Wellington Under-18 Ladies 20, Chard Under-18 Ladies 44

AFTER a tough start to their season away to Dings of Bristol in October, Chard Under-18 Ladies travelled to Wellington on Sunday, for what proved to be a competitive and exhilarating match, writes David Webb.

The first half was a very close affair, with the early stages dominated by the Chard forwards, resulting in an early try for captain Talia Treble.

Wellington countered by playing to their strengths, using their fast and mobile backs, and their centre broke through a gap to score.

This set the pattern for the first half, with both side intent on attacking rugby.

Chard's power forced the home defence back, allowing the backs to come more into the game.

With the forwards winning excellent ball, breaks from Daisy Lillywhite, Tamsin Mckerrow, Chloe Sochon and Maia Henley created space that was exploited by the powerful support play and offloading of Treble, Alisha Rolfe and Tori Edwards-Dobbs.

Player of the match Rolfe powered over for three tries in the first half, but these were matched by Wellington counter-attacks, resulting in three superb tries of their own.

There was only a conversion between the sides at half-time, with Chard ahead 22-20.

The third quarter was a much tougher affair, with both sides' defences being much more organised and aligned.

The tackling from both sides dominated proceedings, with hard but fair tackles ending promising attacks; Flo Bale made some excellent breaks only to be held up by tenacious Wellington defenders.

The only score in this quarter came once again from Rolfe, who gathered a loose kick and charged through to score.

The final quarter saw Chard dominate territory as the Wellington team started to tire (the advantage of three substitutes benefitting the visitors).

Now their backs started to come into their own, as Henley, Sochon and Lillywhite cut through the defence, but once again incredible last-ditch tackling prevented them scoring.

The pressure finally told, though, as Treble scored her second try, and two superb breaks by Henley and Narciso saw them both score excellent individual tries.

The final score of 44-20 was slightly tough on a battling Wellington side, but the spirit and sportsmanship was exemplary and a credit to both teams.