Western Counties West

Chard 18, Saltash 13

THIS was a welcome win for Chard as they battle to get away from the relegation zone, writes Glyn Hughes.

They were pushed all the way by a very competitive Saltash team who were playing their first ever visit to Chard.

Chard started the game in great fashion and were awarded a penalty close to the posts in the opening minute.

They decided to go for the corner but then lost the lineout and the opportunity for an early try seemed to have gone.

However, from the scrummage that followed the Chard pack showed their power and won the ball against the head and skipper Ryan Helliar picked up and scored.

Niall Crouch missed the conversion and had to leave the field shortly afterwards with a leg injury and was replaced by Sam Mouland .

The Chard pack were well on top and drove Saltash back relentlessly.

This gave Chard's fine second row forward Adam Moore the opportunity to score a second try, with Emile Szydelko slotting the penalty.

A few minutes later, more fine work by the Chard forwards, with Dave Biss prominent, forced the visitors to give away a penalty and Szydelko did the honours to put Chard 15pts ahead with less than a quarter of the game gone.

At this stage, Chard were looking at a bonus point victory.

Saltash were now beginning to get into their stride and the whole game took on a new perspective.

For the rest of the half, Saltash had the better of things with their talented half-backs and number eight becoming more influential.

A few quick penalties and set up a try for their prop forward Simmons who went over for a try converted by Keiran Down.

Chard then lost their second player to injury when Moore had to leave the field and he was replaced by Matt Tinley.

Down kicked another penalty to reduce Chard's lead to 15-10 at the break.

Not long into the second half, Chard lost the services of Gabe Riley to the bin for ten minutes but their effort and enthusiasm when down to 14 men was terrific and they limited Saltash to one penalty which was again scored by Down.

Chard really upped their game and, but for some basic errors close to the visitors' line, would surely have scored a third try.

However, they got the next opportunity to score and Charlie Roberts added three points from a successful penalty.

In the final quarter, Chard were on top territorially but lost the services of hooker Joe Mainwaring with player coach Jon Hendy coming on as a replacement.

In the final minute of the game Saltash made a lovely break up field and were close to getting the converted try they needed to win the game.

However, a couple of massive hits from Tinley and prop Nick Hyslop turned the ball over and Chard held on for a nail-biting victory.

Chard - Charlie Roberts, Ben Stead, Gabe Riley, Billy Brooks, Emile Szydelko, Niall Crouch, Ross Colenso, Nich Hyslop, Joe Mainwaring, Dave Biss, Adam Moore, Max Gosden, Scott Johnson, Jason Wright, Ryan Helliar (c). Reps - Jon Hendy, Matt Tinley, Sam Mouland (all used).

Somerset 2S

Minehead Barbarians 2nds 12, Chard 2nds 20

CHARD Wing Commanders travelled to Minehead to play a team they convincingly beat earlier in the season at Crewkerne Road, writes Glyn Hughes.

Even with a few key players missing, notably Sam Mouland who had a late call up to the first team's victory over Saltash, Chard II still had a strong-looking side on paper.

Minehead did well to frustrate Chard's game plan leading to a messy game in the first half, with the visitors unable to build any momentum it was down to Ieuan Watkins to capitalise on Minehead's indiscipline scoring twice from the boot.

The game turned in Minehead's favour when Chard started to get on the wrong side of the referee giving away multiple penalties.

And a yellow card for Ben Lock saw Chard defending deep in their own half.

Although the defence was strong, inevitably the hosts broke through and scored an unconverted try to go in 6-5 at the break.

The second half started with Minehead taking the opportunities and Chard making sloppy mistakes.

Unusually poor defending allowed Minehead to pick-and-go, scoring a converted try and taking the lead for the first time in the match, 12-6.

The try was a wake-up call for Chard and, with the fresh legs of Ben Robinson and Tom Monaghan introduced from the bench, they started to win the physical game and pressurised the hosts in their own half .

Eventually, Jim Grossey crossed the line to score a proper team try and Watkins added the extras to go ahead 12-13.

Chard where now the dominant team and camped in the hosts' half.

All credit to the home defence who repelled Chard's advances but couldn't go forward themselves; in fact, with only half the pitch in use, birds started roosting in the Chard half.

Tim Gibbs was the man to get the next score off the back of the Chard's scrum dominance and, again, Watkins slotted the kick bringing the game to a close with another win for Chard's Wing Commanders.

After the game, Chard manager Luke Aplin was full of praise for the team saying that even though the match didn't start as planned the players dug deep and won by adapting to the situation.

He also mentioned Joshua Strickland for an outstanding individual effort.