Western Counties West

Chard 37, Honiton 31

A BUMPER sponsors' day crowd of around 300 were treated to a very entertaining game between local rivals Chard and Honiton played on a super surface on Saturday, writes Glyn Hughes.

Chard had the benefit of a strong wind at their backs in the first half and, right from the first scrummage, the Chard forwards drove their counterparts back at a rate of knots which must have alarmed the visiting support.

Chard were well placed to go ahead almost immediately but were penalised right on the line because a player picked up the ball in an offside position.

Honiton weathered this early storm and went ahead on their first visit to the Chard half when Olie Cave kicked a penalty.

Almost immediately the lead was increased to 10 points when, after some poor defensive tackling, James Coutts Tucker had a clear run to the line for a try converted by Cave, who enjoyed a virtually faultless performance.

Chard were ten points down after dominating most of the play but they reacted well and Emile Szydelko eased over for their first try after 15 minutes.

The Chard pack were looking unstoppable in the Honiton half and the hosts drew level when scrum-half Paul Nicholls touched down for an unconverted try following a big drive.

Chard at last took the lead when Helliar broke off the back of a scrum to force his way over for another unconverted try.

A yellow card did not help Honiton and, after more good work by the forwards, Nicholls again touched down for the bonus point fourth try.

He converted the try himself to put his team 12 points clear.

Szydelko always looks dangerous with the ball in hand and he was set up for his second try by the outstanding play of hooker Ben Robinson, who burst through a gap before releasing the ball perfectly to allow the winger enough space to get through.

The extra points were not added but Chard reached the interval well in command at 27-10 up.

Honiton started the second half well and had a clear plan as to how to use the wind to their advantage.

Chard were under pressure and also lost Szydelko to the bin for a high tackle.

Honiton took advantage of the extra man and flanker Ben Small got their second try and Cave made kicking look easy again by having no problem with the conversion.

Players from both sides got yellow cards for technical infringements before Robinson, who had a terrific game, benefited from more great work by his fellow forwards to score a sixth unconverted try for Chard.

It was now an end to end affair and Cave reduced the arrears with a well worked try which he converted himself to bring the score to 32-24.

Another try for Honiton at this time would have made things really interesting in the final quarter but some nifty handling by the Chard backs gave Szydelko a great opportunity and he made no mistake to score in the corner.

With various stoppages, the clock said 54 minutes when Honiton were awarded a penalty with the last play of the game.

Cave made the most of it and scored his second and the team's fourth, which gave Honiton two very welcome and deserved bonus points which could prove pivotal in their fight against relegation

Chard had scored seven tries but only converted one while Honiton's Cave did not miss a kick.

A great game for the sponsors, without whom running the club would be nigh on impossible, so many thanks to them all.

Chard: Stead, Edwards, Crouch, Brooks, Szydelko, Thomas, Nicholls, Biss, Robinson, Aplin, Gosden, Tinley (c), Elliot, Riley, Helliar, Replacements:- Moore, Colenso, Hendy (all used)

On Saturday, Chard have a long away trip to Penryn in Cornwall.