The Chiefs staged a spectacular comeback to salvage two bonus points, but eventualy ran out of time as they ran Services ragged in the closing stages.


They will be scratching their heads to work out why they found themselves trailing by 24 points midway through the second half despite matching the visitors in most areas of the game. For the second week running, a high penalty count will figure highly in the reckoning, along with some defensive lapses.


An early penalty enabled Services to kick for the corner, forcing a lineout close to the Sidmouth line. The Chiefs resisted two attempted catch-and-drive plays, but Services maintained pressure on the goal line until a forward forced his way over for the opening score. The fly half added the conversion.


When Luke Wells-Burr at full back fielded a long clearance kick inside his own 22, he set off on a run leaving several defenders in his wake. The move took play into the Services 22. A neat switch move from a scrum sent Chris Higgs through a gap and over the line but the referee spotted a forward pass and awarded a scrum.


Play was evenly contested through the middle of the half until the Services right winger took an inside pass from his fly half and ran through some weak Sidmouth tackling to touch down under the posts. The fly half kicked the conversion and added a penalty a few minutes later.


Luke Wells-Burr cut another hole through the Services defence to start another promising move but a knock on brought it to an end with the try line looming.


With halftime approaching, Tom Whelan, who had seen a penalty attempt rebound from an upright, was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck.


Despite being a man down, the Chiefs contested the opening stages of the second half well until the visitors created a try out of nothing. The scrum half spotted a gap on the blindside of a ruck near halfway and darted through it to start a move finished off by the blindside flanker and converted by the fly half.


The Chiefs eventually opened their account with a well-constructed try. Sam Richardson broke from a scrum in midfield and linked with Cameron Grainger, who timed his pass well to send Chris Higgs through a gap to score in the right corner. The try was unconverted.


Services soon restored a 24 point advantage with a similar move from a five metres scrum with the left winger diving over in the corner.


The final quarter was dominated by Sidmouth. Sam Richardson crossed the line after good approach work by Gavin Pearson and Aidan Taylor, but was unable to ground the ball. However, the Chiefs maintained the attacking position until Jeremy Massey-Birch found a gap in the stretched defence. The try was converted by Dan Retter.


A Tom Whelan break from inside his own 22 created space for Luke Wells-Burr to go on another long run and put his side on the attack. Sam Richardson again came close to scoring before Josh Bess  powered his way over after a long period of pressure. Dan Retter converted.


With Services tiring, the Chiefs were soon back on the attack and a good handling move created space for Joe Briggs to score. Dan Retter added the conversion to close the gap to just three points.


From the restart kick, Luke Wells-Burr, who had been a constant attacking threat, weaved his way to the opposing 22 but the cover defence did enough to prevent a score before the final whistle.