Regional 2 Tribute South West: Chard 22-10 Burnham-on-Sea

THIS really was a must win game for both sides  who are currently at the wrong end of the table and Chard by virtue of scoring three tries to one deserved to win a tense  and at times niggly encounter, writes Glyn Hughes.

A big crowd turned up to watch the game which was played in very cold and blustery conditions which did nothing to help make the game a spectacle but in truth victory was far more important than performance in this game.

In the opening quarter the game territorially was relatively even but Chard were guilty of giving away a host of penalties and Burnham went ahead when the first one within range of the posts was goaled for 0-3.

Both sides struggled to get the basics right for much of the half because of the difficult conditions but Chard came into their own in the final ten minutes when they crossed for two tries.

The first came as a result of some excellent play from the Chard pack who were beginning to really dominate much of the loose play and the dependable Warren Lewis was on hand to get the touchdown after a relentless drive which Burnham had no answer to. Niall Crouch successfully kicked the conversion to give Chard a 7-3 advantage.

The ageless Ben Stead was no doubt the pick of the Chard backs and was the one player who was seemingly  not troubled by the conditions. He gathered the ball well and made a top class break with what turned out to be  the last play of the half and scored a wonderful but unconverted try.

That meant at the half time break the score was 12-3 in favour of Chard.

With the wind now much stronger and blowing diagonally across the pitch it appeared to favour the visitors but Chard made light of the conditions  and increased their lead when the forwards set up a try for Dean Richards who was captain for the day in place of the injured Luke Aplin. Crouch nailed the conversion and Burnham were now three scores adrift.

Game over not a bit of it! Burnham came back strongly and reduced the arrears with a converted try.

Chard were then reduced to 14 when a player was red carded for apparently reacting to a bit of skullduggery amongst the forwards and Burnham almost took immediate advantage when they crossed the Chard line only to be denied a try because the ball was held up and Chard had  the opportunity to re start play with a goal line drop out to ease the situation.

Chard got things right tactically in the final ten minutes as they were determined not to let another lead slip away in the latter stages of a match which had been the case on four previous occasions and they actually increased their lead with a penalty from the boot of Crouch and came very close to getting a bonus point try in the final few minutes.

A welcome four points for Chard who will be hoping for another win when they play Newton Abbot who are  another team at the wrong end of the table next Saturday Kick off 2.30pm.

Chard 2nd xv did not have a league match last weekend but restart their league campaign with a home match on Saturday against Somerton kicking off at 2.30pm.