SIDMOUTH 1st XV 78pts v CHOSEN HILL FP 18pts

The Chiefs finished their season in style with a twelve try, bonus point win against bottom club Chosen Hill. The result ensures a ninth place finish, one higher than last season.

In the first half, Chosen Hill competed strongly. With the wind and slope in their favour, and a useful pack of forwards, they spent long periods in the Sidmouth half. However, whenever the home backs got the ball with a bit of time and space, the visitors struggled to cope with their pace.

The first try, scored after five minutes, gave notice of the Chiefs superiority in the backs. A turnover on their own 22 was moved quickly to Tom Seward on the left wing. He sprinted 50 metres before giving the scoring pass to Barney Goss. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

A period of Chosen Hill pressure was rewarded with a penalty. The response was another long range try. Sam Richardson joined the backline to make space for Chris Higgs to cut through the middle and run in from his own half.

Chosen Hill dominated the middle of the half. Barney Goss brought off a try-saving tackle on the outside centre before the pressure told and the scrum half dived over at a ruck on the line.  

Two tries in quick succession restored the Chiefs control and earned them a bonus point. Harry Chesterton dummied his way over for a converted try, then Jack Pyne burst over from close range after Chesterton and Matt Goss had combined well to create the position.

The visitors finished the half strongly to create a try for the tight head prop, which made the halftime score 24-13.

The Chiefs took command after the break, scoring tries at regular intervals, as injuries and fatigue took their toll on the visitors. Matt Goss and Harry Chesterton made the running for James Powell to finish off. Tom Whelan converted before gliding his way over following a lineout in the 22. Straight from the restart, Tom Seward got on the score sheet with a 70 metre diagonal run.

Matt Goss capped a man-of-the match performance with an individual effort on the blindside of a scrum just inside the opposing half. Chris Higgs won the chase for a Tom Whelan kick and then completed his hat trick with an outside break following a strike against the head on the Chosen Hill 22. Straight from the restart, Sam Richardson supported a Ben Turner run to score under the posts. 

Chosen Hill showed great fighting spirit, at the end of a difficult season, to score a third try when their forwards drove over following a quick tap penalty.

The Chiefs finished in style when Barney Goss touched down at the end of a splendid handling move started inside the Sidmouth 22.  

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Sidmouth 1st v Honiton 1st Home

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  29pts  v  HONITON 1st XV 8pts

The Chiefs regained the David Turner trophy, but with less ease than the score line would suggest against a very skilful and committed Honiton team. The Lacemen showed why they are heading for promotion from the Cornwall and Devon League, particularly in the second half when they had the Chiefs under pressure for long periods.

Sidmouth dominated the first quarter, playing at a pace and intensity Honiton struggled to copy with, to score 19 unanswered points. They opened the scoring after six minutes when Honiton failed to deal with a high kick and Sam Meadham finished off some good approach work by the forwards. Wade Cooper started and finished off a move which went out to the right wing before switching back left. Chris Higgs touched down on the end of a counterattack started by Sam Meadham from his own 22. Tom Whelan converted two of the tries.

Undaunted, Honiton had their best spell of the half to get themselves on the scoreboard with a well-taken try by right wing Ben Webber after a long period of pressure on the Sidmouth line. Late in the half, Chris Higgs scored with a classic outside break to make the score 24-5 at halftime.

Heavy rain made life difficult in the second half and Honiton coped with the conditions better to dominate territory for long periods. However, they failed to break down the well-organised Sidmouth defence and their only reward was a Glenn Channing penalty. In the closing minutes, the Chiefs scored a breakaway try when a James Powell kick was followed up and hacked on over the line for Sam Richardson to win the chase for an unconverted try to complete the scoring.   

Sidmouth Chiefs v Camborne 1st

SIDMOUTH 1ST XV  23pts  v  CAMBORNE 1st XV  50pts 

Despite this heavy defeat at Camborne, the Chiefs will play in the South West One West league again next season. This was confirmed by Penryn’s defeat at Brixham. 

The Chiefs were competitive for much of this entertaining game played in perfect conditions. In the end a failure to receive kick offs effectively gave Camborne three simple scoring opportunities, and a lack of fitness allowed them to run away with things in the final 15 minutes. 

The Chiefs failed to catch the opening kick off and Camborne regained possession to build up pressure in the Sidmouth 22. Eventually the number eight drove over from close range. The try was unconverted. 

The Chiefs struck back almost immediately with an excellent try of their own. Following a turnover at a ruck, the ball was moved quickly to the right. With the defence stretched, the ball was switched back to the left where accurate handling sent James Powell in at the corner to level the scores. 

Camborne’s influential number seven put his side back in front with a strong individual run following a quick lineout. The scrum half converted. Sidmouth kept in touch with two Tom Whelan penalties. However, after the second of these, the restart kick was dropped. Camborne snapped up the loose ball and their forwards drove on to set up a try by the hooker. Just before halftime the Chiefs lost possession on their own 22 and the Camborne number six scored with a powerful run. The conversion made the score 11-24 at the break.

Ten minutes into the second half, the Chiefs got themselves back into contention when Sam Richardson scored from the back of a scrum on the 22. Whelan added the conversion. The good work was immediately undone by a lack of concentration at the restart. Spotting a gap in front of him, the fly half took a short grubber kick. The number seven followed up and was only brought down a few metres short of the line. When the ball emerged from the resulting ruck it was moved to an overlap on the left for the winger to score. 

Play was evenly contested for the middle part of the half until the Camborne full back joined the line at pace in the 22 to burst over for a converted try. Two more tries followed in quick succession, both from counterattacks started inside the home 22, which exposed some lacklustre Sidmouth defence. Both were converted.

Showing good spirit, the Chiefs fought back to score in the closing minutes. Jack Pyne drove over after a lineout maul had been driven 20 metres to the line.      

Sidmouth 1st v Cleve 1st

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  22pts  v  CLEVE 1st XV  29pts

Mistakes one minutes either side of half time proved costly in a closely fought contest between two well-matched teams. However, the result leaves the Chiefs still needing one more point from their last two games to remove any mathematical possibility of relegation.

Both sides showed a good deal of attacking ambition, but will be disappointed by the high error count. The scoring for both sides owed more to mistakes and opportunism than creativity. The one try of real quality, scored by the Chiefs late in the game, was deserving of the bonus point it earned them.

Play in the first quarter resembled the trench warfare of the First World War. It was confined mainly around the halfway line with small gains in territory by one side being quickly regained by the other.

The game eventually came to life in the twentieth minute when a Cleve knock on found its way straight into the hands of Tom Whelan, who sprinted in unopposed for an unconverted try.

Five minutes later Cleve had taken the lead thanks to a penalty and drop goal by the inside centre. Both resulted from attacking positions gained following long range counterattacks through some fragile Sidmouth defence.

The Chiefs regained the lead on the half hour when a quick tap penalty gave Harry Chesterton the opportunity to step and stretch his way to the line past the close attention of defenders. Tom Whelan added the conversion. Minutes later a Jack Pyne break set up a superb handling move, but a foot in touch a few metres short prevented a score. 

At the other end, Cleve almost profited when they set up an attack after the Chiefs had lost control of the ball in a scrum. They were denied by a last ditch cover tackle by Harry Chesterton. However, they maintained the attacking position for the number 12 to kick a second drop goal. Tom Whelan restored the six point advantage with a penalty but, from the restart kick, a loose pass found its way into the hands of the Cleve openside, who ran in unopposed. The conversion gave them a 16-15 lead at the break.

The Cleve forwards gathered in the kick to open the second half. The ball was transferred to the fly half, who launched a high kick. The Chiefs failed to make the catch and the ball bounced into the hands of an advancing player. The fly half was on hand to apply the finishing touch. The try was converted to open up an eight point lead.

The next half hour resembled the first quarter with neither side posing a serious threat to the other’s try line. Two penalties extended the visitors lead before the Chiefs raised hope of a dramatic comeback with the try of the game. Tom Seward field a kick inside his own half to set up a move going left. James Powell was up in the line to make the initial break before James Perry produced a run of pace and power to score in the corner. Tom Whelan converted from the touchline to put his side within seven points. Cleve played out time comfortably for a win which takes them clear of any threat of relegation. The Chiefs still need one more point, but two wins could see them finish in the top half such is the competitive nature of this league.