Chard continue their unbeaten streak with an away win at Saltash.
- Credit: Archant
Chard are up to third in the Tribute Western Counties West table after a 24-13 win at Saltash, writes Zoe Winlow.
A rousing speech from coach Jon Hendy in the changing rooms translated well on the pitch as, from the kick-off, Chard's defence was well-organised and meant that the first 10 minutes saw the visitors camped in the home half of the pitch.
A well-placed penalty kick from Charlie Roberts gave Chard their first opportunity to score and, from a line out near the home 5m line, a series of drives ended with Ryan Helliar crossing the whitewash and a successful conversion from Niall Crouch saw Chard into a 7-0 lead.
Saltash had some good attacks, utilising their backs well and thought they had a try back when full-back Ryan Cruickshanks chased down a kick, but the 'score' was disallowed due to a knock on.
Despite their best efforts, Saltash were unable to break through Chard defence in the early stages, with Billy Brooks and Jason Wright the stand-out contributors with some terrific tackling.
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Things got even better for Chard when, on 24 minutes, their impressive scum drove over the line with Paul Nicholls getting the final touch and another successful conversion from Crouch saw Chard into a 14-0 lead.
Saltash hit back, but were repelled by a brilliant tackle by George Russo who picked up a dead arm for his efforts and that ended his game prematurely.
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A penalty to Saltash just before half time was made use of, an offensive which saw Lewis Wells (flanker) creep over the Chard line wide for a try, which went unconverted due to a short kick from fly half Todd Crofts. It all left Chard trooping off at the break with a 14-5 advantage.
The second half began with Chard making a change, introducing Liam Mustchin for Dave Biss.
The home side began strongly and moved the ball quickly down the back line, but Chard defended well, most notably Charlie Roberts who delivering an earth-shattering tackle, from which the recipient did well to bounce back!
A penalty for a high tackle saw the hosts bump their points tally up from the boot of Todd Croft.
Good runs from Charlie Roberts and Joe Mainwaring forced mistakes from Saltash, and Chard scrums really came into play.
The Chard pack were incredibly strong throughout, and hooker Ben Robinson showed us that lactose intolerance hasn't marred his ability to push like an animal!
It was from the scrum that Chard scored their next try, a pushover, with the ball jumped on by scrum half Paul Nicholls, bringing the score to 19-8.
With 10 minutes remaining a Chard maul crossed the try line, but was held up when Saltash defence came in from all angles.
Chard then scrummaged hard, walking it over the try line with the final touch going to Ryan Helliar to make it 24-8.
There were just four minutes left when a nice drive from the hosting team ended in Saltash number seven Lewis Wells running in a try that was unconverted.
The scoreboard didn't change from this point, and the match ended with Chard the 24-13 victors.
Chard are now unbeaten in seven games and that sets them up nicely for Saturday's home meeting with table-toppers St Austell.