Chard beaten at Paignton and drop worries continue

Chard 1st XV rugby action from the Western Counties (W) meeting with Chard. Picture GARY BIDE

Chard 1st XV rugby action from the Western Counties (W) meeting with Chard. Picture GARY BIDE - Credit: Archant

The players and the significant number of Chard supporters who travelled to take part and watch the game at Paignton, will have been very frustrated and disappointed with the final score of 18-7 to then home side, but, on the day, Chard, who scored the only try of the game, were really the architects of their own downfall and tactically Paignton got things right in the muddy, but certainly playable, conditions, writes Glyn Hughes.

Chard had arguably by far the strongest squad they had taken to an away game this season with Charlie Roberts, Jason Wright and Ben Mainwaring all returning after injury with Scott Johnson being the only regular player missing and, on the journey to South Devon hopes were high that the team could, pick up their first away win of the season.

Chard started the game well, but were given a warning when they gave away a penalty kick just outside their own 22 area and Mike Sandercock easily slotted the kick.

Niall Crouch for Chard and Sandercock, for the hosts, both missed optimistic long-range attempts before Chard took the lead with an outstanding try.

Roberts made a lovely break from the half way line and cleverly drew the full back before sending a perfect pass out to winger Ben Stead who cruised over for a fine try which was converted by Crouch to give Chard a 7-3 lead.

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At this point, Chard looked the more dangerous team particularly as their back division were playing well.

However, Paignton got back to within a point when Sandercock kicked another penalty minutes before the break and Chard trooped off at the interval with a 7-6 lead.

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The pitch was heavy in places, but Chard had the slight advantage of having the wind in their favour in the second half.

It was inevitable that in the conditions both sides would give away penalties, but crucially, Paignton had an excellent kicking game and their defensive back three were quick to clear their lines and as a result Chard were playing the game far too often from deep in their own half.

When some really real poor discipline was added to the equation, Chard started to give way a string of penalties within 25 meters of their own line and Sandercock was certainly not going to miss out on the easy opportunities on offer.

The effort made by the Chard players however, could not be faulted, and certainly a number of players gave really good performances notably Joe Mainwaring and Adam Moore in the pack as well as Roberts and Matt Tinley in the backs.

Some of the nine penalties given away by Chard in the second half might have been a bit dubious, but even the most ardent Chard fan realised that most were not and Sandercock kicked all four that were within range to put his side 18-7 ahead and was therefore responsible for getting all the points for his team.

Paignton also gave away a number of penalties, but crucially for them not within kicking distance.

Despite this set back, Chard really made a tremendous effort in the final 10 minutes to at least get a losing bonus point which they would have achieved with a second try, but the home defensive play which had been generally very good throughout, prevailed and they kept their lead intact.

Chard remain too close to the relegation places for comfort, and all up coming games particularly those at home will be crucial.

Results have shown that, on their day, any team can beat anyone in this league and there is no doubt that Chard have the capabilities to get out of trouble.

These start on Saturday (February 16) with a home game against fellow strugglers Saltash who are making their first ever visit to the club. Kick-off will be at 2 30pm

Chard team: Charlie Roberts, Ben Stead, Gab Riley, Matt Tinley, Emile Szydelko, Niall Crouch, Ryan Helliar. Max Gosden, Billy Brooks, Jason Wright, Warren Lewis, Adam Moore, Nick Hyslop, Joe Mainwaring, Dave Biss. Replacements: Connor Moon, Ben Mainwaring (both used) Jon Hendy (not used)

Chard 2nd XV saw their home game with Weston called off at the last minute because Weston were unable to raise a team so Chard were awarded the points.

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