Western Counties West
Chard 22, Kingsbridge 12

SATURDAY’S home win over Kingsbridge brought a thoroughly deserved four points for a Chard team fighting hard to move clear of the relegation zone, writes Glyn Hughes.

Not only was this a vital result, but the way the team played was a real morale-booster, with the whole squad giving their everything.

The collective effort, commitment and spirit shown by the players delighted all those who braved the appalling conditions to cheer them on.

The hosts played against the elements in the first half, and a strong and useful-looking Kingsbridge team dominated the early stages.

But Chard held out and, against the run of play, took the lead when Billy Brooks made a timely interception, and after some enterprising play he was on hand to touch down close to the posts.

Unfortunately Niall Crouch could not add the extra points, and the visitors were soon back on the attack.

The home side’s tackling had to be sharp to keep the visitors out, but just as it appeared they had weathered the storm, Kingsbridge scored a terrific team try, David Stevens getting on the end of a fluent move.

Fly-half George Banfield added the extra points from the touchline to make it 7-5.

The visitors then increased their lead when lock forward Tom Meatyard crossed in the left-hand corner, though this try went unconverted.

Chard’s attempts to hit back were frustrated initially, but things changed dramatically in the final minutes of the half, when they got on the scoreboard twice.

First, Crouch kicked a penalty goal, and then the forwards – led by Joe Mainwaring, Max Gosden and Scott Johnson – made their presence count by driving over the Kingsbridge line, the impressive Adam Moore getting the score.

Crouch added the extras and Chard ended the half 15-12 up.

The second half saw the hosts dominate, and the loss of a player to the sin bin hardly helped Kingsbridge, so it was no surprise when Moore crossed for his second try.

The referee ordered Crouch to retake his conversion, but he kept his cool to bring the score to 22-12.

The weather was now absolutely appalling, and as well as the driving rain and wind the teams had to cope with an increasingly muddy and sticky surface.

Mistakes from both sides were inevitable, but Chard rarely looked liked surrendering their lead.

Chard: Ieuan Watkins, Sam Mouland, Billy Brooks, Ryan Helliar (c), Emile Szydelko, Niall Crouch, George Russo, Nick Hyslop, Joe Mainwaring, Dave Biss, Adam Moore, Tristan Smith, Max Gosden, Warren Lewis, Scott Johnson. Replacements (all used): Connor Moon, Jon Hendy, Ben Stead.

There is no game for Chard this Saturday, but February 9 sees them go to Paignton.

Bottom side Paignton beat Bideford at the weekend, meaning that the bottom of the table has tightened up – Paignton now have 22 points, Bideford and Winscombe 26, Chard 29 and Saltash 31.

Somerset 2 South
Chard 2nds 14, Morganians 6

CHARD's Wing Commanders' ambition to rise up the table was given another boost when they beat third-placed Morganians at Crewkerne Road on Saturday.

Unusually for the Chard men, numbers were slightly down due to various mis-communications, so they started with only a couple of subs, forcing some players to last the 80.

Chard started into the wind and up the hill knowing a massive effort was required in the first half to keep the opposition from scoring.

Conditions got worse as time went on with driving rain and with all the early pressure from Chard but two knock-ons in line out drives and one knock-on from heavy ball carrying close to the line set the tone for the rest of the game.

Morgs kicked well, pinning Chard in their own half, and the visitors went in 6-0 up at half time.

Early in the second half, Chard scored a try through a driving maul, Tom Monaghan being on the end of it, and Tim Gibbs slotted the kick to give Chard the lead.

Soon after, influential Josh Strickland suffered a serious face injury and Gavin Watts soon followed him to A&E.

Morganians were not able to capitalise as the Chard pack continued to dominate through, Benn Mainwaring, Brian Sugar and Joel Nicholls.

Captain Jim Flossey stepped in at 10 and did a great job, orchestrating Matt Dunn's try, Gibbs adding the extras, to secure the win.

Next weekend is a break before they welcome Weston-super-Mare 4ths on February 9.