Match Reports


SIDMOUTH 1st XV  64  v  SALTASH 1st XV  7


The Chiefs made a flying start to the new season’s league campaign with a ten try win against newly promoted Saltash. The visitors posed a threat with ball in hand but were denied a fair share of possession as the Sidmouth pack had the edge in the set pieces. Once the backs found space, their pace and support play ruthlessly turned possession into points.


The Chiefs took the lead after just three minutes with a try involving the whole team to set the pattern for the game. Full back Sam Meadham started a move from deep inside his own half, which took play into the opposing 22. The forwards worked the ball through four phases before the ball was released for Luke Wells-Burr to score on the overlap. The try was unconverted.


Wells-Burr was soon in action at the other with a try-saving tackle as Saltash piled on the pressure in the Sidmouth half for the next ten minutes giving the home defence a thorough workout.


A turnover at a lineout eventually enabled the Chiefs to break out and added to their score on the next visit into the visitors 22. Ethan Mead made the initial running and, when he was stopped, the ball was moved across field for league debutant Asipeli Vea to burst through three tackles on his way to the line. Dan Retter kicked the conversion.


A long run down the right wing by Luke Wells-Burr set up try number three scored by Rhys Thomas bursting over on the blind side of a ruck near the line.


An injury to James Powell brought newly-returned Tom Hodge into the game just in time to see another debutant Aaron Down force his way over from close range to ensure a bonus point. Hodge then made the running for a try scored by Ethan Mead. Dan Retter converted both tries to make the halftime score 31-0.


The first try of the second half came from a well-judged grubber kick by Johnny Hammill down the blindside of a scrum. Luke Wells-Burr followed up to gather the bouncing ball, draw the full back and pass inside for Tom Seward to apply the finishing touch for a converted try.


Saltash got their reward for their attacking endeavour, when a flanker broke through close to a ruck before sending his scrum half scampering in under the posts for the fly half to convert.


When A Saltash player dropped the ball on his own ten metres line, Tom Hodge scooped it up and found an open field in front of him. He sprinted clear to score under the posts leaving a simple conversion.


As the visitors tired, the Chiefs ran in three tries in the closing few minutes. After a period of pressure near the line, Matt Farrington forced his way over. Luke Wells-Burr chased a box kick to benefit from a good bounce and, from the resulting restart kick, Ethan Mead finished off a handling move involving many players. The final whistle followed the unsuccessful conversion attempt.





HONITON 2nd XV  31   v  SIDMOUTH 2nd XV  28


The 1st Team game was preceded by an equally close encounter between the respective second teams.


Sidmouth played down the slope in the first half. Despite dominating the opening quarter, they failed to trouble the scoreboard. A missed penalty in front of the posts and a determined defence were the main contributory factors.


The pressure eventually told on the half hour, when Aaron Down powered his way over on the blindside of a ruck after good approach work by the forwards. Jake Watts added the conversion.


On a rare visit into the Sidmouth 22, Honiton opened their account in the final minute of the half, when they created an overlap for the outside centre to run over. The conversion by the fly half levelled the scores going into the break.


Honiton dominated the third quarter to build up a strong lead thanks to tries scored by the right winger on the overlap, a prop from a tap penalty move close to the line and the number eight, who dropped onto a loose ball from a lineout close to the Sidmouth line. One try was converted.


The Quins staged a spirited comeback and tries by Ryan Davies and Matt James, both converted by Jake Watts, closed the gap to three points with ten minutes to go.


Honiton reasserted themselves with a converted try from a tap penalty move before Ryan Davies capped an outstanding performance by driving over from the base of a ruck in injury time. The conversion closed the final deficit to three points. 


HONITON 1st XV  27  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  26



The Chiefs received an early wake-up call in advance of the league season as they relinquished their hold on the David Turner Cup after holding it for several seasons.


The result did not flatter the home side, whose forwards kept the Sidmouth eight on the backfoot for much of the game, while their direct running backs made frequent inroads over the gain line.


Dan Retter and the Honiton full back kicked early penalties to open the scoring for their sides. Despite playing up the slope, Honiton held territorial advantage during the first quarter as they retained possession well through many phases. The Sidmouth defence did well to contain the threat before the home side deservedly took the lead with a second successful penalty.


The Chiefs fared much better in the second quarter and Dan Retter levelled the scores with a penalty after a James Powell break had taken play deep inside the opposing 22.


Sidmouth pressure late in the half was rewarded when Ethan Mead followed up a Dan Retter cross kick to gather in the in-goal area and touch down. Retter added the conversion for a 13-6 half time lead.


The fly half extended the lead with a third penalty two minutes after the restart kick, but Honiton soon took advantage of the slope with their fly half kicking effectively for position and the forwards putting pressure on the Sidmouth set pieces. Eventually they reduced the deficit when the number eight touched down a push over try from a five-metre scrum.


When the Chiefs regained possession from the restart kick, Dan Retter kicked a drop goal. However, Honiton were soon back on the attack, pinning the Chiefs inside their 22. The defence held out well but eventually a break by the inside centre created a try for the full back. He then added the conversion from wide out to give his side a one-point lead.


The Chiefs responded well to the setback with their best spell of the half. They advanced the ball through many phases before being awarded a penalty in front of the posts. Instead of settling for a routine three points, they took a quick tap penalty and moved the ball swiftly to the right. When he received the ball, Ollie Perez still had a bit to do and left two defenders in his wake on his way to the line. The conversion opened a six-point lead with five minutes to go.


Honiton hit back almost immediately, with the inside centre once again being the instigator. He broke through from halfway and found the number seven in support to apply the finishing touch. The conversion rebounded the right side of the upright to ensure a single point victory.




 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.