Chiefs in bonus point defeat at Kingsbridge

KINGSBRIDGE 1st XV  22pts  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  15pts 

The home sides superiority in the set pieces was enough to earn them a victory in this dour encounter at windy High House. Meanwhile the Chiefs had to be content with a bonus point thanks to the accurate boot of skipper Dan Retter, who was making his first appearance since breaking a hand at Penryn.

Retter opened his account in the second minute after kicking off with the benefit of a strong diagonal wind. This score was soon cancelled out by a similar effort from the home side left winger.

Kingsbridge highlighted their control of the set pieces when they won a lineout just inside the Sidmouth 22. They drove powerfully to the line, where the number six got the touchdown for an unconverted try.

A second Dan Retter penalty was followed by an outstanding piece of defensive work by full back Sam Meadham. The Kingsbridge winger followed up a kick ahead to gather the bouncing ball and cross the goalline, but Meadham’s tackle dislodged the ball before he could touch down.

A third penalty put the Chiefs ahead for the second time. A few minutes later a scuffle broke out among the forwards, after which the referee showed a token yellow card to a player from each side. As a result Dwight Pansegrouw departed for ten minutes. The influential flanker had already spent several minutes off the field having a bleeding nose attended to.

Kingsbridge regained the lead with a second lineout catch-and-drive play. The try was converted.

The Chiefs then had their best spell of the half with Stuart Bickerstaff, Tom Hodge, Dwight Pansegrouw and Aiden Taylor making powerful runs, but lack of cohesion and accurate support caused them to come away empty handed.

In the closing minutes of the half Kingsbridge scored from a third lineout maul. This time the Sidmouth forwards did not engage, but the referee ruled that the play did not constitute obstruction. The successful conversion made the halftime score 9-22.

The second half was a distinctly unmemorable affair in which both sides had players yellow carded for technical offences. The introduction of James Salter from the bench improved the Sidmouth lineout, while the scrum, despite creaking somewhat, held off three pushover attempts. Neither backline could piece together a cohesive move and resorted, for the most part, to bash unsuccessfully down the middle.

In the middle of the half Dan Retter reduced the arrears with a penalty, and from the halfway line, with the last kick of the game, made it five out of six to secure the losing bonus point.

The Dukes man-of-the-match was Dan Rugg.