TIVERTON 1st XV  17  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  20


The Chiefs produced a performance of great character to achieve a last gasp win at Tiverton, who were among the pre-season favourites for promotion.


Club Physio Adam Rutter has been in charge of fitness training and the benefit of his work was clearly evident as the Chiefs outlasted their opponents.


Tiverton took an early lead when they were awarded a penalty at the first scrum of the game. The fly half kicked the three pointer from wide out on the right.


The Chiefs then did well to withstand an attempted catch and drive. A penalty enabled them to clear their line and from the resulting lineout the backs produced a good move to send Charlie Cotton sprinting into the Tiverton half. Quick recycling of the ball kept the pressure on until Dan Retter put Aiden Taylor through a gap. The hooker was well supported by the backs and Paul Richardson finished the move off under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


Giles Dixon and James Powell combined to run back a clearance kick. Rory O’Brien kicked over the cover defence for Dixon to chase but the ball did not bounce kindly for him. Eventually the pressure was rewarded with a Dan Retter penalty.


Another counterattack by Zac Bess and Rory O’Brien had the defence at full stretch but did not result in a score.


Tiverton came strongly into the game as the half progressed and the Sidmouth forwards did well to hold up their opponents over the line on two occasions before the pressure eventually told. The number eight put the finishing touch to a pushover try. Five minutes later he produced a carbon copy touchdown. Both tries were converted.


Tiverton remained in control until the half time whistle came with the score at 10-17.


The Chiefs started the second half strongly, exerting pressure inside the home 22, until a penalty enabled them to clear upfield and take control themselves. Sidmouth defended well to keep their line intact. Flankers Dan Rugg and Stuart Bickerstaff were a constant thorn in the side for the opposition with a high tackle count and winning turnovers and penalties at the breakdown.


When the Chiefs worked their way back into Tiverton territory, they reduced the arrears with a second Retter penalty.


As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the Chiefs took control and camped inside the Tiverton 22. They were awarded a number of penalties, which they elected to run in the search for a try. Rory O’Brien seemed to cross the line but the referee judged that he had made two movements. As the pressure mounted, the defence became stretched and Zac Bess joined the line to cut through with the help of a hand off for the decisive score. Dan Retter converted well from the left touchline to ensure Tiverton would need more than a penalty to regain the lead in the short time available.


From the restart kick James Salter secured the ball before Zac Bess and Luke Wells-Burr combined well on the blindside of a ruck to take play safely back into the Tiverton half before the final whistle was blown.