Western Counties West

Chard 44, Cullompton 26

CHARD scored seven tries in this deserved win against Cullompton, who were relegated from South West 1 West last year, writes Glyn Hughes.

The hosts dominated the game for much of the time, but a crazy spell in the second quarter of the game when they conceded four tries might well have cost them the game.

However, Chard have a lot of character and responded superbly, scoring 29 unanswered points in the second half to claim a very good win.

Right from the start, the home forwards looked really sharp and having driven the visitors back at a rate of knots, they opened the scoring when flanker Jason Wright drove over for an unconverted try.

Cullompton continued to struggle against the Chard pack and a deliberate offence resulted in a yellow card.

The hosts took advantage almost immediately, as Joe Mainwaring forced his way over, and Niall Crouch added the conversion to put Chard 12-0 up.

However, from the restart the home side failed to find touch and Cullompton ran the ball back well, prop Kevin Davis scoring a good try which was converted by Ross Oaten.

Chard's tackling and defensive play, which had generally been sound up to this point, took a holiday and the visitors were quick to make the most of it.

Thomas Frankpitt got their second try, again converted by Oaten, and Chard were now two points down, having been on top for much of the game.

A neat penalty from Crouch put Chard back in front again, but then some more missed tackles and powerful running from Cullompton allowed Oliver Schuster-Wood to score their third try, Oaten adding the extras to make it 21-15.

At this stage Cullompton had really taken the initiative, and they went further ahead with a fourth try from Samuel Coffey; 26-15 down at half-time, Chard certainly needed to re-group.

Whatever was said in the huddle at the break certainly had the desired effect, as Chard were superb in the second period.

Within minutes they were right back in the game, as the excellent Mainwaring made the most of good lineout possession and sneaked over in the corner.

Crouch converted with an excellent kick and the hosts were now only four points behind, with most of the half still to come.

Another of Chard's outstanding young guns, Ross Colenso, had another good game at scrum-half and he finished off a great move to ease Chard into a slender one-point lead.

The momentum had well and truly swung now, and former skipper Ryan Helliar scored try number five – no doubt to celebrate the imminent arrival of his second child – before the lively Huw Edwards scored a classic winger's try.

Such was the Chard dominance in the second half that it was difficult to remember any significant excursions by Cullompton into the home 22.

Charlie Roberts, who had a very sound game, put the icing on the cake with an unconverted try in the final few minutes.

This was a very good result but Chard have to be aware that for the second week running they have allowed a team to score four tries.

There are no poor teams in this league and all have the talent and capability to punish basic errors.

Chard squad: Ben Stead, Dave Baker, Billy Brooks, Charlie Roberts, Huw Edwards, Niall Crouch, Ross Colenso, Dave Biss, Joe Mainwaring, Luke Aplin, Max Gosden, Adam Moore, Scott Johnson, Jason Wright, Ryan Helliar, Liam Mustchin, Warren Lewis.

This coming Saturday Chard are away at Falmouth (ko 3pm).