Sunday, March 23, 2014
Cullompton 11, Chard 19
After a great win against leaders St Austell last weekend any Chard supporters who expected a comfortable win for their team against Cullompton would once again soon realise very quickly that there are very few easy games in this league and Cullompton showed what a useful side they are and Chard had to really dig deep to earn this victory, writes Glyn Hughes.
Chard opted to play down the slight slope in the opening half but Cullompton had the first opportunity to score when they were awarded a penalty in the opening minutes. The kick drifted wide of the upright and the next ten minutes of play were very evenly contested.
Chard then got in to their stride and got the ball wide several times before the ball eventually got into the hands of centre Lee Massey who scorched over in the left hand corner. Skipper Chris Doak added the extras to put Chard seven points clear.
Cullompton then had a lot of the play with their policy of pick and drive but the Chard defence was solid and were not really in much danger of conceding a try.
Chard lost influential forward Jim Wagstaff through injury after twenty minutes play and he was replaced by the useful Max Gosden.
Chard then had a long range effort at a penalty but Doaks kick lacked distance and direction in the tricky windy conditions.
On the half hour also Chard lost Massey to injury and he was replaced by his brother Joe.
Chards interpretation of the rules certainly did not match that of the referee and and it was no surprise that Cullompton pulled three points back from the boot of fullback Adam Pearce to leave the score at the interval Cullompton 3pts Chard 7pts.
Shortly in to the second half with Chard continuing to give away too many penalties the hosts got within a point when Pearce slotted over his second penalty of the afternoon.
Chard then lost their third player to injury when full back Bryan Harrison took an accidental blow to the face.
The Chard forwards were getting on top and following a 5 metre scrum Gosden crashed over a second Chard try again converted by Doak.
At this point Chard looked the stronger side and some more solid work resulted in winger Charlie Roberts getting through the narrowest of spaces to touch down in the corner for try number three which this time went unconverted.
Chard lost Simon Jenkins to injury and as Chard re organised things the ‘Cully’ forwards gained some ground and flanker Sam Harris squeezed over for a try which Pearce failed to convert.
Chard soon got back into the home half and had two opportunities to convert easy penalties but rightly chose to try and go for a fourth bonus point score but unfortunately their efforts were successfully defended .
Cullompton themselves were looking for one more score which would have given them a losing bonus point for being within seven points but their final attempt to cross the Chard line was thwarted by a knock on and so came to nothing.
Chard on the balance of play deserved to win although they had been made to work hard throughout and their late challenge for honours is still in place.
Chard Team;- Harrison, Roberts, Douglas, Massey, Pennington, Doak, Nicholls Wagstaff, Parsons, Wright, Mouland, Henley,Hyslop, Jenkins, Aplin, Replacements:- Massey, Robinson, Gosden (all used)
The big games keep coming thick and fast and next Saturday Chard are at home to Cleve who are currently third in the league, kick off 3pm The usual pre-match lunch is again available at 1.15pm.