Biss stars as Chard make high-fliers work hard for narrow win
PUBLISHED: 09:46 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:46 14 February 2018
Chard claimed a bonus points win as they were defeated 17-10 by Devonport Services in a rearranged Western Counties West match, writes Glyn Hughes.
The bonus point was the very least Chard deserved after giving high-flying Devonport a real fright in a game that was played in terrible conditions after the referee adjudged that the pitch was just about playable!
The visitors started strongly and put the Chard forwards under some pressure in the opening five minutes and went ahead with a penalty goal from fly half Richard West.
It began to look as if Chard might have a real torrid time up front, but they quickly got into their stride and dominated large periods of the first half.
Devonport were pinned back close to their own line for 20 minutes and it is a mystery as to how Chard did not get on the score sheet.
Devonport gave away penalty after penalty as well as having a member of their front row sent to the bin.
An immediate injury to their other prop resulted in the match having to go to uncontested scrums, which did not help Chard at all, and the referee must have been close to awarding Chard a penalty try on several occasions!
Half-time arrived with the visitors somehow still hanging on to their narrow 3-0 lead.
Devonport started the second half well and, after five minutes, broke clear and centre Jack Evans went over for their first try, converted by West to leave Chard 10-0 in arrears.
Despite trailing, the Chard tackling had been, up to this point, of the highest quality, but the high standard they had set in the contest, dropped off sufficiently for the Plymouth-based side to sneak over for a second try, this one claimed by Andy Pond and converted by West.
This all left Chard 17-0 down in a contest that they had dominated for long periods, but it was the visitors who had clinically taken any chances that had come their way.
Midway through the second half some sustained Chard pressure on the line ended with Scott Johnson spotting a gap to dart through to cross for an unconverted try.
A second unconverted try followed with Max Gosden the scorer and this left Chard with one converted try of a draw!
Devonport were now really under the cosh, but again they just about managed to survive a final onslaught from Chard.
The losing bonus point might well be crucial, but the crowd and the visitors know that they were quite fortunate to get the win.
This certainly was a terrific performance from Chard. It was good to see Ben Stead back in the team and special mention must be made of Ross Colenso, who is a fine young utility three-quarter, who moved into the number nine position from the wing for the unavailable Dougie Herbert.
The forwards were, to a man, excellent throughout, but the pick of the bunch was prop Dave Biss, who deservedly got the Man of the Match award.
Next Saturday (February 17) Chard travel to Cornwall for another tough fixture against St Austell.
Saturday was a catch-up day so Chard 2nds and 3rds did not have a game.
This Saturday, the Chard 2nd XV entertain Yeovil 2nd XV (2.30pm) and the thirds are also in action with a game at Minehead.
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