Match Reports


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.



SIDMOUTH 1st XV  40  v  BURNHAM-ON-SEA 1st XV  10


The Chiefs consolidated their sixth place in the league with this win against bottom placed Burnham-on-Sea. But, it wasn’t as comfortable as the scoreline would suggest. Burnham’s aggression in the tackle and at the breakdown unsettled the Chiefs. The absence of Henry Thomas at hooker also resulted in problems securing their own lineout possession until they sorted matters out in the second half.


The Chiefs started brightly and were soon pressing in the Burnham half and were rewarded with the opening score. Sam Meadham joined the line from his wing to create the initial opening. The forwards were quickly in support to progress the ball through a series of rucks until Haydon Down was driven over for a try converted by Dan Retter, who was again deadly accurate, kicking five out of six conversions.


The Burnham restart kick went direct into touch and Luke Wells-Burr came into the line at the resulting scrum to break through the first line of defence. He drew the full back and sent Sam Meadham in under the posts.


Any thoughts of an easy romp were soon dispelled as the visitors got the kick right this time to put themselves on the attack. The pressure was rewarded with a penalty kicked by the fly half.


A good handling move put Burnham on the attack again and the Sidmouth defence was given a stern test, which they passed until a penalty enable them to clear upfield.


When the Chiefs turned over possession at a ruck inside their own half, excellent handling and support play created a try for Ethan Mead on the left wing.


Burnham finished the half strongly, pressing near the Sidmouth line. Josh Bess and Matt Farrington were yellow carded in quick succession and Burnham should have scored, when they created an overlap for their right winger, but the last pass was forward, and he was recalled. The halftime whistle followed with the score at 21-3.         


With Sidmouth still down to 13 men, Burnham started the second half as they had finished the first, but when they dropped the ball on the Sidmouth 22, Ethan Mead kicked it on and followed up to scoop it up and outpace the cover to touch down under the posts.


Even with the Chiefs restored to a full fifteen, Burnham continued to enjoy territorial advantage but could not break down the Sidmouth defence.


With ten minutes to go, the Chiefs eventually managed to work their way into the opposing 22. Good approach work by the pack, and a break by Ben Pratt, opened up the defence before good handling along the backline sent Ethan Mead in for his hattrick.


A few minutes later, a strong run by Haydon Down took play back into the Burnham 22, where Rory O’Brien finished off a slick handling move for the only unconverted try.


Burnham finished the game on the attack and were rewarded with a consolation try scored by the outside centre on the end of a tap penalty move. The fly half added the conversion to complete the scoring.




TRURO 1st XV 10  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  28


The Chiefs chalked up a third win in Cornwall to continue their rise up the league table. After a shaky start, they dominated much of the game in difficult conditions.


Overnight rain, a cold cross wind and frequent showers made life difficult for both teams, who did well to overcame the conditions and produce an entertaining game.


Truro made an excellent start after regaining possession from the kick off. They maintained possession through several phases. The Sidmouth defence proved resilient until the fifth minute, when Truro moved the ball quickly to an overlap on the left for the winger to sprint in at the corner for an unconverted try.


The Chiefs were soon on the attack at the other end, but a long period of pressure went unrewarded with Dan Retter uncharacteristically missing two kicks at goal. However, the fly half’s quick thinking eventually led to the Chiefs opening score. He took a quick tap penalty on the halfway line and the ball was quickly moved along the backline to Ethan Mead in space. He outpaced the cover and cut inside to touch down under the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.


The Chiefs continued to dominate territory and eventually, after a long period of pressure, Dan Retter dummied his way over following a ruck near the line. He converted his own try to make the halftime score 14-5.


Truro started the second half strongly and were soon pressing on the Sidmouth line. This time the defence held firm and, when the ball was knocked on, they started a counterattack, which took play from their own line into the Truro half.


The Sidmouth forwards had the Truro eight under pressure at two consecutive scrums inside the 22.  From the second, a move to the left was finished off by Sione Livai with a powerful drive over the line. Dan Retter converted.


Although the Chiefs continued to enjoy territorial advantage, they rarely looked like scoring a bonus point third try until two minutes from the end of normal time. Cameron Grainger, playing at flanker, made the initial break into the Truro 22 and the forwards were in quick support to carry the ball on through several phases until Sione Livai drove over for his second try, which was converted by Dan Retter.


Truro went on the attack straight from the restart kick and, deep into injury time scored a second try, when the outside centre cut through a gap to gallop over. The try was unconverted.    





A good crowd was in attendance to see the Chiefs defy the gluepot surface to produce a champagne performance of 15-man rugby. The nil was as satisfying as the 67 for Torquay certainly had their moments but could not penetrate the increasingly impressive Sidmouth defence.


The Chiefs showed their intent right from the kick off with a fine handling move, which put them in an attacking position. Torquay were penalised and Dan Retter opened the scoring with the first of ten successful kicks out of eleven.


Torquay went straight on to the offensive from the restart kick, but five minutes of pressure went unrewarded. When the Chiefs eventually turned over possession and broke out into Torquay territory, Dan Retter kicked a second penalty.


Two minutes later, from a scrum on halfway, Rory O’Brien came from the right wing to take the ball in the fly half position to set up Harry Chesterton on a break through the centre. He was supported by Ben Pratt and O’Brien was on hand to run in under the post.


The forwards won the ball at a Torquay lineout to provide the backs with time and space. Quick handling put Ethan Mead in space on the left wing and the prolific youngster outpaced the defence to score in the corner. The scorer then turned provide, when he joined the line in the centre. He was tackled short of the line but Dan Retter was on hand to pick up and dart over for try number four.


Rory O’Brien scored a second try, when he followed up a Luke Wells-Burr kick. The Torquay winger dropped the ball as he was tackled, and the right winger gathered it up to run in at the corner unopposed.


In the closing stages of the half, another handling error by the visitors was punished by a counterattack finished off by Ethan Mead. The halftime score was 41-0.


Torquay rallied to have the better of territorial advantage during the opening ten minutes of the second half. They stemmed the flow of Sidmouth points but could not make an impression on the well-organised defence.


When the Chiefs regained some fluency in their play, they advanced the ball through several phases until Johnny Hamill found a gap on the blindside of a ruck 5 metres out to dart over under the posts.


Torquay dominated proceedings through the middle of the half, but, despite the loss of Nick Mills to the sin bin, the Chiefs kept their line intact.


Like George Foreman in the “rumble in the jungle”, they eventually punched themselves out and the Chiefs ran in three tries in the closing minutes.


Jack Pyne scored twice, first bursting over from a ruck near the line, then he peeled off a driving maul to crash over. The latter being the only unconverted try.


Deep into injury time, Sione Livai put the finishing touch to a handling move following a quick lineout throw.