Regional 2 Tribute Southwest: Chard RFC 23-41 Topsham RFC

CHARD RFC fought hard in tough conditions at the weekend but were ultimately beaten, 23-41, by Topsham RFC at home, writes Glyn Hughes.

The club expressed gratitude for the many local people who support the rugby club in many ways and were pleased to host a sponsor’s lunch and presentation prior to the game.

The largest crowd of the season was in place for this match against a Devon side who are doing well after getting promoted into this division.

After their fine win at Teignmouth last weekend Chard suffered another home loss but the final score certainly does not reflect the effort and commitment of the team and the game could have gone either way until the last ten minutes when the visitors ran in three late tries to clinch a victory. Topsham were very skilful in the backs and their swift movement of the ball eventually paid off for them having been behind 23-19 after 65minutes.

After an evenly contested opening ten minutes Topsham broke clear and scored a converted opening try before Chard fly half Niall Crouch converted a penalty to bring Chard back into the game. 3-7

After not being able to cope with the high ball last weekend Chard got it right this week straight away when a high kick was superbly caught by Emile Szydelko who broke through from his own 22 area to score a terrific try under the posts which was duly converted by Crouch. 10-7

Topsham quickly got back into the lead with a second converted try but the Chard forwards put the visitors under pressure on their own line and were rewarded for their efforts when a penalty try was given for persistent infringements.

The visitors backs looked to have a slight edge and looked dangerous but Chard deservedly reached the break with a 17-14 advantage.

With ten minutes of the second half gone Topsham re-took the lead with a well worked lineout move to score an unconverted try.

Crouch then successfully kicked two penalties for Chard to put his side 23-19 ahead and with less than 20minutes to go it was anybody’s game. However, it wasn’t long before another fine handling move from Topsham was rewarded with a bonus point try to put them one point clear.

Topsham had a purple patch in the final ten minutes when they always seemed to have an extra man against a tiring home side and ran in three more tries to secure what on paper was a comfortable win.

Despite the defeat there are clear signs that Chard are improving and are certainly good enough to get out of the relegation places if they can continue to do so.

Next Saturday Chard are at home to Sidmouth in a rearranged fixture following a postponement a few weeks ago because of a waterlogged pitch. Kick off is at 2 30pm.

Elsewhere, in the Counties 3 Somerset south, Chard Seconds defeated Wiveliscombe 15-21 away from home.

Chard scored three converted tries with these coming from Glenn Harding, Billy Vernon and Aaron Henson. Vernon 2 and Jacob Bond converted the tries.

Next Saturday Chard are away at Tor in a rearranged game.