SIDMOUTH 1st XV 10pts v PENRYN 1st XV 17pts

The Chiefs did well to hold on to a losing bonus point in a match in which the score line just about reflects the balance of play. A strong diagonal wind made conditions difficult for both sides, and Penryn’s edge in the scrums gave them better control. And it was a scrum against the Sidmouth put in on the half hour which proved to be the decisive moment in the game.

Sidmouth kicked off with the wind in their favour, but two penalties conceded in quick succession gave Penryn the first scoring opportunity. A penalty attempt by the scrum half drifted wide. Instead, the Chiefs took the lead with a Tom Whelan penalty.

A few minutes later, a high tackle by the Penryn number 4 made him the first of five yellow cards in the game The Chiefs capitalised on the extra man with a fine try. Sam Richardson bust through the middle to open up the field. He exchanged passes with James Robinson before Ben Turner arrived on the inside to finish the move off. Whelan added the conversion.

Twice the Chiefs worked their way to lineouts inside the home 22, but on each occasion the wind blew the throw off course and possession was lost. Ten points was the minimum lead required to defend against the wind, and that margin was reduced to three when Penryn worked their way into the Sidmouth 22. The Chiefs successfully defended a lineout then a scrum, but, when they lost a scrum against the head, the Penryn scrum half broke and linked with his number 8, who crashed over. The scrum half added the conversion.

On the stroke of half time the Chiefs had an opportunity to increase their lead with a move started by a Tom Whelan break. First Barney Goss, then James Robinson were stopped a couple of metres short. A penalty enabled Penryn to clear up field leaving the score 10-7 at the break.

The Chiefs started the second half well, keeping the ball in hand and driving through the forwards. However, they twice lost patience and kicked the ball away. Once Penryn had worked their way into the Sidmouth 22, they stayed and built up the pressure. The defence was well organised and determined. James Robinson and Tom Whelan made try-saving tackles, but eventually the number six picked up, as the Chiefs ran out of defenders, and dived over to give his side the lead. The try was converted.

Another wayward kick gave the Penryn backs a chance to counterattack and it took a fine tackle by Jamie Wardrop to stop the full back with the line at his mercy.

With ten minutes to go, Ollie Pyne was yellow carded for persistent infringements. The scrum half kicked the resulting penalty to open up a seven point margin.

The Chiefs showed their now-familiar resilience and worked their way into the Penryn 22. The forwards hammered away at the line and twice they opened up to the backs, but they could not turn half chances into scores. Just as they looked certain to be earning a bonus point, the ball was kicked away and soon the Chiefs were desperately defending their own line. A fine tackle by replacement winger Sam Cummins prevented a try and saved the bonus point for his side.

The Sidmouth Hotels man of the match was James Robinson.