SIDMOUTH 1st XV  16  v  ST AUSTELL 1st XV  48

The Chiefs slipped to their fourth consecutive home defeat, in which they have conceded an average of 34 points, enabling St Austell to leapfrog them into seventh place in the league.

Overnight rain and frequent showers throughout the afternoon created a treacherous slippery surface, better suited to the visitor’s stronger pack. Unwisely, Sidmouth too often tried to take on the St Austell forwards at close range rather than kicking for position at the earliest opportunity to keep the ball away from the opposition strength.

St Austell got off to a flying start with two tries inside the opening ten minutes, both from forward power. In the fifth minutes the number eight galloped his way over on the blindside of a ruck after a period of pressure on the Sidmouth line. The second came from a lineout catch-and-drive play touched down by the number six, which was converted.

The Chiefs fought back strongly through the middle of the half to give their supporters hope. Luke Wells-Burr chased a Tom Whelan grubber kick and hacked on over the line before winning the chase to touch down for an unconverted try.

Further Sidmouth pressure was rewarded by two Tom Whelan penalties to take them within one point.

St Austell extended their lead, when they won a scrum against the head on the Sidmouth 22. The fly half supported a break by the inside centre to touch down. The try was unconverted.

The closing minutes of the half were played out in the Sidmouth half but determined defence kept the line intact and the score remained 11-17 at half time.

A penalty kick soon increased the lead as the St Austell pack took a firm grip on the game against a tiring Sidmouth pack. They frequently turned over possession in the contact area, putting them on the front foot. Whenever they got near the Sidmouth line they posed a threat and all the remaining tries came from close range.

A break by the number eight from a scrum took play to the Sidmouth line and the fly half applied the finishing touch to secure a bonus point. The conversion opened up a 16 point lead.

The number eight scored his second try from a pushover of a five metre scrum before the Chiefs had their one purple patch of the half following a penalty kick into the 22. From the resulting lineout, they set up a maul and, after a short drive, Sidmouth’s stand out player Gavin Pearson peeled off and powered his way almost to the line. A couple of rucks later, Pearson got his hands on the ball again to drive over for an unconverted try.

St Austell soon regained control of the game to score two late tries. The tight head prop forced his way over after a series of rucks near the line before the inside centre cut through the middle following a five metre scrum. Both tries were converted.