Match Reports


TRURO 1st XV  22  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  22


This was not the Chiefs finest 80 minutes as they let slip a lead they held until the 75th minute and could, by then have been unassailable.


It is a fact well established since rugby was first formulated as a game that you go into a game without a recognised goal kicker at your peril. Doing so at Truro undoubtedly deprived the Chiefs of their 100% record, dropping them below Crediton in the league.


In contrast to the excellent tactical kicking, which contributed much to the defeat of Tiverton the previous week, in this game it lacked the variety and precision to inconvenience the opposing back three. Meanwhile, constantly crashing the ball up the middle might be appropriate in wet conditions but in perfect conditions it denied the much-feared Sidmouth backs the opportunity to make use of a stream of excellent lineout possession.


The Chiefs started the match in fine style and deservedly took the lead after three minutes. Good running by Tom Hodge and George Locke took play into the Truro 22, where the forwards advanced the ball through several phases before releasing it for the backs to send Ethan Mead over for a try. The well-struck conversion from Cameron Grainger was his only successful place kick.


The Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage for much of the first quarter but failed to add to their score.


Midway through the half, they lost Peli Vea to a yellow card before Truro opened their account with a penalty kicked by the scrum half. However, the Chiefs came through the sin-bin period in credit thanks to a try scored by Johnny Hamill, who dummied his way over from a lineout five metres from the line.


Truro finished the first half strongly but there was no addition to the score.


The Chiefs started the second half as they did the first, with a try scored in the third minute. The forwards drove a lineout maul from the 22 metre line almost to the goal line, where the ball was released for George Locke to score on the overlap in the right corner.


Truro closed the gap to just two points midway through the half. The number eight forced his way over from a ruck near the line and, with the Chiefs attacking strongly inside the opposing 22, the scrum half intercepted and sprinted clear for a try he also converted.


A second try from George Locke got the Chiefs back on track as he came off his wing to take a neat inside pass from James Powell to cut through and touch down near the posts for the bonus point score.   


An excellent handling moved sent James Powell on a run to the line, but the ball was knocked from his hands as he was tackled over the line.


When Truro won a scrum against the head just inside the Sidmouth half, they launched an attack which resulted in a try by the right winger. The home scrum half capped a man-of-the-match performance with a conversion from wide out on the right to level the scores.


In injury time Luke Wells-Burr looked as if he might salvage a win with a superb 70 metre run down the right but he was stopped a few metres short of the line by an excellent cover tackle.




SIDMOUTH 1st XV  27  v  TIVERTON 1st XV  7


Sidmouth Chiefs confirmed their credentials for potential league success with this convincing win against third-placed Tiverton despite five changes to the pack from the previous game.


In difficult wet conditions, the first half performance was near faultless. The only area of concern being the lineout, which misfired throughout.


The tactical kicking from Dan Retter in particular, and Cameron Grainger consistently found space to put Tiverton on the back foot. The forwards maintained possession securely through multiple phases, with Tom Seward, George Jarman and Jack Pyne making significant inroads over the gain-line.


Under pressure, the Tiverton clearance kicking was often poorly directed, giving the dangerous Sidmouth back three opportunities to counterattack.


The Chiefs were on the attack straight from the kick off and, after a series of rucks near the Tiverton line, Dan Retter launched a diagonal kick to the right, which George Locke followed up to catch and touch down for the opening try. Retter converted from wide out.


From the restart kick, Tom Seward broke through some weak tackling to carry the ball deep into the opposing half. When he was eventually stopped, the ball was quickly recycled for Cameron Grainger to break on the blindside. Seward was back on his feet and in support to send Luke Wells-Burr over for a second try. This time it was unconverted.


Sidmouth continued to control field position until, midway through the half, a loose clearance kick gave Luke Wells-Burr the opportunity to initiate a counterattack. Ethan Mead and James Powell made the running to take play into the Tiverton 22, where the visitors were penalised. Dan Retter kicked the three-pointer.


When Luke Wells-Burr chased up a well-placed cross kick, he forced the full back to concede a five- metre scrum. From the position, the forwards launched a series of rucks until James Powell made a well-angled run to cut through and touch down near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


In injury time, Tiverton reduced the arrears when the scrum half forced his way over on the blindside of a five-metre scrum. The fly half converted to make the halftime score 22-7.


After the restart, the weather began to take its effect and play became more fragmented. Sidmouth continued to look the more dangerous side and came close to scoring when Tom Hodge made a break supported by George Locke, who was tackled just short of the line. The forwards were in support to carry the ball over but could not ground the ball.


Sidmouth maintained the attacking position until James Powell made a decisive break down the left touchline before sending Dan Retter over for the bonus point fourth try.


In the final quarter, Tiverton began to gain the ascendancy in the scrums and lineouts. As a result, play was mainly confined to the Sidmouth half. Despite increasing pressure, they could not find a way through the outstanding Sidmouth defence and there was no addition to the score.





Sidmouth never quite reproduced the sparkling form they have shown in their two games on the Blackmore, but they were still good enough to come away from St Austell with a 20-13 victory. In the first half St Austell were content to use the wind and slope advantage to kick into the corner but Sidmouth's set piece was solid and the try line was never seriously threatened. After 26 minutes St Austell again attempted to plant a kick in the corner, but a misjudgement saw the ball go over the dead-ball line. From the ensuing scrum on the half-way line full-back Sam Meadham entered the line at pace and powered up-field before off-loading to James Powell to run in for the try. Dan Retter converted to give Sidmouth a 7-0 lead. St Austell converted a penalty just before half-time to bring the score to 7-3 to Sidmouth.


Four minutes into the second half an attacking move by St Austell broke down on the half-way line. Luke Wells-Burr reacted quickly to scoop up the loose ball and had plenty of pace to outdistance the defence and score under the posts. Retter converted to make the score 14-3 to Sidmouth. This was extended to 17-3 by a Retter penalty. Sidmouth nearly scored when George Locke seized on a loose ball, following a St Austell handling error, and embarked on a 50 metre run. Powell was on hand to carry the move on but was tackled short of the try line. Aspeli Vea made a barnstorming run from a Sidmouth line-out before handing the ball on to Hadyn Down who did enough to give his fly-half field position for an attempted drop kick. It wasn’t Retter's finest kick but the ball defied gravity just long enough to clear the cross-bar. They all count! That made it 20 points to 3 in Sidmouth’s favour with 13 minutes remaining.


At this point Sidmouth let their concentration and discipline slip and conceded a barrage of penalties. This enabled St Austell to force their way over for a converted try and then convert a penalty to bring the score to 20-13 to Sidmouth. This could have resulted in a tricky last three minutes, but the Sidmouth forwards took control from the restart and kept possession until the final whistle.



SIDMOUTH 1st XV  36  v  WINSCOMBE 1st XV  7


The Chiefs secured their second league win against newcomers Winscombe, but the score line does not reflect the balance of the game in terms of both possession and field position.


Winscombe, who have been transferred sideways from Western Counties North to balance the numbers in the two Western Counties leagues, saw plenty of the ball but could not break down the well-organised Sidmouth defence, with very few tackles being missed. Meanwhile, the Chiefs made the best of their limited opportunities.


Winscombe started in lively fashion, regaining possession from their own kick off and retaining it well through several phases. They spent the first eight minutes in the Sidmouth half aided by a scrum win against the head and stealing the opposition ball at three lineouts. However, their efforts went unrewarded.


When the Chiefs were awarded a penalty on their own 10 metre line, Dan Retter’s kick was long and accurate to earn a lineout deep inside the opposing 22. The ball was won cleanly to set up a classic catch-and-drive play. Matt Farrington applied the touchdown and Dan Retter converted.


Winscombe were soon back on the attack as Sidmouth’s problems in the set pieces continued. However, it was the Chiefs who scored next against the run of play.


Sam Meadham at full back was always looking for counterattacking opportunities, linking with his wingers to pose the Chiefs biggest threat. He fielded a loose kick deep inside his own half to start a handling move finished off by Matt Farrington scoring a second try, again converted by Dan Retter.


The visitors reduced the arrears with a pushover try scored by the number eight and converted by the full back.


The Chiefs finished the half well and scored a third try in the closing minutes. Again, a Sam Meadham break opened the defence to set up a move up the left. When the ball was switched to the right, Peli Vea broke through with a powerful run to score under the posts. The conversion made the halftime score 21-7.


Four minutes into the second half, the Chiefs secured a bonus point with a fourth try. Again, it was initiated by a run out of defence. This time it was Luke Wells-Burr who made the running from his own half deep into the opposing 22. The forwards took over with a series of pick-and-drives until Ollie Pyne forced his way over.


Winscombe were soon back applying pressure inside the Sidmouth half but, again, it was the Chiefs who scored on the break. From a lineout, Tom Seward broke through the first line of defence and found Cameron Grainger in support to set up a move finished by Seward for Dan Retter to convert.


A Dan Retter penalty completed the scoring with ten minutes to play. Winscombe dominated the closing minutes but could still find no way through or around the home defence.