Brave Sidmouth display with 14 men earns scant reward
- Credit: Sidmouth RFC
Promotion chasing Devonport Services were visibly relieved at the final whistle to have held on for a 14-9 win against a determined Sidmouth side.
Sidmouth soon forced Services to concede a penalty in front of their post for Dan Retter to kick his side into an early lead.
A good handling move from halfway put the Chiefs back on the attack but hooker Jed Reid injured a leg in a tackle and had to leave the field to be replaced by Asa Unsworth. The Chiefs attempted a lineout catch-and-drive but were stopped just short of the line.
On the half-hour mark, Josh Bess was yellow carded for an illegal tackle and Services kicked their way back into the 22.
Dan Rugg, who had already had treatment twice for a leg injury, was forced to leave the field. With no remaining front row replacement, the referee ordered uncontested scrums. As a result, Rugg could not be replaced, and the Chiefs played the remainder of the half with 13 men.
Restored to 14 players, with their captain returning soon after the restart, Sidmouth increased their lead thanks to a second Dan Retter penalty.
Services responded almost immediately with a fine display of handling and support play to create a try scored by the outside centre. The conversion gave them a slender lead.
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Despite the setback, the Chiefs kept play predominantly inside the Services half and were attacking strongly at the decisive moment of the game. They lost possession inside the Services 22 and the ball was kicked long into the unguarded Sidmouth 22. The left winger outpaced the cover to hack the ball over the line and win the chase for the touchdown. The conversion opened up an eight-point gap.
Sidmouth dominated the closing stages and a third Dan Retter penalty put them within five points, but had to settle for a losing bonus point.
On Saturday the Chiefs make the long journey to play Lydney. On the Blackmore Field the Quins entertain Paignton 2nds kicking off at 2.30pm. The Colts travel to Teignmouth.
The traditional Boxing Day match against the President’s XV kicks off at 2.30pm.