Chiefs tame exit from Devon Senior Cup

SIDMOUTH 1st XV 12 v BARNSTAPLE 1st XV 41 

The gulf between the South West league and National Three was shown by this comfortable win, which sees Barnstaple progress to the final of the Devon Senior Cup.

On a wet, slippery surface, on which mistakes were inevitable, Barnstaple made fewer and, crucially dominated the scrums. They opted to play with the stiff breeze at their backs in the first half and, with a monopoly of possession, kept the Chiefs pinned inside their own half for much of the time.

The visitors looked certain to open the scoring after eight minutes, when they created an overlap for the right winger, but a superb last ditch tackle by Ben Dobson denied him. However, they maintained the attacking position to earn a five metre scrum. After four resets the referee lost patience with the Sidmouth front row and awarded a penalty try and a yellow card to James Perry. The try was converted.

Barnstaple used their extra man to good effect, when they ran back a wayward clearance kick to create a try for the outside centre.

The Chiefs showed some defensive heroics with Sam Meadham tackling man and ball to stifle a two man overlap, and James Powell falling on the ball under his own posts to clear up a dangerous kick ahead. However they could not prevent two more tries. The right winger profited from a break by the number seven and the full back finished off a move following a turnover at a ruck just outside the Sidmouth 22.

Showing commendable spirit, the Chiefs had their best spell at the end of the half to keep the ball through many phases as they pressed on the Barum line. Tom Whelan and Sam Meadham both went close before Matt Farrington provided the scoring pass to Jack Pyne. The try was unconverted making the halftime score 5-22.

Despite now playing into the breeze, the Barnstaple pack dominated proceedings to keep play in the Sidmouth half. After five minutes they mauled their way over for their fifth try.

The Chiefs produced a good handling move to take play into the opposing 22, but could not sustain the position. Following a number of scrums near the Sidmouth line, during which  Matt Lovesy was yellow carded, Barnstaple eventually scored a pushover try, which was converted.

The Chiefs managed to work their way into an attacking position and this time scored a well-deserved second try. Matt Farrington followed up a Dan Retter chip ahead to profit from a bounce off the post to pick up and dive over. Tom Whelan kicked the conversion.

Barnstaple added a seventh try in injury time, when the right winger won the chase for a diagonal kick. The conversion was the final decisive act of the game.