a try from a lineout catch-and-drive play.

The Chiefs went back up field to score a sixth try, when Cameron Grainger finished off a handling move with a determined run up the left touchline.

The visitors had the final score, when the fullback joined the line in a move from a scrum inside the home 22 and cut through to touch down and unconverted try.

On Saturday (March 9) the Chiefs travel to Crediton for what could be a decisive game in the race for the league title. Crediton are just two points behind in second place.

At the Blackmore Field, the Quins entertain Crediton 3rds kicking off at 3pm.

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