Western Counties (West)

Chard 23, Kingsbridge 21

THIS was a terrific game and both sides deserve the highest of praise for providing such fantastic entertainment, writes Glyn Hughes.

A try in the final moments of the game from young fly half Niall Crouch, who then proceeded to convert his own try, won the game for Chard giving them their third win of the season.

The game did not start well for Chard, who lost centre Joe Massey with a knee injury in the opening minute which meant Charlie Roberts moving inside from the wing and James Vining coming off the bench to play out wide.

In addition to the loss of Massey, Chard were really under the cosh in the opening quarter of the game and did not get out of their own half.

Kingsbridge spurned two easy penalty attempts to go for a bigger reward but the Chard defensive play to a man was absolutely superb during this period and they managed to hang on.

Kingsbridge then proceeded to give away a penalty the first time Chard got into their half and Crouch slotted the ball between the posts to give his team the lead.

Within minutes, Chard increased their lead with a wonderful try (apparently it was a training ground routine that had never worked before...).

Vining was involved, as was his opposite winger Huw Edwards, who got the touchdown.

Crouch missed the conversion but, from nowhere, Chard were now eight points clear.

Chard decided to spurn an easy penalty attempt right on the half time whistle but they made the doubters eat their words when Ryan Helliar went over for an unconverted effort.

After the break, Chard really took the game to Kingsbridge and their forwards dominated proceedings.

The front row of Luke Aplin, Ben Robinson and Dave Biss were particularly good, as was Liam Mustchin when he came on for Aplin.

Chard were somehow unable to add to the score during this period and, after 61 minutes, Kingsbridge were right back in the mix when they were awarded a penalty try which also resulted in impressive Chard scrum-half Ross Colenso suffering a double whammy, with a yellow card and a shoulder injury which resulted in him taking no further part in the game.

This score buoyed the visitors and they scored another good try within minutes when centre George Banfield got the touchdown and fly-half Ben Newman added the extras to put his team ahead for the first time

Kingsbridge were very poor from the restart, however, and gave away an immediate penalty which Crouch goaled to put Chard ahead once again.

With so many stoppages during the half, the game seemed to go on and on and when Ali Hamiliton scored a try converted by Newman it seemed all over for Chard.

However, in the final few plays of the match the visitors' scrum was destroyed by Chard several times and, with time running out, the opportunity arose for Crouch to sneak over for that final try.

A really good win tempered somewhat with the two injuries but hopefully Colenso and Massey will make a good and quick recovery.

Chard: Ben Stead, Charlie Roberts, Billy Brooks, Joe Massey, Huw Edwards, Niall Crouch, Ross Colenso, Ryan Helliar, Joe Mainwaring, Max Gosden, Adam Moore, Warren Lewis, Dave Biss, Ben Robinson, Luke Aplin. Replacements: Liam Mustchin, James Vining, Jon Hendy

On Saturday, Chard are away at Honiton for what is believed to be the first league encounter between the two sides although there have been many ‘friendly' matches over the years.

Honiton won the Junior Vase at Twickenham last season as well as getting promoted into this division.

It should be a very good game between two very useful sides - kick-off is at 3pm.


Two international players will be coming to Chard rugby club this coming Thursday (October 17) to take the club training session in the evening.

Don Armand (England) and Alex Cuthbert (Wales), both of whom play for Exeter Chiefs, will be on hand to lead the session.