Match Reports


WELLINGTON 1st XV  23  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  26


If you enjoy your nerves being stretched to breaking point, Wellington Athletic Ground last Saturday afternoon was just the place to be. As befits a top-of-the table clash, this was an exciting and highly competitive game, between two very good teams.


The decisive period of the game came in the middle of the second half, when the Chiefs scored two tries while Wellington were had a man in the sin bin.


The Chiefs made a positive start after Wellington had kicked off. A Cameron Grainger box kick had the home side under pressure and two surging runs by Peli Vea took play into the opposing 22, where Dan Retter opened the scoring with a penalty kick.


Wellington were soon back on terms thanks to a penalty kicked by the full back, who went on to give a faultless display of place kicking. And, when Wellington won a scrum against the head to launch a strong attack, they took the lead with a second penalty.


The Chiefs responded with an excellent move from a lineout. James Powell crossed the line but lost possession as he was tackled. However, the pressure was rewarded with a second Dan Retter penalty to level the scores.


Sidmouth scrum problems continued and, when they were penalised for a collapse on their own 22, the home full back kicked his side into the lead once again.


On the half hour, the Chiefs scored the first try of the game with a move from the halfway line. Tom Seward made the initial running with a break on the blindside of a ruck. The backs were in support to produce some superb inter-passing to send Tom Hodge over wide out on the right. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.


A 50-metre run from Luke Wells-Burr put his side on the attack again but five minutes of pressure failed to produce a score and half time came with Sidmouth ahead 11-9.


Straight from the restart kick, the Wellington centres combined in a move taking play into the Sidmouth 22, where Luke Wells-Burr brought off a try-saving tackle. But it was to no avail as Wellington scored a pushover try from the resulting five metre scrum. The number eight got the final touch and the full back added the conversion.


Dan Retter narrowed the margin with his third penalty as the Chiefs fought back. Cameron Grainger broke on the blindside of a ruck to send Ethan Mead on a run into the home 22. He was stopped just short of the line, where the influential Wellington fly half was yellow carded for preventing quick release of the ball from the ruck.


Following a lineout inside the 22, Tom Hodge made a powerful run to set up a ruck over the gain line. The ball was quickly recycled and moved along the line to George Locke on the wing. He was stopped just short of the line, but Josh Bess was on hand to dive over from the base of the resulting ruck for a converted try.


The Chiefs were soon back on the attack and another strong run from Hodge broke the gain line. The forwards were on hand to advance the ball through several phases to create an overlap for Ethan Mead to sprint over in the left corner. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful.


Restored to a full fifteen, Wellington fought back strongly to score a similar try at the other end. The right winger putting the finishing touch to a long period of pressure as the Sidmouth defenders were sucked in. The conversion cut the deficit to three points.


The final ten minutes were a tense affair, but the Chiefs held out to maintain their position at the top of the table.        








The Quins bandwagon rolls on with this convincing win against Exeter Engineers, a team of students from Exeter University.


The Sidmouth forwards had the edge in the set pieces to provide a platform for the backs to show their paces on a firm pitch after the Quins kicked off with a wind at their backs.


The opening ten minutes were evenly contested before the Quins took the lead thanks to a penalty kicked by fly half Jake Watts.


The Sidmouth forwards showed their superiority with two tries from well controlled lineout catch-and-drive plays both touched down by Jason Stevens. The first had been driven with great control from 20 metres out, the second from closer range was converted by Jake Watts.


A good handling move by the backs set up Morgan Taverner for a run into the 22, where Johnny Hammill darted over on the blindside of a ruck. And, just before half time Hamill dummied his way over for a second try from the back of a driving maul. Both tries were converted for a lead of 27-0 at the break.


With the wind at their backs, the Engineers made a strong start to the second half to keep play inside the Sidmouth half for long periods. The Quins showed the same defensive organisation and determination as the Chiefs to keep their line intact until midway through the half, when the students scored a converted try from a quick tap penalty move.


The Quins struck back almost immediately, when Johnny Hamill completed his hattrick from the base of ruck near line after good approach work by the pack. The try was converted as was a pushover try from a five-metre scrum scored by Dan Ledger.


The Engineers produced a fine piece of rugby with backs and forwards combining in a move started on the half way line. The try was converted.


The Quins finished the game with a try of equal quality, when a good move by the backs stretched the defence and skipper Neil Barratt pick up from the base of a ruck to sprint over from 30 metres out.






The Chiefs returned to the top of the league table thanks to this bonus point win against Wadebridge Camels, while close rivals Crediton drew at Falmouth.


Wadebridge kicked off with a gusting diagonal wind in their favour and immediately regained possession to go on the offensive. They spent much of the opening ten minutes in Sidmouth territory but were unable to trouble the scoreboard.


By contrast, the Chiefs scored on their first visit into the opposing 22. They won a lineout on the 22- metre line and drove a maul to within ten metres of the goal line. They then progressed the ball through a series of pick-and-drive plays until Haydon Down forced his way over from close range. Dan Retter added the conversion.


From the restart kick, Wadebridge held territorial advantage and eventually opened their account with a penalty kicked by the fly half, who would prove to be a thorn in the Chiefs’ side throughout the game.


With Wadebridge soon back on the attack, the Chiefs extended their lead much against the run of play, when Cameron Grainger intercepted and ran in from 60 metres for a try converted by Retter.


The visitors attacking endeavours were eventually rewarded, when a lineout catch-and-drive play was finished of by the tight head prop peeling off and diving over on the blindside. The try was unconverted.


Sam Meadham combining with Ethan Mead to run from deep inside their own half into the Wadebridge 22 provided a rare moment of flare for the home supporters to savour in the first half. From the position gained, Dan Retter kicked a drop goal.


Wadebridge finished the half strongly and in injury time the scrum half dummied his way over from a five-metre scrum. The fly half converted from the touchline to reduce the Sidmouth lead to 17-15 at the break.


From the restart kick, the Wadebridge fly half broke clear to sprint 50 metres upfield to put his side on the attack but a penalty enabled the Chiefs to clear danger and put themselves on the attack. For the first time the Chiefs were able to gain a firm foothold inside the opposing half, keeping the ball through several phases of possession. The back row was instrumental in keeping them on the front foot, with Matt Farrington leading in metres gained.  


Dan Retter kicked a penalty before setting up Ethan Mead for a try from a well-judged grubber kick after the backs and forwards had combined effectively to set up the position.


With the Sidmouth backs beginning to show their paces, Luke Wells-Burr embarked on an exciting 50 metre run down the right touchline, leaving defenders in his wake, to set up an attacking position. Again, the Chiefs kept the pressure on in search of a bonus point fourth try. It came midway through the half, when the forwards drove a lineout maul over the line for Haydon Down to touch down his second try to cap a man-of-the match performance. Dan Retter converted.


The fifth try resulted from a superb move by the backs from a lineout on halfway. Good handling put full back Rory O’Brien into a gap before he sent Ethan Mead on a run down the left wing. O’Brien was then on hand to take an inside pass to finish the move off.

Wadebridge showed that they too could handle effectively with a fine move from halfway finished off by the hooker. The unsuccessful conversion attempt was followed by the final whistle.



SIDMOUTH 2nd XV 15 v  EXMOUTH 3rd XV 3 

Exmouth kicked off and began brightly, showing their intent by opting for a kick to the corner hoping to catch Sidmouth cold. The Sidmouth defence held their ground and forced Exmouth backwards, a turnover at a breakdown allowed Sidmouth to clear up field. Sidmouth mounted their first attack in the opposition half but were thwarted by a good defensive shift by the visitors. The second Sidmouth attack minutes later proved more fruitful to the tune of three points from the right boot of Jake Watts. The lead lasted about ten minutes or so as Exmouth responded with a good spell of possession in Sidmouth’s territory ending with a penalty kick. 

The visitors had clearly done their homework and stifled Sidmouth of the ball for long spells; by playing mainly through their large forwards. Exmouth were posing questions for their hosts to answer; the Sidmouth answers came loud and clear and were mostly correct. The Sidmouth pack soaked up the pressure well and regularly forced Exmouth into errors, unfortunately those errors couldn’t always be capitalised on fully. The Sidmouth backline defended equally as physically as their forwards, but like the forwards couldn’t quite add the finishing touches when in possession. The middle period of the half was played out predominately in the mid third of the pitch, both sides were cancelling the other out. Whilst the game clearly wasn’t a points fest, like Sidmouth’s last home game, it was equally as enthralling but in a different way. 

The stalemate came to end when Sidmouth scored an unconverted try, a try possibly against the run of play, but a try that was a well-deserved as a reward for their defensive efforts. The score came from scrumhalf Luke Bess after a decent spell of possession deep in Exmouth’s half. The home side certainly had the better of the remainder of the first half and were unlucky on a couple of occasions from driving mauls. The pressure should have seen Sidmouth extend their lead with the last kick of the half; Jake Watts just misjudging his penalty shot at the posts. Hopefully that wouldn’t prove costly or make the home side lose their increasing self-belief. 

Any concerns of the penalty miss damaging the Sidmouth self-belief were quickly put to rest at the beginning of the second half. A wonderfully executed driving maul from the Exmouth 22 was heading towards the try line at a rapid rate, only to be pulled down in the process of the ball being grounded; the referee had seen enough to convince him to award a penalty try. The try will go down in the books as a penalty try, but if it were possible to do so should be awarded to the Sidmouth forwards as a unit; that was mauling at its finest from the men in green. As there is no need to add the conversion now following a penalty try the score was worth a straight seven points. The try turned out to be the final score of the game but that doesn’t mean the remainder of the match was dull; in fact, far from it. 

Exmouth recovered from the shock of conceding so early to come back into the game well. The visitors attacked with intent but were regularly sent back into their half by the aggressive Sidmouth defence. The home side very nearly extended their lead with an interception on half way, unfortunately the ball just evaded the grasp of the Sidmouth backs rush defence. The Sidmouth forwards meanwhile, were starting to get the upper hand in the scrums, having had parity up until that point, two balls against the head allowed Sidmouth to win possession and sensibly play in the Exmouth half of the field but were unable to add to their score.