Chiefs gain double over Tavistock

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  30  v  TAVISTOCK 1st XV  17


The result of this game was in the balance until the final 10 minutes, when the Chiefs finally pulled away to gain a bonus point win. Their cause was not helped by three yellow cards, leaving them with 14 men for half an hour of the game.


On a day when the Sidmouth forwards were on top, the backline, with four changes from the previous match, struggled against a lively Tavistock unit, which belied their lowely league position. A flimsey defence was all too easily penetrated with the visitors scoring three quality tries. It was not until the pressure exerted by the Sidmouth pack was turned into terrtorial advantage that victory was assured.


Tavistock started strongly, when the Chiefs failed to secure the ball from the kick off, and were unlucky to miss very kickable penalty. However, they maintained the early pressure and took a deserved lead in the tenth minute.The number eight broke from a midfield scrum to set up a handling move finished off by the inside centre. The fly half added the conversion.


The Chiefs levelled the scores on their first attack. When they won a scrum against the head deep inside the opposing 22, Dan Powell broke to draw in defenders and clear a way for Dan Retter to score a try, which he also converted.


Tavistock regained the lead almost immediately when they turned over possession at a ruck on the Sidmouth 22. The ball was moved into the open and the full back joined the line at pace to cut through and score near the posts. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.


The Chiefs regained possession from the restart kick and, after good work by the forwards, a Stuart Bickerstaff break was stopped just short of the line and a penalty conceeded at the resulting ruck allowed Tavistock to clear upfield.


A good handling move took the Chiefs back on the attack and Christian Edbrooke drove over following a quick tap penalty move. Dan Retter’s conversion put his side ahead for the first time.


Sidmouth suffered the first sin binning  when Rabbie Hansford failed to retire 10 metres from a penalty. Despite the disadvantage, the Chiefs were back on the attack when James Powell hacked on a loose ball and followed up to gather it to start a handling move, which took play deep into the Tavistock 22. The visitors defended well against a long period of pressure until they turned over possession and cleared upfield.


An ankle injury forced Dan Powell off. Jay Wright moved up to scrum half and was replaced at full back by Jevon Astley-Jones.


In injury time, Charlie Cotton followed up a Dan Retter grubber kick to get the touchdown for a try to give his side a 19-12 half time lead.


Straight from the kick off Tavistock launched a handling move from their own 22. The full back joined the end of the line to sprint clear on a 60 metre run to the line. The try was unconverted, leaving the Chiefs with a slender two point lead.


Dan Retter kicked a penalty following a Jevon Astley-Jones break to extend the lead. But any potential momentum was stalled when James Powell was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on in his 22.

Another Jevon Astley-Jones break from a set move was well supported by Lewis Horne, but he was brought down a few metres short of the line. A penalty at the resulting ruck allowed Tavistock to clear the danger temporarily before a second Dan Retter penalty opened up a crucial eight point lead.


The third Sidmouth yellow card was shown to Ben Halford, whose scrummaging technique did not satisfy the referee. He was soon followed to the bin by a Tavistock player for a high tackle.


With the Sidmouth pack in control, the final ten minutes were played out in the Tavistock half, but it wasn’t until deep into injury time that the Chiefs capitalised by scoring a bonus point fourth try. James Powell followed up a Rabbie Hansford grubber kick to benefit from a kind bounce. The unsuccessful conversion attempt was soon followed by the final whistle.


The Dukes man-of-the-match award went to Stuart Bickerstaff.