Western Counties (W)

Kingsbridge 39, Chard 5

CHARD suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Kingsbridge on Saturday but despite the final score line Chard coach Jon Hendy had no complaints after the gutsy performance given by his side, writes Glyn Hughes.

For long periods the game was evenly contested but Kingsbridge, like so many in this tough league, are strong on their own patch - particularly when they have the benefit of the slope in the second half which they are more than adept at using to their full advantage.

Things did not start well for Chard even before the match started with two late withdrawals on Friday evening meaning that Chard travelled with only two on the bench.

Chard played well in the opening half but a couple of penalty kicks into the corner put Chard under pressure and, after several pick and drive moves, Kingsbridge went ahead with a try from Palmer which was converted by Newman.

Newman increased the Kingsbridge advantage to 10 when he successfully kicked a penalty after Chard number eight Helliar was yellow carded along with the home eight.

Niall Crouch was kicking well at fly half and both sets of forwards were involved in a ding dong battle up front; Chard were edging the set piece with the front row of Dave Biss Luke Aplin and Ben Robinson again looking powerful.

Crouch set up a score for Chard when he whipped an inside pass to Emile Szydelko which split the home defence and opened up a path to the corner for a superb try.

The conversion was missed in the very windy conditions but, at 10-5, Chard were back in the mix and half time was reached with the score unchanged.

Kingsbridge are a good side and in the second half they had three purple patches, scoring two tries on each occasion.

Chard were defending heroically but unfortunately lost flanker Jason Wright to the bin for ten minutes for persistent infringement.

There was no lack of effort or commitment from the Chard players but Kingsbridge were clinical when chances arose.

Chard:- Biss, Robinson, Aplin, Gosden , Tinley(Capt) Elliot, Wright, Helliar, Nicholls, Crouch, Baker, Riley, Brooks, Szydelko, Edwards; replacements (used): Hendy, Moore

This Saturday, Chard have an attractive home game against local rivals Honiton kicking off at 2.30pm.

Honiton pulled themselves clear of the relegation zone on Saturday with a superb win against Bideford and will be keen to get revenge for the narrow loss they suffered at the hands of Chard earlier in the season. This will no doubt be another terrific battle.