SIDMOUTH 1st XV 17pts v AVONMOUTH OB 50pts

The Chiefs suffered a heavy defeat on their visit to Avonmouth, who now sit on top of the league thanks to the bonus point gained. However, the margin does not reflect their contribution to the game. Stripping away the 21 points gifted gets nearer to the difference between the sides.

The Sidmouth forwards more than held their own in the set pieces but were edged out in the rucks. The crucial difference was the pace of the Avonmouth backs, which enabled them to capitalise on any opportunities which came their way.

Avonmouth have the best kick and chase game in the league and, with the breeze in their favour, they employed it to ensure much of the first quarter was played in Sidmouth territory. This advantage was turned into points with two penalties, between which they almost scored a try but the left winger was bundled into touch just short of the line.

However, the wingman soon got the opening try when a turnover at a ruck on his own ten metre line was moved to the unmarked blindside and he outpaced the cover. The conversion was successful. A third penalty followed before try number two. Sidmouth, with an overlap 10 metres from the line, should have been the scorers but the final pass went to ground and bounced into the speedy left wingers hands. Once again he outpaced the cover over 90 metres to score under the posts. Again the try was converted.

The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and eventually got on the scoreboard with a Tom Whelan penalty. Unfortunately a mistake at the restart gave the home side the initiative and they built up pressure until the number 8 burst through to score under the posts. The conversion made the halftime score 3-30.

A fourth Avonmouth penalty soon after the restart was followed by Sidmouth having the better of the contest for much of the half. Ollie Pyne, playing his first game of the season after a long term knee injury, capped a man-of-the-match performance with a try from a quick tap penalty near the line. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

A further spell of pressure was rewarded with a five metre scrum but an over elaborate move resulted in another interception, this time by the outside centre who ran the length of the field for a converted try under the posts.

Undaunted, the Chiefs replied with splendid try of their own. From a scrum just outside the Avonmouth 22, Tom Whelan made a break and found Tristan Beavis on his shoulder to carry the move on to a ruck in front of the posts. The ball was quickly recycled and moved to the left where Jamie Wardrop applied the finishing touch. Whelan converted from wide out.

Good driving by the forwards resulted in James Perry forcing his way over the line but he could not ground the ball. Avonmouth eventually cleared the ball up field and the Chiefs finally ran out of steam. They conceded two tries in injury time, both by the left winger on the overlap.