CULLOMPTON 1st XV  23  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  3


In a game of few highlights, Cullompton won this East Devon derby because they defended strongly under pressure and took their chances better. A high penalty count against Sidmouth also helped their cause.


The Chiefs started the game brightly, working the ball through the phases and producing some promising handling moves. However, a combination of a well organised defence and four penalties conceded by Sidmouth in the opening ten minutes changed the balance in favour of the home side.


The penalties enabled them to kick for position, taking play in to the Sidmouth 22. A move down the blindside of a scrum seemed to be well covered, but two missed tackles on the full back enabled him to score in the right corner. He added the conversion from a narrow angle.


Dan Retter closed the gap with a penalty but, with the Chiefs attack concentrated mainly on the battering ram rather than the rapier, they showed little prospect of scoring a try against determined tackling. And, when Tom Seward was yellow carded for a high tackle, the balance swung back in favour of Cullompton. The full back kicked the resulting penalty to give his side a 10-3 lead at half time.


With the Sidmouth forwards struggling for control on the set pieces, Cullompton continued to have the better of things during the third quarter. Two more penalties kicked by the full back extended their lead before the Chiefs came to life and started to dominate proceedings.


The catalyst was a fine break through the centre by James Powell following quick possession from a lineout on halfway. It took a fine cover tackle by the home winger to end the move just short of the goal line.


The Sidmouth forwards were quickly in support to keep the pressure inside the Cullompton 22. Both Aidan Taylor and Jack Pyne crossed the whitewash but neither were able to ground the ball.


Cullompton eventually broke the siege, when they won a scrum against the head. The number eight broke out of the 22 and the scrum half was in support to put in a long clearance kick, taking play into the Sidmouth 22. Luke Wells-Burr did well to get back and tidy up the immediate danger.


Cullompton remained on the attack and settled the result when the fly half dummied his way through the first line of defence following a ruck just outside the 22, and found the right winger in support to finish the move off. The full back added the conversion for a 100% kicking record.


Cullompton saw out the remaining ten minutes with no alarms.