TIVERTON 1st XV  29  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  43


The Chiefs got their league promotion challenge back on track with this bonus point win in an action-packed game against fifth placed Tiverton at Coronation Field.


In perfect conditions, the Chiefs made a blistering start to go 17 points up in the opening 12 minutes before Tiverton, with the slope and breeze in their favour, made a spirited come back to narrow the gap to seven points at the interval. The second half followed a similar pattern as the home side got a deserved bonus point in the closing minutes.


The Chiefs opened the scoring in the second minute with a combination of vision, luck and opportunism. With play on the grandstand side of the field, Rory O’Brien kick diagonally to the open space on the far side. The ball bounced away from the nearest covering player and O’Brien followed up to hack the ball on before regathering it and sending Luke Wells-Burr sprinting in at the right corner. O’Brien kicked the conversion from wide out.


Five minutes later, Luke Wells-Burr scored again after Josh Bess and Cameron Grainger had combined on the blindside of a five-metre scrum to create the space. The try was unconverted.


Wells-Burr was in action again, when he followed up his own kick ahead to regather and race deep into Tiverton territory. Quick recycling and a strong burst from Tom Seward kept the move going before James Powell exploited a gap on the left to sprint over for another unconverted try.


Two minutes later the Tiverton outside centre made a clean break and it took a combination of Rory O’Brien and Tom Hodge to bring him down. However, the Chiefs were penalised at the resulting ruck and Tiverton opted to kick for a lineout in the corner. The Chiefs held the attempted catch-and-drive, but the Tiverton forwards set up a series of pick and go plays for the number seven to find a gap and sprint over. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.


The Chiefs continued to stretch the home defence with good handling moves and, when they won the ball at a Tiverton lineout on halfway, they created space for James Powell break clear. He drew the full back and timed his pass perfectly to send Ethan Mead over in the left corner.


With the Chiefs conceding a series of penalties, Tiverton took control in the final ten minutes of the half. A penalty kicked by the full back reduced the arrears before a try in injury time put them well in touch at the break. The number eight broke from a five-metre scrum to set up a series of rucks close to the line for a forward to drive over. The try was converted leaving the Chiefs 22-15 ahead.


The Chiefs started the second half strongly and soon extended their lead when Tom Hodge broke through from a scrum 30 metres out. James Powell was in support to touch down under the posts. Rory O’Brien converted.


When Josh Bess showed his cricketing skills to field a box kick under extreme pressure, he started a handling move going left. Rory O’Brien made the initial break and James Powell cantered over to complete his hattrick. The try was converted.


Ethan Mead did well to cover back and gather the ball from a kick ahead. He stayed on his feet long enough for support to arrive and clear the danger.


When the ball was turned over in a tackle midway through the half, Peli Vea received the ball in space and set off on a 40-metre run to the line leaving three would-be tacklers in his wake. Rory O’Brien made it three conversions out of three in the half.


With the Chiefs again conceding frequent penalties and losing Mark Unsworth to the sin bin, Tiverton took control in the final quarter. Harry Chesterton made a try saving tackle, when the Tiverton backs had combined well to open up the defence. However, the home side scored two more tries from lineouts close to the line. The first from a driving maul and the second from a well-executed move around the back. Both were converted.


The Sidmouth Dukes man-of-the-match award went to hooker Ollie Derryman, who made ground ever time he had the ball.




SIDMOUTH 1st XV  21  v  ST AUSTELL 1st XV  23


The Chiefs suffered their first league defeat of the season in a close fought game against second placed St Austell despite controlling territory for much of the game. While Sidmouth uncharacteristically failed to turn pressure into points, the visitors showed the virtue of stubbornly staying in touch and taking your chances when they come despite playing 25 minutes with 14 men.


In perfect conditions and in front of a good crowd, St Austell kicked off and applied early pressure, but the Chiefs broke out to open the scoring with their first sniff of possession. With some slick inter-passing, they broke out of their own half. Quick recycling kept up the momentum until Tom Seward dived over on the blindside of a ruck near the line. The try was unconverted.


The Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage but were unable to turn the pressure into points. Meanwhile St Austell reduced the arrears with a long-range penalty kicked by the full back.


In response, strong running by Ollie Derryman and Tom Seward initiated a handling move stopped just short of the line, where the chiefs were penalised for an offence at a ruck and St Austell cleared upfield.


The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and the St Austell number 8 was yellow carded for handling in a ruck near his line. Rory O’Brien converted the resulting penalty.


From the restart kick, the Chiefs initiated a fine handling move to take play back into the opposing 22. In a fit of hubris, which they might reflect on with regret, they opted to tap and run two very kickable penalties before adding a second try in injury time. Luke Wells-Burr fielded a kick and started a counterattack from his own 22. The ball was progressed through several phases until Peli Vea produced a powerful run, which was stopped just short of the line. Ollie Pyne was on hand to drive over from the base of the resulting ruck. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the halftime score at 13-3.


Two minutes after the restart, the game took on a different complexion when the St Austell left winger intercepted a loose pass and sprinted clear to touch down under the posts. The full back added the conversion.


It looked as if the Chiefs would restore a ten-point lead when James Powell made a splendid break from half way with plenty of support, however, he opted to go alone and was tackled just short of the line. The Chiefs were still in a strong position, but a second interception saw the scrum half sprinting upfield. Fortunately, Ethan Mead covered well to make an important tackle.


This sudden change of fortune inspired the visitors to their only sustained attack of the game, which they finished off with a crucial score. As a good handling move was being cut off by the Sidmouth cover, the left winger kicked ahead over the line and seemed to win the chase for the ball. However, the referee awarded a five-metre scrum instead of the expected try. It mattered not as the St Austell forwards set up a series of pick and drives ending in an unconverted try.


Rory O’Brien restored the lead with a penalty only for it to be cancelled out by a similar effort by the St Austell full back.


When another St Austell forward was yellow carded, the Chiefs took advantage with a try by Tom Hodge on the end of a handling move after Peli Vea and Tom Seward had punched holes in the defence. The try was unconverted.

The Chiefs were pressing inside the opposing 22, when a well-known quote from Oscar Wilde came to mind as the St Austell fly half made the third interception of the afternoon and sprinted clear for what would be the match-winning score.


Despite St Austell losing a third player to the sin bin for the last five minutes, the Chiefs could not retrieve the situation.    





PAIGNTON 1st XV  18  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  34


The Chiefs have reached the halfway stage of the league competition with an eleven-point lead over nearest rivals St Austell, who suffered a single point defeat at Kingsbridge, thanks to a bonus point win against old rivals Paignton.


At the start of the season most teams would have feared the Sidmouth backs on dry grounds but fancy their chances in more wintery conditions. However, thus was the third time the Chiefs have won in the rain and mud. And in this case a strong breeze straight down the pitch was another factor.


Paignton kicked off with the wind at their back, but it was the Chiefs who were quickest out of the blocks. Luke Wells-Burr broke out of his own 22 to set up a handling move taking play into the home 22, where the forwards took the ball through several phases until they were awarded a penalty. Rory O’Brien kicked the three points to open the scoring.


The Paignton fly half’s accurate kicking was their best weapon and he used it to good affect with a long punt for a lineout near the Sidmouth line. The Chiefs failed to secure possession and a Paignton forward latched on to the loose ball to dive over for an unconverted try.


Five minutes later the Chiefs regained the lead with an excellent team try. The forwards won a lineout on halfway to set up a maul, which they drove 30 metres into the Paignton 22. When the ball was released to the backs, Luke Wells- Burr joined the line to take an inside pass and cut through to set up a try for Cameron Grainger. Rory O’Brien added the conversion.


Using the wind to good advantage, Paignton enjoyed territorial advantage for much of the remainder of the half. They regained the lead with another opportunist try. A grubber kick by the fly half rebounded off a defender into the path of the left winger, who followed up to touch down in the left corner. The fly half converted to put his side in front once again.


The fly half added a penalty to give his side a 15-10 lead at halftime.


The Chiefs started the second half in the best possible way, when they regained possession straight from the kick off. They progressed the ball through many phases with powerful breaks by Tom Hodge and Tom Seward making dents in the defence. The finishing touch was applied by James Powell exploiting a gap from ten metres out. Rory O’Brien converted to retake the lead and added a penalty a few minutes later.


The Chiefs were soon back on the attack, defying the conditions with good handling and support play. George Jarman was held up over the line after another strong break by Tom Hodge had created the position. From the resulting five metre scrum, James Powell was stopped just short of the line and Peli Vea was on hand to pick up and dive over for another converted try.


Paignton came back strongly in the middle of the half to give the Sidmouth defence a thorough workout. They could not find a way through but eventually cut the deficit with a penalty.


The Chiefs regained control in the closing minutes. Rory O’Brien crossed in the corner after a good handling move but had put a foot in touch.


The bonus-point fourth try eventually came in injury time when Haydon Down was driven over by his fellow forwards after period of pressure on the line. Rory O’Brien’s conversion completed the scoring.    







A big holiday crowd at the Blackmore Field saw the Chiefs just manage to extend their unbeaten record to four months in this traditional Boxing day fixture.


In an entertaining game, played in good spirit, two late tries and a last minute let off gave the Chiefs a narrow victory against a President’s team, which had enjoyed a good share of possession and territory.


Unusually for a scratch side, the President’s XV made the better start as most of the first ten minutes were spent in the Sidmouth half including a five-minute siege on the goal line. The Chiefs showed characteristic defensive resolve until a handling error enabled them to clear the danger.


However, the relief was short lived. A loose kick gave the President’s XV an opportunity to start a move, which ended with Aaron Bagwell sprinting 40 metres to touch down under the posts. Sam Cavin added the conversion.


The Chiefs began to find some attacking cohesion and eventually opened their account with an opportunist score. Cameron Grainger latched on to a loose ball at the back of a lineout just inside the opposing 22. He was stopped just short of the line and Haydon Down drove over from the resulting ruck. The try was unconverted.


James Powell was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on but, despite the disadvantage to an already depleted back line, the Chiefs took the lead when Peli Vea broke through two tackles on a run from halfway into the 22. Rory O’Brien was on hand to finish the move off but could not add the extra two points.


O’Brien was in action again at the other end as he just won the race for a kick ahead to make the ball safe in his own in goal area. The score remained 10-7 at half time.


The President’s XV started the second half as they had the first, but their attacking endeavour could not break down the Sidmouth defence. Instead it was the Chiefs who extended their lead thanks to a Rory O’Brien break. This time it was he who provided the scoring pass to Peli Vea. He also added the conversion.


Three tries in ten minutes through the middle of the half seemed to give control to the President’s XV. A Sam Cavin break created a try for Ben Logan, which was converted by Cavin. Strong running by Ollie Rice and Tristan Beavis followed by slick handling sent Jack Webber sprinting over in the left corner. Webber turned provider, when he snapped up a loose ball in his own half to sprint upfield. Aaron Bagwell was in support to finish the move off. Sam Cavin converted to open up a nine-point lead.


With five minutes to play, the Chiefs narrowed the deficit with a well-worked move from a scrum to create an overlap for Jake Watts to race over in the left corner.


From the restart kick, James Powell broke out of his 22 up the left touchline. Rory O’Brien carried the move on into the 22 before Cameron Grainger finished it off. Both tries were unconverted.


The President’s produced a splendid handling move to create a big overlap on the right for a potential match-winning score, but the final pass was forward. The final whistle followed immediately.            




SIDMOUTH 1st XV  57  v  KINGSBRIDGE 1st XV  10


A 32-point contribution from Rory O’Brien was the icing on the cake of a splendid team performance, which was anything but cut and dry midway through the second half, with the visitors camped on the Sidmouth line.


This was an excellent game of rugby in which both sides showed great skill and ambition on a slippery surface. Once again, a superbly marshalled defence, the ability wear sides down and take opportunities when they present themselves produced a score-line which did not reflect the contribution of the opposition.   


The Chiefs went straight onto the attack from the kick off and were soon rewarded with a Rory O’Brien penalty. O’Brien was in the action again a few minutes later, when he intercepted on halfway and sprinted clear for a try, which he also converted.


Kingsbridge opened their account with a penalty kicked by the full back after they had tested the Sidmouth defence for several minutes.


The Chiefs extended their lead midway through the half with a fine handling move finished off by replacement Johnny Hamill. Rory O’Brien added the conversion.


Sidmouth continued to dominate play to score a third try after the ball had been progressed through many phases stretching the defence. Aaron Down dived over from a ruck near the line. The try was unconverted.


Much of the remainder of the half was played in Sidmouth territory but Kingsbridge could not add to their score and halftime arrived with Sidmouth leading 22-3.


Kingsbridge started the second half as they had finished the first and this time they were rewarded with a try. A powerful maul from a lineout sucked in defenders and quick handling exploited an overlap for the left winger to score in the corner. The outside centre converted from the touchline.


The visitors were soon back on the attack and pressed hard in the Sidmouth 22 for the next ten minutes but could not find a way through the well-marshalled home defence. Had they scored, the game could have had a very different outcome. However, eventually an error enabled the Chiefs to clear the ball upfield and force a lineout just inside the Kingsbridge half. The lineout was won, and George Locke broke through in the centre. He drew the full back before sending Rory O’Brien sprinting in under the posts leaving a routine conversion.


This seemed to weaken the Kingsbridge resolve and four tries followed in the closing ten minutes.


Rory O’Brien completed his hattrick on the end of a counterattack from a loose clearance kick. Cameron Grainger finished off an intricate handling move down the left started inside the Sidmouth 22. Johnny Hamill scored his second try after a Sam Meadham break had initiated another handling move. And, when Josh Bess peeled away from a maul on halfway to sprint into the 22, George Jarman was on hand to put the finishing touch. All four tries were converted with the last on being followed by the final whistle.