CHIEFS WIN THRILLER AT ST AUSTELL

ST AUSTELL 1st XV  22  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  23

 

The Chiefs achieved their first ever win at Tregorrick Park in a thrilling finale to open their league campaign.

 

Despite last minute enforced changes to the line-up, the Chiefs made a bright start. They regained possession from their own kick off and advanced the ball through several phases. Under pressure, St Austell conceded a penalty and Dan Retter kicked the three-pointer.

 

Sidmouth continued to hold the upper hand for much of the first half thanks to a well-organised and aggressive defence. Frequently the home side were harried into mistakes or forced to kick under pressure.

 

The Chiefs soon increased their lead with a fine try. The play was initiated by scrum half Josh Ledger, playing his first league game. He broke over the gain line with close support from his forwards. The ball was advanced through a series of quick rucks, which had the defence retreating and on the back foot. Eventually Tom Seward broke through a gap into the 22. He was eventually tackled just short of the line but fellow flanker Dan Rugg was on hand to pick up and dive over for an unconverted try.

 

Dan Retter kicked a second penalty on the half hour after more good driving play by the forwards.

 

St Austell regained possession from the restart kick to initiate their first sustained period of pressure. The Chiefs defended well for a long period but St Austell eventually scored when a forward peeled off on the blindside of a driving maul to dive over in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful leaving the score at 11-5 at half time.

 

From the kick off, St Austell again regained possession and a couple of missed tackles enabled them to set up camp on the Sidmouth line until a forward forced his over from close range. Again, the try was unconverted.

 

The bigger home forwards were gaining the upper hand as the Chiefs began to tire and miss too many first-up tackles. They eventually took the lead, when the inside centre found a gap following a ruck near the line to touch down for an unconverted try.

 

A few minutes later, the Chiefs dropped the ball and it was hacked on over the line but Luke Wells-Burr won the chase to make the ball safe.

 

A yellow card offence reduced the home side to 14 men but, despite the disadvantage, they increased their lead with a fine handling move and good offloading in the tackle starting from their own 22. The right winger sprinted in from 30 metres to apply the finishing touch under the posts.

 

The conversion opened up an 11-point lead and St Austell had the momentum going into the final ten minutes but the Chiefs got themselves back in the game with a splendid try against the run of play.

 

St Austell were attacking strongly, when they dropped the ball on the Sidmouth 22. The loose ball was snapped up and three quick passes found Ethan Mead in space on the left. The young winger, making his league debut, set off on 70 metre run down the touchline to outpace the cover defence for a try converted by Dan Retter.

 

The Chiefs were still living off scraps but were determined to run at every opportunity. A promising move going right just outside their own 22 was snuffed out but, when the ball was quickly recycled and switched to the left, Rory O’Brien spotted a forward marking him and outpaced him on the outside. He timed his pass perfectly to put Ethan Mead in space. Once again, he had too much pace for the cover defence and sprinted in from halfway to put his side in front. Dan Retter’s conversion attempt drifted wide but was followed by the final whistle.