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Somerset Premier League: Chard 36pts, Midsomer Norton 10
11:49am Monday 7th February 2011 in Rugby
AFTER some fairly comfortable wins in recent weeks Chard needed a much more competitive match and this was certainly a strongly contested game for at least the first sixty minutes before the greater fitness and pace in the Chard side pulled them away to yet another bonus point victory which kept them comfortably in the play off zone.
Once again the depth of the current home squad was needed with centre Lee Massey and front row forward Chris Bond joining the ranks of the injured.
Second XV skipper Matt Tinley was promoted into the team for the first time this season taking the place of Massey.
Chard started the game brilliantly with a lovely try straight out of the Steve Broome coaching manual.
They won the ball from a set piece and fly half Neil Douglas gave an inside pass to winger George Herbert who took the ball at a great angle to burst through and score under the posts. James Twigg converted.
Any thoughts that the game would be easy however were soon dispersed when the visitors took the game to Chard and drove them back with some good play.
Their efforts were rewarded when they equalised after breaking through several tackles which allowed Matt Edgell to score in the corner.Tom Rideout added the extra points.
The game was evenly contested for the next quarter but Chard always looked as if they had the edge in terms of pace and when the ball did go down through the backs winger Simon Boyd was too quick for his opposite number and went over in the corner for an unconverted try.
Chard led by 12pts-7 at the interval. Chard brought on Jim Wagstaff and Ben King in the second-half in place of Boyd and Scott Johnson.
Chard now had the advantage of the strong wind in their favour and after five minutes Herbert went over for his second try after another fine turn of speed.
Norton responded by kicking a penalty goal which brought them back to within one score.
Chard looked a fitter outfit than Norton and with their strong pack beginning to dominate Chard were able to step up a gear.
Alan Henley in the back row was having a particularly excellent game it came as no surprise when Chard increased their lead when from a five-metre scrummage Ryan Helliar picked up the ball and burst over for a fourth try which confirmed the bonus point.
Neil Douglas was orchestrating things from number 10 and he deservedly went over for try number five which Twigg converted.
In the last quarter Chard totally dominated play and the willing but flagging visitors defended manfully but could not prevent hooker Ben Robinson from setting up Herbert for another try which was again converted by Twigg.
Chard are away at Gordano on Saturday.