Match Reports


CREDITON 1st XV  5  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV 15


The Chiefs produced a tactically assured performance in difficult conditions to achieve their third win 0f the season at Crediton, which lifts them from the bottom of the league table.


Persistent drizzle and a slippery surface limited ambition and dictated a pragmatic approach. Sidmouth duly delivered through the accurate boot of Dan Retter and a strong performance by the pack, particularly with driving mauls from lineout possession, where Josh Bess was a dominant force in his first appearance of the season.


Elsewhere, flankers Tom Seward and Matt Farrington were in the thick of things throughout, both in defence and attack. New Zealander Sione Livai showed he is adapting to rugby in England with some powerful running and many yards gained. And veteran Nick Mills was in his element in a forward orientated game, at the heart of Sidmouth endeavour and a constant nuisance to the opposition.


Meanwhile, the Sidmouth back three of Lukes Wells-Burr and Bess, Ethan Mead and latterly Zac Bess dealt effectively with Crediton’s kicking game.


The backline showed some early promise but, as the game progressed, running and handling became progressively difficult making kicking and chasing the better option.  


Crediton kicked off and had the better of the opening exchanges as the Chiefs came to terms with the conditions. However, they defended well and took the lead against the run of play on their first visit to the opposing half, when Dan Retter kicked a penalty from wide out on the right.


As the half progressed, the Chiefs gradually took control. Accurate kicking and determined chasing kept Crediton pinned inside their own half. This was supported by strong mauling and effective driving by the forwards.


The only thing missing was a try as they lacked sufficient composure near the try line. However, Dan Retter kept the scoreboard ticking over with two more successful penalties to give his side a 9-0 halftime lead.


Immediately after the restart, the Chiefs seemed to lose concentration and Crediton capitalised with the only try of the game. A succession of missed first-up tackles allowed the opposition to build up momentum and progress the ball through several phases to the Sidmouth line, where a forward forced his way over from close range. The try was unconverted.


The Chiefs regained their composure and the initiative with a good handling move to take play into the Crediton 22, where the forwards took over. A powerful surge by Sione Livai took him over the line but the referee ruled that he had lost control of the ball.


From a lineout catch-and-drive play, the maul was driven 20 metres forward and diagonally to the centre of the Crediton 22. When the ball emerged, instead of attacking to the unmarked left they chose the heavily marked right and the chance was lost.


A fourth penalty left Crediton needing to score twice as the Chiefs maintained territorial advantage. Then, with ten minutes to go, man-of-the-match Dan Retter kicked a cheeky drop goal to put his side in a commanding position.


Crediton staged a late surge, but the Chiefs defence held firm to deny them a bonus point.



SIDMOUTH 1st XV  25  v  CHARD 1st XV  24


Sidmouth Chiefs chalked up their second win of the season in a hard-fought and tense cross-border derby against mid-table Chard.


A few moments of brilliance backed up by a gutsy, backs-to-the-wall performance by an out-gunned pack were just enough to earn a valuable four points in the battle to move away from the bottom of the table.


The Chiefs followed up their kick off aggressively to make a good start as they pinned Chard inside their own 22 for the opening minutes. A missed touch kick gave a counterattacking opportunity and Sione Livai made a strong burst from the base of a ruck before the ball was moved to the backs. Quick handling provided space for Ethan Mead on the left wing, who just made the line despite the attention of two defenders. Dan Retter added the conversion from the touchline.


Chard hit back almost immediately, when their scrum half broke from the base of a scrum on the Sidmouth 22 and found no defenders in front of him. He touched down between the posts but the simple conversion was missed, which would prove crucial.


Dan Retter kicked a long-range penalty before the Chard pack began to exert their superiority in the set pieces. A penalty kicked into the Sidmouth 22 was followed by a lineout catch-and-drive play. The maul reached the try-line but the ball was held up resulting in a five metre scrum. Will Bright was yellow carded as he strayed offside. Chard opted for another scrum and the referee awarded a penalty try as he judged a pushover attempt was prevented illegally. The seven points put the visitors in the lead.


Despite being a man short, the Chiefs enjoyed their most productive period of the game as Dan Retter kicked a second penalty and quick-thinking James Salter rewarded pressure on the Chard line when he dived over following a quick tap penalty. The try was unconverted.


Luke Wells-Burr and Ethan Mead combined in a move up the left touch-line but the cover defence eventually snuffed it out before Chard took control at the end of the half. Constant pressure on the Sidmouth line eventually brought a try in injury time by the outside centre as the Chiefs ran out of defenders. The try was converted to give Chard a one-point halftime lead.


Sidmouth had the better of the third quarter but could not add to their score. When Chard paid their first visit to the home 22 midway through the half, they immediately increased their lead. From a lineout 10 metres from the line, they drove a maul all the way for the right winger to join in and get the touch down. The try was unconverted.


Then came the moment of magic, which can win a game. Replacement winger Zac Bess field a kick on the halfway line and set off on a looping run just out of reach of defenders and all the way to the line. Dan Retter’s conversion put his side in front once again.


Chard worked their way back into the Sidmouth 22, where Tom Seward was sent to the sin bin for an illegal tackle. Despite being a man short, the Chiefs withstood a long siege on their line, including two attempted pushovers from five metre scrums.


When the Chard pack set up a driving maul from a lineout, it was disrupted by the Sidmouth forwards and Matt Farrington stole the ball enabling Dan Retter to clear it up field. The Chiefs played out the final minutes in the Chard half to the delight of a large crowd of supporters.    






BURNHAM-ON-SEA 1st XV  36  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  17


Player availability had reached crisis point when the Chiefs travelled to Burham-on-Sea, where a win could have lifted them from the bottom of the league table. Instead, there were six players making their first appearance of the season. The team included the fifth hooker, fourth scrum half and sixth centre pairing in nine league games. And so, it goes on.


In the circumstances, it is not surprising that performance suffers. To the credit of those playing, they kept their heads up, stuck to the task and fully deserved a late consolation try.


The Chiefs played the first half with the benefit of a strong following wind, which Dan Retter used to advantage as he kicked his side into an early lead with a penalty from the halfway line.


Despite the wind advantage, the Chiefs spent much of the first quarter in their own half as the Burnham forwards controlled possession, carrying the ball through multiple phases. They were eventually rewarded, when a forward broke from a ruck just inside the Sidmouth 22 and found his fly half in support to touch down under the posts. He also added the conversion.


The Chiefs began to settle and came more into the game in the second quarter with some effective kicking and a couple of promising handling moves. Two more Dan Retter penalties put them into a deserved lead.


Burnham again took control following a penalty kicked for touch inside the Sidmouth 22. The Chiefs did well to defend their line for several minutes, including resisting an attempted push over from a five-metre scrum. However, when they lost a scrum against the head near the line, the fly half scored his second try from a move down the blindside. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful leaving his side with a 12-9 half time lead.


The fly half extended the lead with a penalty two minutes after the restart before the Chiefs raised their supporters hopes with a sparkling handling move covering much of the length of the pitch. Their reward was a fourth Dan Retter penalty.


Unfortunately, optimism was short-lived as the Burnham forwards took control, assisted by some good kicking. Lukes Wells-Burr and Bess did their best to run the ball out of defence but could rarely get past the halfway line.


Two push-over tries touched down by the home number eight were both converted to put the game beyond the Chiefs. After the second of these, the restart kick was blown back towards the Sidmouth half by a strong gust of wind. The ball bounced into the hands of the Burnham fly half, who started a handling move finished off by a forward for a fifth try, which was converted.


Despite the set-backs, the Chiefs kept trying to play rugby and the introduction of Jevon Astley-Jones on the wing added some penetration to the attack. Even more effective was the move of Mark Unsworth to tight head prop, which altered the dynamics of the scrum. The forwards comfortably prevented another push-over attempt and even had the bigger Burnham eight on the retreat a couple of times.


As a result, the Chiefs finished the game on the attack and, after a series of rucks near the line, Dan Retter exploited a gap on the blindside to dart over for a try in injury time.       


Chiefs losing run continues against Truro

SIDMOUTH 1st XV  13  v  TRURO 1st XV  23


The Chiefs suffered another defeat, when fellow strugglers Truro managed the conditions better to turn around a half time deficit on a soggy Blackmore Field.


Sidmouth started the match in fine style and were unlucky not to be awarded a try in the first minute. They regained possession from their own kick off to launch a move along the backs taking play deep into the Truro 22. The forwards carried the ball forward with pick-and-drive play until Will Bright crossed the whitewash. Unfortunately, the referee was unsighted and judged the ball to be held up. However, the Chiefs were soon awarded a penalty and Dan Retter kicked the three-pointer.


A few minutes later, Will Bright was robbed of glory once a again at the end of a move from the Sidmouth 22. Johnny Hamill broke from a lineout and Ollie Pyne was in support before Bright had the ball knocked from his grasp as he crossed the try-line.


Truro levelled the score with a well-struck penalty by the fly half but the Chiefs continued to keep play mainly in the opposing half. Eventually the pressure was rewarded with a well-constructed try. Luke Wells-Burr field a kick inside his own half and set off to start a handling move. Rory O’Brien and Cameron Grainger carried the ball on before an inside pass found Tom Seward to finish off with a powerful run to the line. Dan Retter added the conversion.


Truro finished the half strongly and reduced the arrears with a second penalty to make the halftime score 10-6.


After the break, Truro adopted the pragmatic tactics for the conditions of kicking for position and grinding out a forward battle. With a dominant scrum and an effective pick-and-drive game, they controlled the game despite losing a player to the sin bin for a deliberate knock on. The Chiefs were not helped by the loss of influential number eight and captain Ollie Pyne with a knee injury before halftime.  


Truro soon took the lead when a forward drove over from close range after a series of rucks near the line. The try was unconverted.


The Chiefs regained the lead, when a second Truro player was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on and Dan Retter kicked the resulting penalty.


Truro then took control for the final quarter as their forwards dominated possession. Luke Wells-Burr kept his side in the lead with two try-saving tackles to seal a man-of-the match performance, but he was powerless when the outside centre broke through to create an overlap for the left winger to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try.


However, Wells-Burr was the inspiration for a move, which almost saved the day for his team, when he broke out of his own 22 and Rory O’Brien provided the link to send Ethan Mead sprinting up the touchline. Unfortunately, he was tackled into touch a few metres short of the line. Truro won the resulting lineout and cleared upfield.


The visitors kept control in the final minutes and added a third try, when the hooker dived over from a ruck on the line. The fly half converted to complete the scoring.