SIDMOUTH 1st XV  17  v  CULLOMPTON 1st XV  9


The Chiefs made it one-all for the season against Cullompton and progressed to the second round of the Devon Senior Cup. A try count of three to none seems comfortable but the result was in the balance until five minutes from the end of normal time.


In a game, which was otherwise evenly balanced, the Chiefs superior finishing abiity was the decisive factor as they conjured up three tries of top quality. Conversly, Cullompton could not find a way through a much-improved Sidmouth defence.


The Chiefs started in promising fashion with a move in which backs and forwards combined through many phases covering 60 metres before it was brought to an end. However, it was the visitors, who opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a penalty struck by the inside centre. Once again, a high penalty count at the breakdowns would prove to be an achillies heel, which enabled Cullompton to keep in touch throughout the game.


The Chiefs response was a spectacular try. Harry Chesterton, making his first appearance of the season, broke through with a powerful burst at inside centre and found Rory O’Brien in support to outpace the cover in a 60 metre diagonal run to the left corner. The try was unconverted.


A second try soon followed. The hardworking Sidmouth back row of Josh Bess, Gavin Pearson and Max Miller were all involved in a move of good continuity as the ball was progressed through many phases into the Cullompton 22, where a Luke Wells-Burr sidestep wrongfooted the defence as he cut through to touch down near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


The remainder of the half was a scappy affair, played out mainly between the 22 metre lines. The score remained 12-3 at halftime.


The game continued in similar untidy fashion for much of the second half. Cullompton enjoyed the better of the territorial advantage. Though they rarely looked like achieving a decisive break through, they chipped away at the Sidmouth lead with two more successful penalty kicks.


With five minutes to go on the clock, the Chiefs eased the pressure, when Tom Whelan found Luke Wells-Burr in space on the right wing with a long cut out pass. The wingman outpaced the cover to score in the corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, but Cullompton now needed two scores.


Wells-Burr was soon in action at the other end of the field as Cullompton staged a spirited finale. They played their most effective rugby of the game, forcing the wingman to make two try-saving tackles. Max Miller also produced a similar last-ditch effort, which kept the line intact, before the relief of the final whistle.