Chiefs gain narrow win over KIngsbridge

 

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  14  v  KINGSBRIDGE 1st XV  12

 

All involved will be scratching their head to work out how Sidmouth won this game despite spending most of the game in their own half. The Chiefs scored twice from four serious excursions into the Kingsbridge half. For their part, the visitors lacked a cutting edge in the backs and missed five kickable penalties, two deflecting the wrong side from the woodwork.

 

The Kingsbridge tactics were to kick for field position and squeeze the Sidmouth forwards with their bigger pack. They kicked effectively, dominated the scrums and benefitted from a misfiring Sidmouth lineout, that is until the Chiefs abandonned the always-hazardous throw to the back of the line. A more conservative use of the front and middle in the final quarter tightened things up in that phase of the game. Meanwhile, the speed of the Sidmouth forwards to the breakdown slowed down the Kingsbridge momentum in open play.

 

Kingsbridge showed their intent when they kicked an early penalty to the corner and went for the lineout catch-and-drive. The Chiefs managed to resist two attempts before the ball was moved to the backs. The first of several handling errors was pounced on By James Powell, who hacked the ball upfield to put his teamm on the attack. A period of pressure inside the opposing 22 was unrewarded and the concession of a penalty allowed Kingsbridge to clear upfield. The next 15 minutes were confined to the Sidmouth half. However, the best the visitors could manage was a penalty attempt, which hit the under side of the cross bar.

 

Another Kingsbridge handling error saw the loose ball hacked upfield by Charlie Cotton, who followed up to catch the full back in possession. With Sidmouth players arriving in numbers, he was penalised for not releasing after the tackle. Immediatley, Dan Retter launched a long diagonal kick, which found Giles Dixon unmarked on the left. He caught the ball over the goal line and touched down. Retter added the conversion.

 

Straight from the restart kick, Kingsbridge won a lineout on the Sidmouth 22 and mauled the ball to the line for the number six to touch down for an unconverted try.

 

Kingsbridge were soon back on the attack and dominated the remaining 15 minutes of the half. The Sidmouth defence was strong and determined, typified by a fine try-saving cover tackle by Tom Seward. However, when Kingsbridge won a scrum against the head in injury time, they drove to the line for the number three to force his way over. The try was converted to make the halftime score 7-12.

 

The Chiefs kicked off for the second half and regained possession to set up an attacking position. From a ruck, Dan Powell broke on the blindside and kicked ahead. The full back just beat him to the ball as it crossed the line.

 

Kingsbridge kept play predominantly in the Sidmouth half for the next half hour. When first Haydn Down, then Ben Halford were yellow carded, the Chiefs played 17 minutes short-handed, four of them with only 13 men. They defended well, with one crucial turnover at a ruck on their line.

 

A penalty would have given Kingsbridge a two score cushion, but they saw three attempts drift wide. And with six minutes to go they had player yellow carded for a trip. The resulting penalty allowed the Chiefs to kick into the opposing half.

 

They didn’t waste the opportunity to attack. A good move down the left took play to ruck on the 22. When the ball emerged, Dan Retter made a short break, which drew in defenders. When he was stopped, the ball was quickly recycled and moved to an overlap on the right. Good handling found Charlie Cotton in space. He made ground before stepping inside the cover to touch down near the posts. Dan Retter’s conversion gave his side the lead.

 

Kingsbridge came back hard, winning two scrums against the head and gained a penalty just outside the Sidmouth 22. The kick hit the wrong side of an upright and the Chiefs played out the closing minutes safely.