Match Reports


 CULLOMPTON 1st XV  24  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  27


The Chiefs finished the season in style, winning the Devon Intermediate Cup in dramatic fashion against South West League Cullompton at Stafford Park.


At 24-10 down with 12 minutes to play and the Cullompton pack beginning to gain control, the cup looked to be going to the home team. However, the Chiefs fought back to score three excellent tries in eight minutes to turn the tables and ensure the cup would be on display at the Blackmore clubhouse for the next 12 months.


Nerves were evident on both sides in the early stages as basic errors prevented either side from building up momentum. The first scoring opportunity came when the Cullompton full back fielded a clearance kick to initiate a move which was eventually snuffed out in front of the Sidmouth posts. Cullompton were awarded a penalty at the resulting ruck and decided to opt for a scrum instead of the easy three points on offer. A decision they might come to regret.


Instead, it was Sidmouth who took the lead midway through the half with an excellent move started by a Harry Chesterton break from a scrum inside his own 22. When he was tackled, the ball was quickly recycled and Johnny Hamill exploited a gap on the blindside. Ethan Mead, Rory O’Brien and Sam Meadham linked well to progress the ball to the opposing 22 before Harry Chesterton put the finishing touch under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


Cullompton saw a penalty attempt rebound from an upright before Harry Chesterton was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck on his own 22. A quickly taken tap penalty set the Cullompton pack on a series of rucks until they reached the Sidmouth line, where the number six drove over for a try converted by the full back.


Using the extra man, Cullompton dominated the next ten minutes and eventually scored a second try, when the number eight forced his way over from the base of a five-metre scrum. The conversion opened up a seven-point lead, which they kept until half time.


The third quarter was evenly contested, with each side kicking penalties to progress the scores.


Midway through the half, Cullompton increased the lead, when a forward drove over from the base of a ruck near the line after a long period of pressure. The try was converted.


When the Cullompton left winger was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, it was Sidmouth’s turn to make use of the extra man.


A knock on by the Cullompton full back near his line gave the Chiefs an attacking position. From the resulting scrum, they set up a series of rucks moving infield towards the posts. When the ball was released to the backs, a long pass from Dan Retter found Ollie Pyne in space on the left wing and he sprinted over in the corner. Retter kicked the conversion from wide out.


From the restart kick, the Chiefs forwards drove forward and Sione Livai burst through two tackles and into open space. Cameron Grainger provided the link to send Luke Wells-Burr on a sprint down the right touchline. In the narrow space available, his pace took him past two defenders to touch down in the corner. The try was unconverted leaving a deficit of two points with eight minutes to play.


With time running out, Cullompton were in the Sidmouth half and looked well capable of running down the clock until the fly half launched a diagonal kick for his right winger. Instead, Ethan Mead caught the ball above his head and did well to offload it to Rory O’Brien, while being tackled. O’Brien had space in front of him and made ground towards the halfway line. His pass found Zac Bess in support with two defenders covering. Replacement Bess had fresh legs and outpaced the cover to score the decisive try. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but the Chiefs played out the remaining few minutes safely.







SIDMOUTH 1st XV  67  v  ST AUSTELL 1st XV 17


The Chiefs finished the league season in style and gained a confidence boost before Saturday’s Devon Intermediate Cup final against Cullompton, with this outstanding performance against third-placed St Austell in perfect conditions.


The Cornishmen’s drive for promotion has stalled in recent weeks as injuries have taken their toll, but this does not detract from an outstanding fifteen-man performance by Sidmouth. The backs demonstrated their outstanding finishing ability, but it was the forwards, who laid the platform. Josh Bess dominated the lineouts and, along with Sione Livai and Ollie Pyne, got their side on the front foot with powerful bursts over the gain-line.


The Chiefs went straight on the attack from the kick off and soon took the lead with a Dan Retter penalty.


Two tries followed in quick succession. Sam Meadham broke out of his own 22 and Harry Chesterton provided the link to Luke Wells-Burr. The wingman’s inside pass sent Rory O’Brien on a sprint to the line. Dan Retter added the conversion. Minutes later, Wells-Burr was the finisher on the end of a move again started in the Sidmouth 22. The try was converted.


Any thoughts of a rout at this stage were dispelled as the visitors dominated the middle of the half and deservedly cut the arrears when the number eight touched down a pushover try from a five-metre scrum. The fly half converted.


When the Chiefs won a scrum against the head inside the St Austell 22, quick handling gave Luke Wells-Burr room to sprint over in the corner for an unconverted try.


St Austell responded strongly and were rewarded when their powerful inside centre broke through a couple of tackles to score a converted try.


Skipper Ollie Pyne broke from the base of a scrum on halfway to start a move, which saw Luke Wells-Burr and Rory O’Brien exchange passes down the right wing before the former completed his hattrick.


In first half injury time, the St Austell fly half kicked a penalty to make the halftime score 27-17.


The Chiefs dominated the second half, with Ethan Mead scoring a hattrick within 15 minutes of the restart. After good approach work by the forwards, he joined the line between the centres to burst over near the posts. Next, he finished off a counterattack from a clearance kick. Then he finished off a handling move following a turnover inside his own 22 with Sam Meadham making the initial running.


In between these, Ryan Davies forced his way over from the base of a ruck near the line after Luke Wells-Burr had been tackled just short. Dan Retter kicked three of the conversions.


Replacement centre Ben Pratt got on the scoresheet, when cut a good angle to burst through and over near the posts following a five metres scrum.


In injury time, strong runs by Ollie Pyne and Sione Livai created space for the backs and Sam Meadham put the finishing touch to some good handling.






Wadebridge certainly deserved to win this game but the score line could have been much closer had the Chiefs converted the many opportunities they created into points.


In the opening minutes there was no sign of what was to come as Sidmouth opened the scoring after two minutes in clinical fashion. They regained possession from the kick off and drove forward to earn a five-metre scrum. From a solid platform, they worked the ball through several phases until Cameron Grainger dived over from the base a ruck on the line. Dan Retter converted from wide out on the right.


Wadebridge responded on their first incursion into the Sidmouth 22 with a well-struck drop goal by the fly half.


On the quarter hour, the home side took advantage of some poor tackling to take the lead from a move finished off by the right winger. The try was converted by the fly half.


Harry Chesterton had been causing the home defence a few problems with powerful breaks at inside centre. One of these led to a handling move to send Luke Wells-Burr on a run down the right wing. He was eventually stopped just short of the line. When the ball was recycled, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick to the opposite wing, where Ethan Mead was in space. Unfortunately, he was unable to gather the ball cleanly.


The Chiefs continued to press inside the Wadebridge 22 but could not turn the pressure into points and a knock on led to the pressure being relieved.


A rising penalty count against the Chiefs enabled Wadebridge to build up momentum. When they kick for lineout in the corner, they caught and drove over for the hooker to touch down for a second converted try.


The chiefs finished the half on the attack but could not add to their score.


The Chiefs opened the second half with a fine handling move following a turnover inside their own half to send Ethan Mead on a run into the opposing 22 but they could not sustain the attacking position.


The game swung decisively in favour of Wadebridge in the next five minutes, when they took advantage of two fortunate bounces. From a charged down Sidmouth kick on halfway, the ball rebounded into the hands of the Wadebridge number seven, who sprinted into the Sidmouth 22. He was well supported by the hooker to finish off the move. The try was unconverted.


Minutes later, a Wadebridge kick ricocheted off a Sidmouth player into the hands of the outside centre, who initiated a handling move finished off in the left corner. Again, the try was unconverted.


The Chiefs responded well and continued to create opportunities without managing to finish them off.


In the final quarter, Wadebridge gained the upper hand thanks to an increasingly dominant scrum, which was the source of their final score. At a five-metre scrum, the referee awarded a penalty try, when the ball was kick out by a Sidmouth player as the scrum advanced.







SIDMOUTH 1st XV  39  v  FALMOUTH 1st XV  39


On current form, this is a match the Chiefs would have expected to win and should have won given that they held the lead from the sixth until the 87th minute. They failed to do so because for the first game since the autumn their defence was found lacking, particularly around the scrum and in midfield.


The scoreline was the result of a game littered with errors and two sides with the ability to capitalise on them. Falmouth deserved the three points, which might save them from relegation, because it mattered to them. They battled to the final whistle, though, in the end, it was only the thickness of an upright which saved them from defeat.


Falmouth took the lead in the first minute with a penalty kicked by the fly half. Although the visitors continued to have the better in terms of territorial advantage, it was the Chiefs who built up a comfortable lead in the first quarter. Rory O’Brien intercepted a loose pass on his own 22 and sprinted clear to touch down under the posts for Dan Retter to convert.


O’Brien scored again, when a miskicked clearance attempt went straight to him and he beat two opponents on his way to line. Again, Dan Retter converted, this time from the touchline.


Falmouth showed what a dangerous side they can be with a fine handling move, which was only brought to a halt a few metres short of the line.


On their second visit to the Falmouth 22, the Chiefs increased their lead with a quick tap penalty and slick handling to send Ethan Mead sprinting over in the left corner. Dan Retter converted from a tight angle.


A few minutes later Falmouth reduced the arrears, when the number eight peeled off a lineout maul to drive over for a try converted by the fly half.


Sidmouth secured a bonus point with a fourth try, when a good handling move sent Ethan Mead on another sprint for the line. This time he was brought down a few metres short, but Johnny Hamill picked up and dived over from the base of the resulting ruck. The try was unconverted.


Falmouth finished the half strongly and, following a period of pressure near the Sidmouth line, Nick Mills was yellow carded for an infringement in a ruck. The visitors made use of the extra man to score a second try, when the scrum half darted over from a ruck near the line. The conversion made the halftime score 26-17.


Both fly halves kicked penalties in a largely shapeless third quarter before the dramatic finale.


The Chiefs extended their lead, and seemed to take control, when Zac Bess finished off a handling move initiated from a scrum. The successful conversion opened up a 16-point lead.


Falmouth had other ideas and closed the gap when the outside centre found space to cut through and touch down near the posts for the fly half to convert. The Cornishmen followed that with the try of the match, when the number eight broke from a scrum inside his own 22 to initiate a handling move in which the ball passed through many hands from left to right and back before the move was completed in the left corner. The conversion was unsuccessful.


A Dan Retter penalty gave the Chiefs a seven-point cushion with three minutes left to play.

 When the Chiefs dropped the ball on their own 22, Falmouth launched a counterattack against some flimsy defence. The move was finished off by the scrum half and the conversion levelled the score going into injury time.


The Chiefs launched a last-ditch attack and were rewarded with a penalty wide out on the right. Dan Retter’s well-struck kick rebounded the wrong side of an upright and the clearance kick was followed by the final whistle.