CHARD suffered their third consecutive defeat when they visited one of the strongest teams in the league, writes Glyn Hughes.

The final scoreline, however, does little justice to the effort made by Chard and a converted try in the last minute of each half gave the home side a margin of victory that flattered them somewhat.

Chard went into the game having made six changes from last weeks starting line up. Nicholls, Wagstaff, Stead and Ousley were out and coach Steve Broom made several other changes Joe Phillips who was in the 3rds a few weeks ago came in at scrum half.

Chard gave away an early penalty to allow their hosts to take the lead but Chard had much of the play in the opening quarter and really should have gone ahead when a superb break by centre lee Massey set up Simon Boyd but a last ditch ankle tap left him agonisingly short of the line.

Harlequins doubled their advantage with another penalty goal but Chard got back into things when Skipper James Twigg landed a similar effort shortly afterwards.

The Chard forwards were playing well with Brian Sugar, Richard Mouland Mark Parsons and Tom Frecknall to the fore.

Frecknall had also been in the 3rds recently but was showing up well in the front row.

The rest of the first half was well contested and the very good referee kept the game flowing.

Just before the interval Chard suffered a double whammy and conceded ten points in the final seconds before the break.

Firstly a ball that appeared to be going into touch bounced awkwardly and back in to play.

Chard stopped thinking that the touch judge would call it out but rightly play continued and Harlequins made the most of the confusion and went over in the corner for the first try of the game which they converted.

This was followed by a penalty goal when a Chard forward picked up the ball in an offside position. Half time Harlequins 16, Chard 3.

These late points really hurt Chard and when they conceded a second try in the opening minutes of the second half things began to look ominous.

However, Chard got their act together quickly and set up a number of good plays of their own and were inches away on several occasions from crossing the home line.

Joe Phillips at scrum half was having an outstanding game and was relishing this opportunity to play in the senior side. He has always been a useful player and now that he is playing on a regular basis he can only get better.

Twigg reduced the deficit with another penalty but this was cancelled out when the home side took their total to 24 points with another penalty.

Lee Massey and Ben King tackled well again for Chard but some inexperience in the back division put them in trouble at times and the home backs always looked dangerous.

Mouland and Parsons again went close for Chard but in the last play of the game after seven minutes injury time a lovely crossfield kick from the Harlequins fly-half was misjudged by the Chard defensive line and the home side gathered and went over for their third try of the game which was converted.

Chard coach Steve Broom and his players can take many positives from this match and their attitude and approach was excellent.

They will be looking to get back to winning ways this weekend when they entertain Winscombe who currently sit just above Chard in the league. Kick off is at 3pm.