OLD REDCLIFFIANS 1st XV 69 v SIDMOUTH 1st XV 3
Injury-hit Chiefs were unfortunate to meet the Old Redcliffians on top form. An extensive injury list and work commitments forced ten changes from the side which beat Thornbury the previous week. Despite the disruption, a full strength team would have been hard-pressed against the ruthlessly efficient league leaders.
Few of the eleven tries were conceded easily as the Sidmouth players covered and tackled with great determination. They simply ran out of defenders under relentless pressure. The home side’s close support play, ability to offload in the tackle and quick recycling at the breakdown was outstanding. And on the occasions the Chiefs produced good moves of their own, they met a defence determined to give nothing away.
Playing down the slope, the Chiefs started brightly enough, pushing Old Reds back into their own half and forcing a couple of mistakes. But, when the outside centre made a clean break from halfway to create the opening try for the left winger, the potential danger was clear. The full back kicked the first of seven conversions from the touchline.
The scrum half scored the second try a few minutes later after a period of intense pressure inside the Sidmouth 22. Then the Chiefs showed their attacking potential when Zac Bess made a fine break before linking with Ben Dobson to take play deep into the Old Reds 22, but a penalty ended the move.
In the middle of the half Old Reds added two tries from accurate handling and quick recycling and then a fifth from a pushover of a five metre scrum. The Chiefs then had their best period of the half, keeping pressure in the opposing 22. The forwards, with James Perry to the fore, drove strongly before Jason Luff came close to scoring from a quick tap penalty. They were eventually rewarded with a Dan Retter penalty.
Old Reds finished the half strongly and the left winger went over for his second try in injury time to make the half time score 3-38.
Old Reds took their score over the 50 mark with two tries in quick succession after the break, before Alva Senderayi broke out of his own 22 with a powerful run to put his side on the offensive for a brief spell.
With the slope in their favour, Old Reds were soon back on the attack and added three more tries. Despite the scoreline, the Chiefs heads never dropped and they finished the game strongly. Half time replacement Jonny Hamill was influential at scrum half, with some probing runs and quick service to his backs. An excellent handling move sent Zac Bess sprinting for the corner but he was brought down a metre short of a deserved consolation try.
SIDMOUTH 1st XV 43 v THORNBURY 1st XV 26
For 55 minutes Thornbury were the better side in this entertaining contest. However, for the first 25 minutes the Chiefs were rampant, notching up 35 unanswered points to provide an unassailable lead before their defence got a severe testing. In the end they had to be thankful for some fine goal-kicking and a couple of important try-saving tackles.
In the third minute a Thornbury player dropped the ball and Alva Senderayi hacked on from his own 10 metre line and followed up to gather the ball and dive over in the left corner. Glenn Channing converted from the touchline.
Senderayi was in the action again minutes later, when he took a quick tap penalty and sent Jason luff on a jinking run. He was brought down just short of the line and, when the ball was quickly recycled, Jack Pyne powered his way over for try number two. Dan Retter added the conversion.
On the quarter hour Dan Trim latched onto the rebound from a charged down kick and burst deep into the Thorbury 22, where Glenn Channing exploited the unmarked blindside of a ruck to dive over in the right corner. Dan Retter converted from a narrow angle.
The bonus point fourth try came minutes later, when Tristan Beavis sprinted through a gap in the centre to touch down under the post, giving Retter and easy conversion kick.
Jack Pyne scored his second try when he peeled off from a lineout maul and left three defenders in his wake. Dan Retter made it four successful kicks out of four.
Thornbury eventually shook off the journey to dominate the closing minutes of the half and score two converted tries. Following quick possession from a lineout inside the Sidmouth 22, the left winger took an inside pass to wrong foot the defence and score near the posts. Then, in injury time, they were awarded a penalty try following a five metre scrum to make the halftime score 35-14.
The visitors were back on the attack straight from the restart kick, but the Chiefs turned over possession at a ruck near their own line and James Perry burst up field to put his side on the attack. After some good approach work by the forwards, the ball was released to the backs. Jason Luff joined the line to make ground before timing his pass perfectly to send Ben Dobson in at the right corner. Dan Retter narrowly missed the conversion, but minutes later kicked a penalty.
Any thoughts that Thornbury would cave in were quickly dispelled when they scored a converted try from a fine handling move following a quick tap penalty.
With half an hour still to play, the result was far from settled as Thornbury pilled the pressure on in the Sidmouth 22. The fly half looked certain to score near the posts when he broke clear with just Scott Davies between him and the line. The replacement full back brought off a superb tackle to prevent a certain seven points. Minutes later the lively scrum half was held up over the line.
Eventually, with five minutes to go, the pressure was rewarded when a long pass gave the outside centre space to go over for an unconverted try. The Chiefs played out the remaining time comfortably for an important win.
Three well executed tries were enough to earn Sidmouth four league points and their second away win of the season. Playing up the slope in the first half Sidmouth's man to man marking let them down on occasions, allowing Oldfield to score two tries for 12-0 lead. Sidmouth replied with a Tom Whelan penalty and then on the stroke of half-time produced an excellent try. Jack Pyne ripped the ball away from the opposition in his own twenty-two and sent brother Ollie on a powerful run up the left hand touch line'supported by Chris Higgs. The ball was moved in-field where skipper Alan Hubbleday committed the midfield defence, creating enough space outside for Glen Channing to dummy his way through and show enough acceleration to take him the remaining 40 metres to the line. Whelan converted for a half-time score of 12-10 in favour of Oldfield.
Eleven minutes into the second half Sidmouth took the lead from a set-piece line-out move.Channing and Dwight Pansegrouw combined powerfully in the centre to make the initial break and second row Chris Courtier showed impressive mobility to be on hand to complete the touch down. As the game progressed Sidmouth's front row of Matt Lovesey, James Perry and Hubbleday began to dominate their opposite numbers and when they secured a strike against the head centre Jason Luff was quick to exploit a gap in the Oldfield defence, taking play to within 5 metres of the try line.After a couple of rucks Jack Pyne was on hand to blast his way over from short range. Whelan converted for a comfortable ten point lead.There was still time for Oldfield to respond with a converted try of their own but when they turned down a kickable penalty in an attempt to score another try the Sidmouth forwards secured possession and the ball was kicked deep down field. In the ensuing scramble Oldfield were penalised and Tom Whelan converted for a final score of 25-19 to Sidmouth. The Man of the Match Award went to Glen Channing.
Next week the Chiefs travel to Bridgewater for a re-arranged league game.
Bridgwater & Albion 15 Sidmouth 6
Missing some key forwards,Sidmouth struggled to cope with a robust Bridgwater team who have shown steady improvement over the course of the season.With the slight slope and breeze in their favour, Bridgwater's tactics were straight forward-kick to the corners and follow up with a catch and drive from the line-out. This kept Sidmouth pinned in their twenty-two for long periods and it was only good tackling, in which Dwight Pansegrouw was prominent,that restricted Bridgwater to two tries.A penalty and conversion for the home team and a solitary penalty by Tom Whelan for Sidmouth, produced a half-time score of 15-3 in favour of Bridgwater.
With the benefit of the elements in the second half Sidmouth enjoyed greater territorial advantage. Strong runs by Ollie Pyne,Ben Salter and Glen Channing produced half chances but the home defence were just strong enough to deny Sidmouth a try. Sidmouth turned down a couple of easily kickable penalties in a determined effort to cross the try-line and this probably cost them a losing bonus point but there was no denying that Bridgwater were worth the victory.
SIDMOUTH 1st XV 43 v PAIGNTON 1st XV 0
The Chiefs have had a number of disappointing performances this season, but when they have been good, they have been very good, and on Saturday against bogy team Paignton they were excellent. They defied the muddy conditions to score some top class tries playing skilful fifteen man rugby.
The first score came after just two minutes, when Dukes man-of-the-match Glenn Channing fielded a clearance kick inside his own half and started a handling move, which went to the left and then right before Alva Senderayi applied the finishing touch. Tom Whelan added the conversion.
Channing scored the second try after 15 minutes. Ollie Pyne made the running with a typical surging burst before setting up a ruck deep inside the Paignton 22. When the ball was recycled, the inside centre ran a good angle to wrong-foot the defence and cross near the posts. Again Whelan converted.
Straight from the restart kick Jack Pyne and Alva Senderayi combined with powerful runs to put the Chiefs back on the attack. Ollie Pyne broke from the back of a lineout before Glenn Channing made a half break to set up Tom Whelan for a try, which he converted.
When the Chiefs turned over possession just inside their own half, the Pyne brothers combined up the blindside before the ball was switched to the backs. Quick, accurate handling put Chris Higgs in space and he outpaced the cover to touchdown the bonus point fourth try. Tom Whelan made it four out of four conversions.
Paignton, who had been inactive for a month due to the weather, eventually shook off the rust and for 15 minutes either side of halftime they competed strongly, but rarely threatened the Sidmouth line.
As the game progressed, the pitch began to resemble a paddy field, making constructive rugby difficult. With the Chiefs pack gaining the upper hand, they finished strongly. Midway through the half Tom Whelan dummied his way over from a ruck near the line after a period of sustained pressure. The try was unconverted. Then, with ten minute to go, a Paignton knock on went straight into the hands of Ollie Pyne. The number eight shrugged off three would be tacklers on his way to the line. Tom Whelan kicked the conversion and a late penalty to complete the scoring.
The win lifts the Chiefs into the top half of the table and ten points clear of the relegation zone.