Chiefs run league leaders close

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  14pts  v  CLEVE 1st XV  20pts


The Chiefs recent improved form was confirmed as they earned a bonus point against league leaders Cleve. However, both sides will be disappointed by a scrappy game in which neither could sustain the continuity required to create scoring opportunities. The need for uncontested scrums for much of the second half did not add to the spectacle.


Cleve were gifted an early try, when the Sidmouth defence went awol. The full back fielded a clearance kick inside his own half and linked with the fly half, who ran 60 metres unopposed to touch down in the left corner. The full back added the conversion.


The visitors were soon back on the attack and the Chiefs forwards did well to resist two attempted lineout catch-and-drive attempts. But the pressure was eventually rewarded when the full back kicked a penalty.


The Chiefs hit back against the run of play, when Jack Pyne turned over possession in a maul on halfway and peeled away to link with the backs. Slick handling sent Dan Colson sprinting over in the right corner for an unconverted try.


Sidmouth enjoyed territorial advantage in the second quarter, with the back row of Pyne, Dwight Pansegrouw and Josh Bess prominent in defence and attack around the fringes. Meanwhile Harry Chesterton and Rory O’Brien shored up the defence in midfield , while also testing the Cleve defence. James Powell and Tom Seward produced some promising counter-attacking runs. As a result, two Dan Retter penalties gave his side an 11-10 half time lead.


With Mark Unsworth having departed with a leg injury early in the first half, he was followed by Ben Halford with a head injury soon after the restart, necessitating uncontested scrums. The Chiefs were further disrupted when Dwight Pansegrouw was yellow carded.


Cleve took full advantage of the extra man by scoring ten unanswered points through a penalty by the full back and a somewhat fortuitous try. A loose Sidmouth pass near their 22 hit the fly half’s knee and riccoched towards the goal line. He followed up to gather and touch down unopposed. The try was converted.


The visitors continued to keep the upper hand until a good move by the Sidmouth backs took play into the opposing 22, where Dan Retter kicked a third penalty.


The Chiefs finished the game strongly but could not add to their score and had to be content with a losing bonus point.