Match Reports


CHARD 1st XV  24  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  27


The injury hit Sidmouth pack emerged from this very competitive, physical encounter battered but unbroken, while the opportunism of the speedy backs secured a close bonus point victory to maintain their unbeaten record at the top of the league.


Injuries a few minutes either side of half time put influential players, skipper Ollie Pyne and fly half Dan Retter, out of the game leaving the Chiefs an uphill battle to hang on to an eight-point half time lead. A high penalty count against them saw them fighting a rear-guard action right to the end of an absorbing game.


Any thoughts of an easy afternoon were dispelled immediately following the kick off, when a handling error gave Chard an attacking scrum inside the Sidmouth 22. The visitors’ scrum was shunted back yards before the home number eight broke to set up a series of rucks on the Sidmouth line until a forward forced his way over for an unconverted try.


The Chiefs response was positive as they went on the offensive straight from the restart kick. A strong run from Peli Vea was stopped just short of the line, where a penalty was awarded at the resulting ruck. Dan Retter kicked the three points.


A long diagonal kick by Dan Retter put the Chiefs back deep into Chard territory, where they set up a series of attacks. Ollie Pyne crossed in the corner but was recalled for a foot in touch. Then a Sam Meadham break was stopped just short of the line, where a penalty enabled Chard to relieve the pressure with a clearance kick to touch.


From a lineout on halfway, Dan Retter dummied his way through a gap before passing on to Sam Meadham. The full back made ground into the 22 before sending James Powell over for a try converted by Retter.


The Chiefs failed to control the ball from the restart kick and another powerful Chard scrummage set up a siege on the Sidmouth line until a forward forced his way over for a try converted by the fly half.


When Sam Meadham fielded a clearance kick on his own 10 metre line, he set off on a 50-metre run, which left four defenders in his wake. His well-timed pass put Luke Wells-Burr clear for a third try, which was unconverted.


When the Chiefs turned over possession inside their own half, the ball was cleared upfield. Rory O’Brien followed up to gather the bouncing ball and had just enough pace to reach the line. Seven minutes of injury time followed before the half time whistle blew with the Chiefs ahead 20-12.


The Chiefs kicked off with the diagonal breeze in their favour but the concession of three penalties in quick succession put Chard on the attack. A series of rucks near the Sidmouth line stretched the defence and the outside centre exploited a gap to score an unconverted try.


Chard continued to dominate territory as the Chiefs continued to concede penalties. So, it was against the run of play that Luke Wells-Burr intercepted on his own 22 and sprinted clear to score the bonus point fourth try. Luke Bess added the conversion.


The game continued to play out for the most part in the Sidmouth half but a few adjustments to the line up saw the Sidmouth scrum more than holding its own, a factor which would influence the final outcome as a major weapon in the Chard armoury was neutralised.


The situation changed in favour of the home side when Peli Vea was yellow carded with three minutes of normal time to go and Chard in full cry seeking at least two bonus points. They turned down kicks at goal, which would have secured them one bonus point, in the quest for a fourth try and additional bonus point. It eventually came in the fifth minute of injury time, when a forward drove over from close range. The successful conversion was followed by the final whistle.





BIDEFORD 2nds  0  v  SIDMOUTH 2nds  40

Sidmouth made the long journey north to Bideford looking to extend their lead at the top of the MeritTable.

A number of injuries and unavailability meant travelling with a depleted squad of only sixteen;
fortunately, this wasnʼt a factor in the end, as Sidmouth ran out comfortable winners.

The visitors began brightly and soon took the lead with an unconverted try courtesy of Chris Higgs.
The left wing touched down out wide following a powerful scrum by the Sidmouth forwards and
good handing by the backs. Straight from the restart Sidmouth were looking to attack again, and
attack they did. A second try (converted by Jake Watts) saw Sidmouth open up a twelve-point lead
in nearly as many minutes; after three quick phases, second row Jason Stephens burst through a
gap and sprinted in from just inside the Bideford half.

Bideford finally woke from their slumber to have a decent five minutes of pressure but couldnʼt
break down the resolute Sidmouth defence. Minutes later Sidmouth showed their hosts how to turnterritory and possession into points.

After a few phases deep in the Bideford twenty-two provided just enough space, fly-half Jake Watts bundled his way over the try line (with a little assistance from the post); Watts added the simple conversion.

Sidmouth were very nearly celebrating a third try moments later. Chris Higgs breached the Bideford
defensive line and sprinted clear; unfortunately, with only a few metres left to go the winger was
tackled by the cover defence, denying him his brace on his return to the team. The visitors didnʼt
have to wait long for their third try though. Sidmouth kept the pressure up and following another
steal against the head and a powerful scrum from the men in green, Number 8 Dan Ledger
controlled the ball well to score at the base; Jake Watts again converted. The try gave Sidmouth the bonus point and the victory was never in doubt from this moment on.

A short spell of play during which the scrums went uncontested - but Sidmouth sportingly allowed
Bideford to remain with fifteen players - came to an end with another Sidmouth try. Dan Rugg
playing in the unfamiliar role of outside centre, pounced on a Bideford error and capitalised fully,
sprinting in from twenty-five metres; Jake Watts again added the extra two points.

This was the final score of the opening forty minutes, but the remainder of the
half was still eventful for the wrong reason. The Bideford hooker was sent off for punching Carl Burrow, which necessitated a visit to hospital for the resulting wound to mbe stitched. The referee finished the half a few minutes early in order to let the tension die down.

The second half was a short affair, because after fifteen minutes or so the referee called time on
proceedings; as he was unable to continue through injury and a replacement official wasnʼt present.
Despite the short time available to them Sidmouth still managed to extend their lead with a
converted try. Adam Squance finished off the long spell of pressure scoring in the left corner.


SIDMOUTH 1st XV  29  v  BIDEFORD 1st XV  13


The Chiefs eventually wore down Bideford to record a bonus point win after the visitors were reduced to 14 men for most of the second half of a game which failed to warm a good crowd braving the cold northerly breeze blowing down the Blackmore Field.


Sidmouth made a promising start with an early try set up by the forwards with a driving maul from a lineout and finished by Haydon Down peeling off and driving over the line. Dan Retter added the conversion.


Bideford belied their lowly league position to rattle the Chiefs with hard running and tackling. They deservedly opened their account with a penalty after a period of pressure in Sidmouth territory.


Midway through the half it seemed normal service was resumed with a well-worked try after a run by Josh Bess put his forwards on the front foot. Quick delivery from a ruck just outside the Bideford 22 saw the ball reach Sam Meadham entering the line at pace. His inside pass put Tom Hodge through a gap to score near the posts leaving Dan Retter a routine conversion kick.


Bideford hit back immediately, when the Chiefs failed to control the ball from the restart kick. The visitors regained possession and they advanced the ball through a series of rucks until a forward drove over from close range for a converted try.


With the Chiefs in full cry attacking the Bideford line, a defender was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck in front of the posts. Instead of taking the three points on offer, the Chiefs opted for a scrum. With the visitors’ pack retreating rapidly it seemed that the decision would pay off, but the ball was knocked on and Bideford were not just able to clear the danger but were soon on the attack.


Bideford kicked a penalty in injury time to leave the chiefs just one point ahead at half time.


No sooner had their player returned from the sin bin than Bideford were reduced to 14 players once again. This time the cause was an injury to a second front row player resulting in the referee having to order uncontested scrums as a suitable front row replacement was not available. Regulations require that the injured player cannot be replaced in these circumstances.


The uncontested scrums nullified an area, which the Chiefs had been dominating though had not been taking full advantage of.


The situation inspired Bideford to even greater effort and the next ten minutes were played in Sidmouth territory. When a Sidmouth attempted clearance kick was charged down on their goal line, the ball bounced fortunately for a Sidmouth player to touch down.


The Chiefs took advantage of the let off to increase their lead with an excellent try. A good handling move delivered the ball to George Locke on the right wing. From 30 metres out, he broke two tackles on his way to the line. The try was unconverted.


The Chiefs took control in the closing stages as the visitors tired, but the bonus point try seemed to be elusive until Peli Vea intercepted a loose pass on the Bideford 22 to set up a try for Cameron Grainger. Dan Retter converted and added a penalty in injury time to give a deceptively comfortable final score-line.







Sidmouth 2nd XV 23 – Ilfracombe 1st XV 12

Sidmouth’s seconds continued their excellent start to the season with a hard-fought win over a strong and determined Ilfracombe side. With Sidmouth topping the table on a 6-game winning run and Ilfracombe lying second the visitors travelled with the clear intent of reversing the order. Sidmouth, however, fielded a strong squad well balanced between younger players in their first season of senior rugby and senior players with strong pedigrees. The home team started strongly forcing Ilfracombe to concede a penalty in their own half which was well taken by Jake Watts who continues his impressive run of form. As in previous matches the Sidmouth pack dominated the forwards battle in the scrum, lineout and mauls achieving the first try of the day through George Jarman’s touchdown at the end of a well-controlled forward drive. Ilfracombe seemed undaunted and through several of their larger, experienced forwards executed a long sequence of pick and go plays, although they made yards they were unable to breach the Sidmouth line. In a reversal of tactics, the home forwards made their presence felt with another rolling maul driving hard at the visitor’s line resulting in Carl Burrow grounding the ball and Jake Watts converting.

The half time score of 15 – 0 was a fair reflection of Sidmouth’s superiority in the first 40 minutes, which continued for the first minutes after the restart. An exceptional individual effort by Ollie Perez chasing down a through kick which was misjudged by the defending player allowing Ollie to gather and score in the corner. This score however appeared to galvanize Ilfracombe who imposed themselves onto the game using both forwards and backs in a series of well executed moves. Their determination resulted in two tries which together with several injuries and replacement players introduced by the home side made the final quarter a tense affair. The Sidmouth defense, which has played a significant part in this season’s successes, again held firm with some excellent work by the entire team. A second penalty converted by Jake Watts settled any nervousness within both the team and the crowd and inspired Sidmouth to resist the final assaults on their line. The referee’s whistle brought to an end a most entertaining contest which will be repeated in Ilfracombe on 1st December, it will be a long journey and a hard match but a day to look forward.