South West 1 West
Chard 38, Bridgwater & Albion 5
CONSIDERING the league positions of each side this was a stunning win for Chard against their local rivals, writes Glyn Hughes.
Chard have lost several players to injury too, so this win was all the more satisfying.
Bridgwater, who had won their previous four games, were on top in the opening 10 minutes but Chard gradually got back into the game.
However, with Chard putting Bridgwater under pressure in their own 22, some poor handling allowed the visitors to make a timely interception close to their own line and the resulting counter-attack ended with a try for Stuart Heal after 17 minutes, Heal missing the conversion.
Chard were looking strong up front but their lineout play was very hit and miss, and this prevented them from making use of the territorial advantage gained.
Chard had a bit of a let-off when what appeared to be a perfectly good second try for Bridgwater was disallowed by the unsighted referee.
From this point onwards, things changed dramatically and a dominant Chard deservedly went ahead with a try from Taalieb Johnson, which was converted by Oesman.
Shortly before half time, Johnson got his second try when his blistering pace won the chase for the touchdown following a splendid kick ahead, to make it 12-5.
Chard were making a lot of handling errors initially in the half, but looked really dangerous when they did manage to hang on to the ball.
CONTEST: Michael Hartley looks for a way through for Chard against Bridgwater & Albion. Pic: Steve Richardson
The hosts had to make a few changes having lost the services of two players to injury, including skipper Ryan Helliar, but despite this they remained well on top.
Winger Matt Tinley dropped a certain try-scoring pass but minutes later made amends when he got Chard’s third touchdown, finishing off a stunning counter-attack from deep inside his own half, and Oesman added the points.
Chard were now on a roll and, before long, they had the bonus-point try their performance deserved when Johnson crossed for try number four, which he converted himself to put Chard well clear.
Further tries came in the final 10 minutes, with Siljeur and Johnson going over for tries five and six, Oesman converting both.
Away from the points scorers, flanker Jason Wright had another great game but special mention must be for Chard’s two young props – Benn Mainwaring and Liam Mustchin – who, at 20 and 19, respectively, have come into the side following njuries to Luke Aplin and Dave Biss, and both are showing they have a huge amount of potential.
It was a great win for Chard, having scored six fine tries, and everyone at the club hopes this form will continue into the remaining four games.
They remain 12th in the table, third from bottom, but are now five points clear of 13th-placed Kingsbridge.
Chard have no fixture this coming weekend but the clubhouse will be open for all local rugby fans to come and watch England play Ireland in the Six Nations.
IN Somerset 2 South, Chard 2nds XV were beaten 44-34 away to Bridgwater 3rds.
On Saturday, they visit Somerton.
And in Somerset 3 South, Chard 3rds lost 33-5 at home to Wincanton; they are without a game on Saturday.