SIDMOUTH 1st XV 23pts v CAMBORNE 1st XV 17pts

The Chiefs had to draw on all of their reserves of courage and determination to halt Camborne’s four game winning run. They were forced to play the final fifteen minutes with thirteen men after Jack and Ollie Pyne were sent off following a mass brawl in front of the clubhouse. Despite the huge disadvantage‚ they continued to take the game to the Cornishmen with a never-say-die attitude‚ which earned them an important morale-boosting win at the halfway stage of the league campaign.

Despite the showing of two red and three yellow cards‚ this was not a dower physical battle. It was a hard-fought and competitive game‚ with plenty of skilful rugby to entertain a large crowd in which Camborne supporters were well represented.

Sidmouth kicked off and applied early pressure until a handling mistake allowed Camborne to break out. The next ten minutes belonged to the Cornishmen. The Chiefs conceded a series of penalties as their line came under siege. Eventually the referee lost patience and Rhys Thomas was the one to be made an example of with a yellow card. The resulting penalty was converted by the fly half to open the scoring.

It soon became 14 against 14 when the Camborne number eight was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle. This proved to be the prelude to a purple patch for the Chiefs as they dominated the remainder of the half with a fine display of fifteen man rugby. This game saw the return of Harry Chesterton after two years away and he marked it with a trademark break in the centre to set up the first try. He found James Perry in support‚ who in turn sent Jack Pyne sprinting in at the corner. Tom Whelan added the conversion.

A second try soon followed when a Dan Retter diagonal kick was caught on the full by Chris Higgs on the left wing. He drew the cover before putting Whelan in at the corner. The full back again converted from wide out. Matt Goss looked to have crossed for a third try with a dart from close range‚ but the referee brought play back for an earlier knock on. However‚ there was just enough time for Dan Retter to add a drop goal to make the halftime score 20-3.

Camborne came out with all guns blazing to dominate the next quarter of the game. The Chiefs were once again reduced to fourteen when Retter was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on. Despite the advantage‚ Camborne could not find a way through the Sidmouth defence. Nonetheless they chipped away at the lead with three well-struck penalties.

With fifteen minutes to go‚ the game seemed to swing decisively in favour of the visitors‚ when both packs became embroiled in a bout of fisticuffs. Once order had been restored the referee showed his red card to each Pyne brother in turn. The resulting penalty was kicked to the corner where the Camborne pack caught and drove over for a try touched down by the number eight. The conversion was unsuccessful.

With their backs firmly to the wall‚ the Chiefs were not content to try and hang on‚ but took the game to Camborne‚ running the ball wide at every opportunity. They pressed play into the opposing half and Tom Whelan‚ capping a man-of-the-match performance‚ almost scored with a fine counterattacking run. The enterprise was eventually rewarded by a second Retter drop goal.

The final act if defiance came when Camborne kicked for a lineout in the corner. Ben Turner soared to steal the ball and deny them a second catch-and-drive attempt. Matt Goss’s kick for touch was followed by the final whistle.