A big holiday crowd at the Blackmore Field saw the Chiefs just manage to extend their unbeaten record to four months in this traditional Boxing day fixture.


In an entertaining game, played in good spirit, two late tries and a last minute let off gave the Chiefs a narrow victory against a President’s team, which had enjoyed a good share of possession and territory.


Unusually for a scratch side, the President’s XV made the better start as most of the first ten minutes were spent in the Sidmouth half including a five-minute siege on the goal line. The Chiefs showed characteristic defensive resolve until a handling error enabled them to clear the danger.


However, the relief was short lived. A loose kick gave the President’s XV an opportunity to start a move, which ended with Aaron Bagwell sprinting 40 metres to touch down under the posts. Sam Cavin added the conversion.


The Chiefs began to find some attacking cohesion and eventually opened their account with an opportunist score. Cameron Grainger latched on to a loose ball at the back of a lineout just inside the opposing 22. He was stopped just short of the line and Haydon Down drove over from the resulting ruck. The try was unconverted.


James Powell was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on but, despite the disadvantage to an already depleted back line, the Chiefs took the lead when Peli Vea broke through two tackles on a run from halfway into the 22. Rory O’Brien was on hand to finish the move off but could not add the extra two points.


O’Brien was in action again at the other end as he just won the race for a kick ahead to make the ball safe in his own in goal area. The score remained 10-7 at half time.


The President’s XV started the second half as they had the first, but their attacking endeavour could not break down the Sidmouth defence. Instead it was the Chiefs who extended their lead thanks to a Rory O’Brien break. This time it was he who provided the scoring pass to Peli Vea. He also added the conversion.


Three tries in ten minutes through the middle of the half seemed to give control to the President’s XV. A Sam Cavin break created a try for Ben Logan, which was converted by Cavin. Strong running by Ollie Rice and Tristan Beavis followed by slick handling sent Jack Webber sprinting over in the left corner. Webber turned provider, when he snapped up a loose ball in his own half to sprint upfield. Aaron Bagwell was in support to finish the move off. Sam Cavin converted to open up a nine-point lead.


With five minutes to play, the Chiefs narrowed the deficit with a well-worked move from a scrum to create an overlap for Jake Watts to race over in the left corner.


From the restart kick, James Powell broke out of his 22 up the left touchline. Rory O’Brien carried the move on into the 22 before Cameron Grainger finished it off. Both tries were unconverted.


The President’s produced a splendid handling move to create a big overlap on the right for a potential match-winning score, but the final pass was forward. The final whistle followed immediately.