Regional 2 Tribute South West: Newton Abbot 20-11 Chard

Chard were hoping to make it two wins in a row in this fixture against fellow strugglers Newton Abbot but despite starting really strongly and certainly looking the most likely team to win in the opening quarter Chard were their own worst enemy with a series of unforced errors that brought the hosts back into the game who then managed to hang on and earn a narrow victory.

Chard handled and ran the ball very well initially and wingers Fin Shoemark and Jacob Bond made some good breaks which took Chard close to the home line and forced the home side to concede two kickable penalties which were successfully kicked by fly half Niall Crouch to give Chard a 6pt advantage.

After the second penalty however, Chard made a real hash of things from the restart and from the resultant scrummage Newton Abbot made the most of some ineffective Chard defensive tackles and scored an unconverted try wide out on the right. 5-6

Chard were not making it easy for themselves by conceding penalty after penalty which interrupted play and got the visitors off the hook. The players were getting very frustrated by being constantly penalised and by the end of the game had conceded well over 20 penalties.

Newton Abbot went into the lead when Chard were let down by some poor handling in midfield and the home side picked up the loose ball and ran in for their 2nd try which was converted to put them into the lead for the first time and really against the run of play. 12-6

Within minutes they had increased their lead with a penalty goal and at half time they led Chard by 15pts to 6pts.

The game was there to be won but within seconds Chard fell further behind when a long hopeful clearance down field bounced awkwardly and the quick-thinking home winger made the best of it and scored an unlikely try in the left-hand corner. The conversion was missed but Newton Abbot now led by 14pts.

The home side had a couple of useful experienced campaigners who were at the heart of everything and this added the to frustrations of the Chard side and it was not much of a surprise when a yellow card was issued.

Chard then got back into the game when their forwards produced some really effective play which ended with prop Charlie Tribble crossing for a well worked try. The conversion would have brought Chard within 7pts and a bonus point but from wide out the kick narrowly missed its mark.

In the final ten minutes Newton Abbot tried everything to get a 4th try which would have given them an additional point but Chard defended well.

With virtually the last play of the game Crouch got the ball and hoisted a huge kick out to the wing which was caught by Ben Stead who stepped inside his opposite number and had a clear run down field only to be stopped by the referees whistle who said Stead had been in front of the kicker and thus in an offside position.

Once again plenty of effort and determination and Chard could have won the game but their mistakes were punished.

Next Weekend Chard will be hoping to turn things round when  they entertain local rivals North Petherton at 2.30pm.