Chiefs home winning start against Coney Hill

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  19pts  v  CONEY HILL 1st XV  10pts 

The Chiefs made a winning start at the Blackmore against league newcomers Coney Hill, but will be disappointed at failing to finish off promising moves, which might have earned a try bonus point.

In contrast to the previous week, the forwards produced a good supply of ball from the set pieces. The backs showed many glimpses of individual enterprise, but rarely gelled as a unit.

The Chiefs took an early lead thanks to a Dan Retter penalty and continued to keep play mainly in the Coney Hill half without really threatening a breakthrough. They were eventually rewarded with a try, which had a touch of good fortune about it. Dan Retter placed a diagonal kick accurately between the full back and winger. James Powell followed up quickly to benefit from a good bounce and his well-timed pass sent Harry Chesterton in for the score, which was unconverted.

As the half progressed, Coney Hill put together some promising moves but could not find a way through or around the well-organised Sidmouth defence. Nor were they able to apply any sustained pressure in the home 22. The Chiefs eventually increased their lead with a sparkling try. A quick tap penalty near halfway caught the defence off-guard and quick handling found James Powell in space on the left. The outside centre still had plenty to do and handed off two covering defenders on his way to the line. The try was unconverted and the score remained 13-0 at half time.

The Chiefs seemed to have started the second half in spectacular style when Josh Bess fielded the restart kick and started a handling move, which ended with Harry Chesterton touching down near the posts. Unfortunately there had been a foot in touch and play was recalled for a lineout.

This seemed to deflate the Chiefs and Coney Hill took advantage to dominate the third quarter. Sidmouth defended solidly for a long period, but the pressure eventually told when the Coney Hill number four drove over from a tap penalty move near the line. The try was converted by the full back.

The Chiefs responded well and a break by Dan Retter opened up the defence in the visitors 22, but unfortunately a Coney Hill hand deflected what might have been a scoring pass. However, play remained in the Coney Hill half and the forwards took a lineout catch-and-drive to the line, where the referee judge it was stopped illegally and Dan Retter kicked the three points.

The Coney Hill full back kicked a penalty to put his side within a converted try of a win as the game entered its final minutes. Then, in injury time, another Retter penalty put the result beyond doubt.

Dukes man-of-the-match was James Powell. Other notable performances came from Sam Sowden and Andrew Dare, who made a lot of hard yards around the fringes, while Josh Bess had a fine game in the lineouts and controlled things well at the base of the scrums.