Western Counties West
Chard 12, Wellington 43

A CROWD in excess of 350 turned up for this local derby match, with a lot riding on the result for both teams, writes Glyn Hughes.

However, in the final analysis, it would be results elsewhere which would determine the league positions for both teams.

Wellington needed to win and hope that Sidmouth or Crediton dropped points so they could sneak into the runners-up position and get promotion through the play-offs.

But both of these teams had comprehensive wins, so Wellington ended up in third.

Chard needed to win to guarantee survival, or Truro had to lose at Falmouth.

Truro were in front until the final seconds when Falmouth were awarded a penalty kick, which was converted, sparing Chard and sending Truro down along with Paignton.

Chard ended up just one point above Truro; the last-minute try at Wadebridge last weekend gave them that extra point!

Wellington looked to be the best team to have played at Chard this season, and although the hosts gave a spirited performance throughout, the away side pulled away in the final quarter to claim a thoroughly deserved victory.

Wellington took the lead with a try from Chris Kitto after only five minutes, which was converted by Rob Hooper.

Jack Richards added a second try after 24 minutes and Kitto got his second not long before the interval.

Both tries were unconverted as Wellington led 17-0 at half-time, but then Chard came back strongly at the beginning of the second half.

Emile Szydelko, scorer of the vital try at Wadebridge the week before, made a terrific run down the left and powered his way over in the corner.

Niall Crouch added the conversion points to put Chard right back in the mix.

Not too long afterwards, their forwards showed their strength when they forced their opposite numbers back and scrum-half Ross Colenso went over for a second try; it was unconverted but Chard were now within five points.

At this point it looked as if Chard would get something from the game, as they were playing very well.

Wellington are, however, an outstanding team, and had strength and pace throughout their side.

This really came to the fore in the final quarter, with further tries from Richards, Cameron Venn, Liam Phillips and Dan Goldstone.

Hooper added three more conversions to seal a good win for the visitors.

They knew they had been in a game, however, and the efforts of the entire Chard squad could not be faulted.

On that performance it was difficult to understand why Wellington were not getting promoted and they will, no doubt, look back on missed opportunities in games which were drawn and not won.

It was wonderful entertainment for the spectators, and the Chard players could celebrate ‘The Great Escape’, knowing they will remain at Western Counties level next season.