Match Reports


CHARD 1st XV  24  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  22


The Chiefs suffered only their second defeat since October as Chard scored a converted try in the last minute of injury time to easy their relegation worries with a bonus point win.


Sidmouth, travelling without a few key players, were weakened further by four injuries during a hard-fought game and had to play the final ten minutes a man short as they had used up their three replacements.


Chard kicked off into the bitterly cold diagonal wind and were soon pressing inside the Sidmouth 22. The Chiefs won a vital strike against the head at a five-metre scrum to relieve the early pressure, but Chard were soon back pressing on the line. When they were awarded another scrum five metres out, they pushed over for a try touched down by the number eight. The conversion attempt held up in the wind.


The Chiefs began to find some cohesion through the middle of the half to create pressure of their own. Good breaks by Luke Wells-Burr and Ben Pratt took play into the home 22, where the forwards took over. After a series of rucks took play to the line, Sione Livai powered his way over for a try and Dan Retter added the conversion.


The Chiefs failed to secure the ball from the restart kick and Chard regained possession to set up camp in the Sidmouth 22. After a series of rucks near the line, a forward forced his way over to regain the lead. The try was unconverted.


Despite having lost flankers Dan Rudd (wrist) and Henry Thomas (head) to injury, with the help of the wind, the Chiefs enjoyed territorial advantage for the closing stages of the half. When the forwards set up a driving maul from a lineout just outside the 22, the defenders were forced to retreat, and Johnny Hamill took advantage of space on the blindside to sprint over in the corner. The try was unconverted, leaving the Chiefs with a narrow 12-10 halftime lead.


A Dan Retter penalty increased the lead early in the second half before the game became bogged down in a midfield dog-fight as the arctic conditions took their toll.


Replacement Dan Ledger joined the injury list just before Cameron Grainger was yellow carded to give Chard a one-man advantage. They used it effectively to earn a penalty try as the Chiefs prevented a scrum pushover attempt illegally. The automatic seven points gave them a two-point lead going into the final ten minutes of normal time.


No sooner had Grainger been reinstated than Rhys Thomas departed with an ankle injury. Despite the disadvantage, the Chiefs retook the lead with the try of the game. Good work by the forwards put them on the front foot and strong run by Sione Livai took play to the 22, where the ball was released to the backs. Ben Pratt exploited a gap in the centre and beat two men on his way to touch down under the posts. The conversion opened up a five-point lead with five minutes to play.


Being a man down and with a heavily rearranged pack proved too much of a disadvantage and Chard took control as the game moved into injury time. They camped on the Sidmouth line until a forward forced his way over under the posts. The conversion was followed by the final whistle.







SIDMOUTH 1st XV  17  v  CREDITON 1st XV  17


The Chiefs had to draw on all their reserves to salvage a draw in this derby match after a promising start.


Over-confidence seemed to set in after scoring two well-constructed tries. The result was a litany of errors, in terms of both skill and judgement. Crediton capitalised, grew in strength and confidence, and were somewhat unfortunate not to go away with more than two points.


In a match transferred to a Sidford pitch, in perfect condition despite the heavy overnight rain, Sidmouth went straight on the attack from the kick off and took the lead after just three minutes.


Matt Farrington broke from a scrum ten metres from the Crediton line to link with Johnny Hamill. The scrum half’s short dart drew in the midfield defenders and, when the ball was quickly recycled, a long pass found Ben Pratt in space to race in at the left corner. The try was unconverted.


Despite playing into the breeze, the Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage, although mistakes were beginning to creep into their game. A strong run by Tom Seward, followed by quick recycling had the defence back-peddling. Quick handling sent Matt Farrington sprinting in at the corner for a second unconverted try.


To their credit, Crediton heads did not drop and, as the Sidmouth error count rose, they began to exert pressure and a good handling move had the defence at full stretch. When the Sidmouth backs dropped the ball trying to run out of their own half, the fly half scooped it up and burst into the 22 before sending his inside centre in under the posts. The outside centre kicked the routine conversion.


In first half injury time, the Chiefs tried to run the ball out of their own 22 and again the ball was lost in contact. A penalty was conceded trying to retrieve the situation and the successful kick tied the scores at the break.


Now full of confidence, the visitors tore into the Chiefs from the restart pinning them into their own half.


Without Josh Bess, the Chiefs were too dependent on Ollie Pyne in the lineouts, making it easy for Crediton to counter and spoil. Also, the Sidmouth scrum began to come under pressure.


Crediton camped inside the Sidmouth 22 until the hooker forced his way over from close range. The conversion gave them a deserved seven-point lead.


The Chiefs got the wake up call and sharpened their game but could make little impression against  determined opponents, who could smell a badly-needed victory.


With five minutes to go, they produced a move, which cut open the defence. Ethan Mead came from the blindside wing at a scrum on halfway. In a set move, he took an inside pass through the fly half/inside centre gap. A combination of agility and pace took him clear to touch down in the left corner. Having missed twice from a similar position, Dan Retter’s conversion bisected the uprights to level the scores.


In injury time, a Dan Retter penalty attempt from just inside his own half rebounded from the crossbar. Disappointing for the Chiefs but Crediton deserved to go away with something for their spirited performance.








TIVERTON 1st XV  12  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  22


The late withdraw by Dan Retter saw Cameron Grainger drafted in to fill the fly half position, one he hasn’t played in for a few seasons. He did a creditable job of keeping his side going forward and the back line running smoothly. However, Retter’s reliable goalkicking was missed.   


The Chiefs ability to turn counterattacking opportunities into points was the decisive factor in this otherwise equally contested game. However, this was certainly not evident in the opening five minutes, when two clear chances from turnovers fell victim to basic handling errors.


Apart from these breakaway opportunities, Tiverton had the best of the opening exchanges without threatening the Sidmouth line.


The Chiefs opened the scoring after six minutes, when Tiverton dropped the ball just outside their own 22 and Ollie Pyne scooped it up. He set up a handling move finished off by brother Jack. The try was unconverted.


Tiverton were soon on level terms, when they kicked a penalty to the corner and the forwards mauled their way over from the resulting lineout.


The Chiefs had the better of things through the middle of the half and scored two tries to build up a useful lead.


A Tiverton clearance kick was fielded by Luke Wells-Burr on his own ten metre line and his long pass found Ethan Mead in space on the left. The prolific teenager did well to beat two defenders on his way to touching down under the posts. Rory O’Brien added the conversion.


Minutes later, a good handling move sent Mead on another run into the 22 to create a good attacking position. When Tiverton were penalised in front of their posts, the routine three points was ignored in favour of a quick tap penalty. The decision paid off as good, accurate handling found Ben Pratt in space to race over for an unconverted try.


Tiverton finished the half strongly but could not make any further impression on the well-organised Sidmouth defence.


Another Tiverton kick downfield, fielded by Luke Wells-Burr provided the starting point for Sidmouth’s fourth try, but this was one for which they had to work much harder. With forwards and backs combining well, the ball was moved to the right and back to the left until an overlap was created on the right wing for Rory O’Brien to run in the bonus point score, which was unconverted.


Playing down the slope, Tiverton fought back strongly and deservedly cut the arrears midway through the half, when the number eight broke from a scrum ten metres out to power his way over. The try was converted by the fly half.


The Chiefs continued to compete well but each time they worked their way into the opposing half they conceded penalties and found themselves back in defence.


Tiverton, for their part, could not find a way through the Sidmouth defence, which kept both shape and discipline until the final whistle.    



Bideford RFC 2nd XV (10) v Sidmouth RFC 2nd XV (29)

On a dry yet overcast February afternoon Sidmouth made the long journey north to Bideford. The large pitch was in good condition considering the recent weather which benefited Sidmouth; as it gave the men in green the opportunity to play an expansive offloading style of play.
It didn’t take long for the expansive style to pay dividends. Quick handling and a succession of clean effective clear-outs at the breakdown involving both forwards and backs was eventually finished off by Ryan Davies; unfortunately, the conversion by Adam Squance was unsuccessful.
Squance was soon back in the thick of the action scoring an excellent solo try. The fly-half broke clear from near halfway and succeeded in evading the attention of five would be tacklers before dotting down under the posts. The conversion was a mere formality and opened up a twelve-point lead in as many minutes for the visitors.
Sidmouth were soon back on the attack and despite missing a few half chances quickly extended their lead by a further twelve points. The third try of the game went to Asa Unsworth who dived over in the left corner following a slick handling move and a spell of intense pressure; Squance couldn’t quite convert from near the touchline. The fourth and bonus point try was scored by centre Jake Watts; this time Squance was on target with his conversion.
The opening half hour had seen Sidmouth dominate both possession and territory and score four unanswered tries. The only area where Bideford had an advantage was at the scrum; their size and power on two occasions lead to stealing the ball on Sidmouth’s put-in. Late in the half Bideford used their scrummaging superiority to good effect, a solid centre field scrum in the Sidmouth 22 provided the platform for the Bideford backs to score in the right corner; the tricky conversion was missed. This left the half-time score at 5-24.
The opening stages of the second half were rather scrappy in more ways than one. Neither side could maintain a foothold territorially or via continued possession as both sides cancelled each other out; frustrations eventually boiled over and a minor bout of fisticuffs ensued allowing Bideford to take play into the Sidmouth 22. The home side set up camp deep in Sidmouth’s half of the field and stayed there for nearly 15 minutes. The Sidmouth defence held firm under sustained pressure but could not break free; a couple of missed penalty kicks to touch and decisions to run instead of kicking clear allowed Bideford to intensify their long spell of pressure. A second bout of fisticuffs and a constantly improving performance by the home side kept Sidmouth’s defence under pressure. The relentless pressure did eventually tell as the home side doubled their score; the outside centre touching down for an unconverted try. Sidmouth had been defending for the best part of 20-25 minutes by this stage so should be proud of their efforts as many sides would likely have conceded a try much sooner than that.
The Bideford supporters were starting to believe a comeback was on the cards but Sidmouth soon put pay to that notion following the restart. Sidmouth turned the ball over at a ruck near the Bideford 22 and following a few quick rucks Aaron Down broke free and scuttled over the line; Squance missed the conversion but the try had clearly deflated the believe of those supporting Bideford. The final five minutes of the game saw Sidmouth continue their expansive offloading style of play which had worked well throughout; unfortunately, on this occasion the gaps in the tired Bideford defence couldn’t be exploited fully. The final whistle was blown with the score line at 10-29 in favour of the travelling Sidmouth contingent.
Sidmouth were very good value for their victory. An excellent first half display of clinical attacking was backed up with an equally solid defensive effort; Bideford by their own admission had to work extremely hard for their 10 points which is a credit to the Sidmouth defence. There are a few minor points regarding decision making including when to run from deep which will need addressing, especially when against stronger and fitter opposition but in general Sidmouth should be very proud of their performance.