Western Counties West

Saltash 26, Chard 24

FOR the neutral supporter, this must have been a great game to watch in that it really was a game of two halves, writes Glyn Hughes.

But for the Chard supporters, despite an excellent performance in the second half, it was very disappointing in that it was yet another one that was allowed to get away.

Saltash had the advantage of the slope and elements in the first half and were 26 points clear at half-time.

Chard should have taken the lead in the opening minute but the referee ruled the ‘scorer’ had made a double movement when getting the touchdown.

Saltash moved the resulting penalty well to score a great try with full-back Ryan Cruikshanks getting the touchdown after a speedy run down the left.

Fly-half Keiron Down got the conversion to add to Chard's disappointment.

Chard struggled against the elements and Saltash created overlaps at will.

They scored two more tries midway through the half, from Max Venables and Philip Eatwell. Down added one conversion and with only 20 minutes gone Chard were seemingly dead and buried as they now trailed by 19pts.

Venables added a bonus point try just before the interval, again converted, and, although putting in plenty of effort, tactically, Chard played poorly.

What a change in the second half!

It took Chard ten minutes to work out how to play with the elements but got on the scoresheet when the impressive Luke Hill at tight head got the touchdown; Niall Crouch adding the extra points.

With less than 15minutes remaining, Hill got his second try and, with Crouch kicking splendidly despite the swirling wind, Chard trailed by just 12 points.

Emile Szydelko, potentially an exciting player, made several telling breaks and was justly rewarded when he went over for an unconverted try.

Then, with seconds to go, Chard ran the ball from their own half and Szydelko beat the covering Saltash defence to squeeze over in the corner.

The very difficult conversion kick was struck well but agonisingly grazed the upright before falling wide.

A great fightback but, from a Chard point of view, this was another defeat on the road which means they have now lost all five of their away games.

They were well beaten in two of these but really could have won all the other three.

They need to be positive from the off and must reduce the number of penalties conceded.

Chard - E Szydelko, R Colenso, B Brookes, B Biss, I Watkins, N Crouch, R Helliar, L Hill, J Mainwaring, D Biss, A Moore, M Gosden, S Johnson, J Wright, M Tinley. Replacements B Stead, W Lewis, B Locke.

Chard will get a real test at home on Saturday when they entertain leaders Sidmouth (ko 2.15pm).

Chard urge their supporters to turn up in numbers to be the extra man for their team.