Western Counties West
Wellington 51, Chard 28

THIS was not a great start to the new season for Chard, who conceded eight tries away to Somerset neighbours Wellington in front of a 300-plus crowd on Saturday, writes Glyn Hughes.

The visitors started the game sluggishly despite having the advantage of the slope, and were soon in trouble when they were caught napping by the lively Wellington backs, who moved the ball wide very quickly to create an overlap and a converted try.

Within a very short time Chard had conceded two more tries, both of which came in similar fashion to the first.

The home side were also aided by some shocking first-up tackling by Chard, and were 19-0 up after only 10 minutes.

At this point a real cricket score looked on the cards, but the away team did improve in the next quarter and got on the board when Charlie Roberts kicked a penalty, and then left winger Emile Szydelko showed a good turn of speed to beat his opposite number on the outside for a fine try.

Another Roberts penalty reduced the arrears to 19-11, and with a home player being sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle Chard had a good chance of levelling things up.

But they ended the half as sloppily as they had started it, and even with a man advantage were guilty of some very poor defensive play, allowing Wellington to canter in for two more tries before the interval, giving them a 31-11 half-time lead.

The visitors did not learn from their first-half errors and within in a few minutes of the restart they had conceded a penalty goal and a sixth try, which put Wellington 39-11 clear.

Chard fought back through Ieuan Watkins’ try before Wellington went in for their seventh.

The visiting forwards then shoved their counterparts back following a five-metre scrum and number eight Max Gosden got the touchdown.

The home team again cut through the Chard defence like butter to score their eighth try, but in the dying minutes of the game Gosden crossed for a try which at least gave his side a try bonus point.

As well as Wellington played, this was a real wake-up call for Chard, who know now they have to be up for games right from the start, and they certainly could do without players calling off at the last minute.