Match Reports


Heavy rain an hour before the kick-off severely reduced the chances of flowing rugby. On a semi-aquatic surface running was difficult and the wet ball eluded the grasp. Sidmouth had the consolation of scoring the only try of the game when the Paignton fullback fielded Dan Retter's kick but omitted to call the mark. George Locke's tackle flattened him and Rory O'Brien was on hand to gather the loose ball and dive over. Retter converted to give Sidmouth a 7-0 lead in the twelth minute. Paignton quickly established that the Sidmouth scrum was weak to non-existent and used this as a platform to control the game for long periods and to force Sidmouth into conceding penalties,two of which they converted. The half finished with Sidmouth pressing strongly. A strong run out of defence by Ethan Mead was carried on by Luke Wells-Burr and Rory O'Brien but the Paignton defence held firm to leave the half-time score 7-6 to Sidmouth.
As pitch conditions deteriorated in the second half the advantage moved inexorably in favour of the Paignton forwards. Sidmouth's courageous tackling at and around the breakdown denied Paignton a try with Asa Unsworth, Cameron Grainger and Henry Thomas being noteworthy in this department. Sidmouth briefly took the lead with a penalty by Retter but Paignton sensibly stuck to their winning formula and applied a stranglehold in the Sidmouth 22 until the winning penalty was awarded in their favour.
Henry Thomas was the Dukes Sidmouth Man of the Match.




The Chiefs suffered a heavy defeat at Kingsbridge as they failed to repeat the form they showed at St Austell the previous week. The big and well-organised Kingsbridge pack dominated proceedings, keeping the Chiefs on the back foot for much of the game and providing extra time and space for their backs to exploit.


The Kingsbridge fly half opened the scoring in the opening minutes with a routine penalty, and the pattern for the afternoon was set as the Chiefs were shunted back in the first scrum and Kingsbridge scored their first try with a lineout catch-and-drive from 20 metres out.


Two more tries were added before the end of the first quarter as the home side ruthlessly exploited Sidmouth errors. A dropped ball in the Kingsbridge half gave the opportunity for a counterattack, which was finished off by the outside centre. Minutes later, a charged down kick was gathered up by the fly half, who sprinted in from 40 metres. None of the tries was converted.


The fly half added a second try as he exploited a gap near the line after the ball had been taken through several phases.


The Chiefs showed good spirit as they stemmed the flow of points for 25 minutes either side of halftime. Their best attacking opportunities came when Rhys Thomas and Cameron Grainger linked down the blindside of scrums. Thomas had a particularly good game controlling the ball well at the base of a retreating scrum.


Luke Wells-Burr posed a threat running back kicks and linked well with Tom Elliott on the wing but they could not outflank the cover defence.


Kingsbridge eventually increased their lead, when the right winger finished good phase play and the fly half added the conversion.


On a rare occasion when the Sidmouth pack had their opponents on the retreat, a Kingsbridge forward was yellow carded for preventing quick possession illegally. Dan Retter kicked what proved to be a consolation three points.


The numbers were equalised a few minutes later, when Rory O’Brien was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on.


Kingsbridge added two late tries as they profited from turnover ball when the Chiefs tried unsuccessfully to run the ball from their own 22. The number five and the left winger went over from rucks close to the line.  The latter was converted.






Despite the many alternative Bank Holiday attractions, a large crowd turned out at the Blackmore Field for this local derby double header with both clubs playing their final games in preparation for the competitive season, which starts on Saturday.


In the main event, the respective 1st teams contested for the David Turner Memorial Cup. In the early stages, Sidmouth had the advantage in terms of territory but it was 12 minutes before they created a scoring opportunity. Ethan Mead, making his first team debut, made a solo run up the left wing from his own half into the Honiton 22 but lacked close support as the cover defence closed in. However, a try soon followed, when a loose clearance kick was run back for Will Bright to finish off a slick handing move. Dan Retter added the conversion.


When the Honiton backs dropped the ball on their 10-metre line, scrum half Josh Ledger hacked it on and was winning the chase as the ball stopped a couple of metres from the try line. He was tackled before he reached it and the referee awarded a penalty try judging that he would probably have scored. With the conversion kick no longer required, seven points were awarded.


The visitors responded with urgency and began to create pressure at the other end. They were rewarded with a well-worked try, when Ben Small peeled off a driving maul to dive over. The try was unconverted.


Dan Retter kicked a long-range penalty before the Chiefs added a third try in first half injury time. A good handling move sent Tom Elliot sprinting up the right touchline. The forwards were in support to drive the ball on to the line, where Tom Seward applied the finishing touch on the blindside of a ruck. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the half time score at 22-5.


Dan Retter increased the lead with a second penalty two minutes after the restart but Honiton hit back almost immediately, after a break from the back of a lineout had taken play into the Sidmouth 22. A long period of pressure ended when the scrum half broke on the blindside of a five-metre scrum to dive over for an unconverted try.


Honiton were soon back on the attack but, when they dropped the ball, new flanker Jack Darragh hacked it on and followed up to pick up and send Rory O’Brien racing in under the posts giving Dan Retter an easy conversion kick.   


Minutes later a good handling move out of their own half was finished off with a 40 metre sprint by Luke Wells-Burr to outpace the cover.


In the middle of the half, Honiton had their best spell of the game as their forward began to punch holes in the defence with good close support. Ollie Rice finished off good inter-passing with a strong burst to the line. Ollie Cave added the conversion before jinking his way over from a ruck near the line, after good approach work by the forwards, for another converted try.


Any hopes of a comeback were halted when Ethan Mead broke down the right wing before producing a neat grubber kick for Charlie Cotton to follow up, gather and score near the posts for another straightforward conversion.


Luke Wells-Burr rounded off the scoring in injury time as he finished off a good handling move to retain the cup in style.


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.