CHARD had to dig really deep to earn a 19-11 victory at Cullompton side in Tribute South West 1 West.

Expectations were high following the previous week’s great win against St Austell.

But those supporters who expected a comfortable win for their team realised very quickly that there are very few easy games in this league.

Chard opted to play down the slight slope in the opening half but Cullompton had the first opportunity to score when they were awarded a penalty in the opening minutes.

The kick drifted wide of the upright and the next ten minutes of play were very evenly contested.

Chard then got in to their stride and fed the ball wide several times before the ball eventually got into the hands of centre Lee Massey who scorched over in the left hand corner.

Skipper Chris Doak added the extras to put Chard seven points clear.

Cullompton then had a lot of the play with their policy of pick and drive but the Chard defence was solid and were not really in much danger of conceding a try.

Chard lost influential forward Jim Wagstaff through injury after 20 minutes play and he was replaced by the useful Max Gosden.

Chard then had a long-range effort at a penalty but Doak’s kick lacked distance and direction in the tricky, windy conditions.

On the half hour also Chard lost Massey to injury and he was replaced by his brother Joe.

Chard’s interpretation of the rules certainly did not match that of the referee and and it was no surprise that Cullompton pulled three points back from the boot of full-back Adam Pearce to leave the score 7-3 at the interval.

Shortly into the second half – with Chard continuing to give away too many penalties – the hosts got within a point when Pearce slotted over his second penalty of the afternoon.

Chard then lost their third player to injury when full-back Bryan Harrison took an accidental blow to the face.

However the Chard forwards were getting on top and following a five metre scrum Gosden crashed over for a second Chard try, again converted by Doak.

At this point Chard looked the stronger side and some more solid work resulted in winger Charlie Roberts getting through the narrowest of spaces to touch down in the corner for a try which this time went unconverted.

Chard lost Simon Jenkins to injury and as they reorganised the Cullompton forwards gained some ground and flanker Sam Harris squeezed over for a try which Pearce failed to convert.

Chard soon got back into the home half and had two opportunities to convert easy penalties but rightly chose to try and go for a fourth bonus point score. Unfortunately their efforts were successfully defended.

Cullompton were looking for one more score which would have given them a losing bonus point for being within seven points but their final attempt to cross the Chard line was thwarted by a knock-on.

On the balance of play Chard deserved to win although they had been made to work hard throughout and their late challenge for honours is still in place.

Chard: Harrison, Roberts, Douglas, Massey, Pennington, Doak, Nicholls Wagstaff, Parsons, Wright, Mouland, Henley, Hyslop, Jenkins and Aplin. Replacements: Massey, Robinson and Gosden (all used).