Western Counties (West)

Bideford 18, Chard 8

The match was played in superb, 'un-rugby' type weather and was watched by a large crowd, writes Glyn Hughes.

On the balance of play, the home side just about deserved to win, particularly as they made the most of some poor Chard mistakes when the opportunity occurred.

In the past, Chard have had problems with availability for some away games so it was good to see a very strong side at Bideford with only hooker Joe Mainwaring unable to play following a re-occurrence of a back injury.

The early pressure came from Bideford but the Chard defensive play was exceptional throughout with Jason Wright, Gab Riley and Ross Colenso particularly prominent.

Chard were conceding far too many penalties, though, and because of long kicks to touch they were pinned back in their own half so it was no real surprise when the hosts eventually did score when full-back Reece Pearn went over for the opening try, which was unconverted.

Fly half Shaun East increased the lead to eight points before Chard deservedly reduced the arrears when Niall Crouch slotted over a good kick.

Chard had another opportunity but this time the kick sailed just wide of the posts.

Seconds before the end of the half, Chard conceded another penalty and with players disputing the decision the referee awarded the kick ten metres closer to the posts which brought it within range for East, who made no mistake to bring the half-time score to 11-3.

Chard had a disastrous start to the second half when some uncharacteristically sloppy passing in midfield was gratefully intercepted by the home centre who ran through unopposed to score a converted try under the posts.

The effort, commitment, and the intensity of the whole Chard team could not be faulted and they gave their all but unfortunately several aspects of their play on the day were not up normal standards.

This applied particularly to the lineout, where very little possession was gained, and to their kicking game, which was variable to say the least.

As a result, Chard had very little ball to work with but when they did get it right they showed what they were capable of .

Midway through the second half, the forwards who looked strong in all areas other than in the lineouts drove the Bideford team backwards and gained good position in the home 22.

The pressure told and Adam Moore scored a fine unconverted try in the right hand corner.

It looked likely that Chard would go on to get another score but it was not to be, so they have only gained one point from their first two games.

This Saturday, Chard have another derby game to look forward to when they entertain newly-promoted Wiveliscombe who had a good home win at the weekend against Saltash.

Chard team: Ben Stead, Jim Grossey, Billy Brooks, Charlie Roberts, Huw Edwards, Niall Crouch, Ross Colenso. Ryan Helliar, Gabriel Riley, Jason Wright, Matt Tinley(capt) Max Gosden, Luke Aplin, Jon Hendy, Dive Biss; Replacements;- Liam Mustchin, Adam Moore, James Vining (all used)

Chard 2nd xv were due to play Wiveliscombe 2nds in their first league match of the year but the game will have to be re-arranged because no referee was available.

This weekend, the 2nd XV are playing away at Wyvern.