Chiefs lose to Bridgwater pack power

SIDMOUTH !st XV  10pts  v  BRIDGWATER & ALBION 1st XV  27pts

The Chiefs produced a spirited second half fight back, but eventually succumed to Bridgwater pack power. Bridgwater had much the better of the first half, but some fine Sidmouth defence, in which Jevon Astley-Jones was rock solid at full back, limited them to a 13 point lead at the break. The Chiefs reduced the lead to just three points in the third quarter, but the visitor's powerful pack regained control to gain a bonus point victory.

Sidmouth had the first meaningful attack of the game, when Harry Chesterton made a break through the centre in the opening minutes but he could not find a way to link with his support. Bridgwater gradually took control through their superior scrum and scored the opening try when their number eight got the touchdown for a pushover try. The conversion was missed, but a few minutes later the fly half was successful with a penalty kick.

The Chiefs were forced to defend as they were pinned inside their own 22 for long periods. They did so with much determination and kept their line intact until the number six dived over in the left corner in the 35th minute for an unconverted try. Then, in injury time, the Chiefs forwards did well to resist another scrum pushover attempt.

The Chiefs started the second half well and early pressure was rewared with a Dan Retter penalty. Soon after, Retter was in support of a Harry Chesterton break before the ball was worked to Ben Dobson on the right wing. He ran strongly but was eventually brought down a few metres short of the line.

When Josh Bess secured possession at a lineout inside the Bridgwater 22, the forwards set up a maul and drove to the line, but were unable to ground the ball. However, they kept up the pressure and Dan Retter almost scored from a quick tap penalty. Instead they were awarded a five metre scrum. Josh Bess broke from the base and, when he was stopped, Rhys Thomas was on hand to take the ball and dive over the line. Dan Retter added the conversion.

The visitors pack reasserted their authority and, once again, the Chiefs were desperatly defending their line. They did well to resist a driving maul, and a series of five metre scrums, until the referee decided they had done so illegally and awarded a penalty try, which was converted.

In injury time, the Bridgwater number six found space on the blindside when his side turned over possession at a ruck just outside the Sidmouth 22. He sprinted clear for the bonus point fourth try. The conversion was soon followed by the final whistle.