Chiefs battle to losing bonus point against Wadebridge

            SIDMOUTH 1st XV  16pts  v  WADEBRIDGE CAMELS 1st XV  23pts


Despite having to make five changes to the starting line-up, the Chiefs continued their incremental improvement in performance and gained a second bonus point in the process.


Wadebridge kicked off with a stiff breeze drifting the ball towards the hospital touchline. The Chiefs failed to secure the ball allowing the visitors to go on the offensive. The Chiefs were forced to defend vigorously for the next five minutes, until a penalty enabled them to lift the siege. But the relief was only temporary. Wadebridge were soon back on the attack. After another five minutes of pressure their influential number eight drove forward following a quick tap penalty and the left winger was in support to dive over in the corner. The try was unconverted.


 Wadebridge continued to dominate proceedings until they added a second try midway through the half. This time the hooker finished things off when the Chiefs eventually ran out of defenders following a series of ruck near the line. The fly half added the conversion.


Dan Retter eventually got the scoreboard moving for his side after a fine break by James Powell had created the attacking position.


Minutes later the Chiefs showed that they too could retain possession through many phases. Good approach work by backs and forwards created space on the right to give Tom Huggett a run. From just outside the 22, the flanker-turned-prop burst through two tackles to score an unconverted try.


When the Chiefs failed to control the ball at the back of a scrum inside their own 22, Wadebridge turned over possession and good handling created space for the left winger to score his second try.  


In the final minute of the half, the Chiefs reduced the arrears to four points once again. Nick Mills peeled off on the blind side of a driving maul and found Steve Trim in support to sprint over in the right corner.


With the Chiefs struggling to secure their own lineout ball, and Wadebridge controlling the ball well in contact, play was confined to the Sidmouth half for much of the third quarter. A spirited defence kept the line intact, but two penalties extended the lead.


The Chiefs eventually broke out and a well-placed kick into the box by Steve Trim forced the full back to concede a five metre scrum. They chose to attack a narrow blindside and were easily forced into touch. However, they maintained the attacking position and were eventually rewarded with a Dan Retter penalty to put them back within seven points and a bonus point.


Wadebridge dominated the closing stages but the Chiefs resisted a series of forward drives. With less than two minutes to play, a man-and-ball try-saving cover tackle by Steve Trim denied the visitors a four try bonus point while securing one for his own team.


The Dukes man-of-the-match award went to Gavin Pearson for a high tackle count, which typified the Sidmouth defensive effort.   


So, progress made but a settled side and more composure at critical times might have produced victory rather than honourable defeat. Guts and determination will only get you so far at this level.