Tribute South West One West
Lydney 27-22 Sidmouth
A LARGE crowd turned out at Regentsholme and were served up a really close encounter.
This was a must win game for Lydney who were looking to continue with their promotion push – and the Severnsiders did not disappoint.
Playing in blustery conditions the visitors from Devon dominated the first period and having won at home a double looked on the cards.
However a complete turnaround in the second half saw them hardly get out of their own half and a rejuvenated as Lydney took control.
The Severnsiders began the scoring when Sidmouth let the ball go loose and winger Mike Cross ran in to score after just two minutes, Tony Wicks converting for a 7-0 lead.
But that was as good as it got for the Severnsiders in the opening half as errors crept in and Sidmouth got on top.
The visitors lay siege to the Lydney line and numerous penalties resulted in a yellow card for Harry Brown.
And a man up Sidmouth soon struck through winger Cian Warren to make it 7-5.
Continued Sidmouth pressure saw them go in front from a five-metre scrum drive, Aspieli Vea scoring the try converted by Dan Retter for a 12-7 lead.
A further Retter penalty soon followed to extend the lead to eight points.
And right on half-time Lydney made a huge error with a knock on in the 22m when an easy clearance kick was available.
From the scrum Sidmouth scored again through Rabbi Hansford, Retter adding the extras for a half- time score of 22-7.
Lydney started the second half strongly upping their intensity.
Centre Joe McClean could not be handled by the visitors and sustained pressure saw him crash through numerous tackles to get the home side back in the game with an uncoverted try to cut the deficit to 10 points.
Lydney were now dominant and it looked only a matter of time before further scores.
A good driving run from captain Dave Bennett was moved quickly across the backs and Joe Hamlin offloaded a deft pass to Tony Wicks to cross out wide.
Wicks converted his try and the Severnsiders were now right in the mix at 22-19 with 20 minutes still to play.
Apart from the restart Sidmouth struggled to get into the Lydney half as the home forwards took control.
Another turnover by Harry Brown gave quick ball to the backs to move out wide for Tai Lakabuka to beat two defenders and touch down in the corner.
Although the conversion was missed the Severnsiders now led 2422 with 13 minutes left and looked to manage the game to the whistle.
Lydney continued to dominate possession, but they could not get the vital score to close out the game.
Good efforts by Olle Locke, Ryan Watling and youngster Riley Scriven were all stopped just short.
The pressure told for the away side with numerous penalty infringements, one right in front of the posts that the Severnsiders opted to kick, extending the lead to 27-22 through Wicks which was the final score to complete a dramatic comeback.
Coach Lee Fortey said he was “really delighted but it was a game of two halves.”
“We made numerous errors in the first period and gave away lots of needless penalties.
“To be fair the visitors have a useful side and punished these mistakes. At half-time I just asked the players to up the tempo and keep the ball as I felt the game was still there for winning.”