Chard bag first league success since October with win over Winnscombe

PUBLISHED: 15:26 06 January 2019

Rugby ball.

Rugby ball.

Archant

Chard claimed their first league success since the October win over Paignton when they defeated visiting Winscombe 27-20, writes Glyn Hughes.

Then win comes as a real morale boost for the team, particularly after the hammering they received at Bideford just before Christmas when circumstances forced upon them meant they had to play the re-arranged game with quite a few players from the 2nd and 3rd XVs in order to avoid penalty.

For this first league game of 2019, Chard were able to field a much more representative 1st XV and a brace of tries from both Joe Mainwaring and Emile Szdelko ensured that not only did they win, but also claimed a crucial bonus point.

Chard were probably the stronger team throughout, but a catalogue of basic errors and poor game management, certainly helped to keep Winscombe in the game and they certainly made the most of the gifts offered to them by the home team!

Chard gave away a number of penalties in the opening quarter before Winscombe took the lead in bizarre circumstances.

Kicker Sam Dearsley initially missed a sitter, but instead of clearing the loose ball or letting it go dead, Chard ran the ball from behind their own line, lost possession and gave away another penalty. Dearsley, who clearly could not believe his luck, made no mistake from his second attempt!

Chard got back into the game in timely fashion when skipper Ryan Helliar made a smart interception and took play up close to the visitors line. From the resulting play Joe Mainwaring powered over for a fine try which went unconverted, but it gave Chard a 5-3 advantage.

However, the home side were not concentrating from the restart and gave away a penalty which was comfortably tucked away by Dearsley, but a few minutes later, Niall Crouch slotted a penalty, and, just seconds to go to the interval, Chard led 8-6.

Unfortunately, Chard were again very poor from the re-start and knocked the ball on which gave the visitors scrum ball quite close to the Chard line and the powerful visiting pack drive Chard back and Cameron Lapes went over in the corner for a try which Dearsley converted to give Winscombe a 13-8 half-time lead.

During the break, Chard coaches, Wagstaff, Aplin and Hendy laid the law down, reminding the players of the need to get the basics right!

Chard had several opportunities in the opening quarter of the second half to get points on the board from several kickable penalties, but chose to go for the try instead and after several fruitless attempts they did eventually cross the line when Szdelko raced over in the left had corner. Crouch nailed the conversion with a superb kick from the touchline, and Chard were back in the lead at 15-13.

Wiscombe had a player sent to the sin bin and Chard took advantage and, from a catch-and-drive move, Mainwaring, who is a real handful any where near the try line, powered over for his second try which unfortunately went unconverted.

A few minutes later a run from deep resulted in Szdelko taking on his opposite number and with some lovely footwork he breezed past several players to score a bonus point try for Chard which was converted by Crouch to make the score 27-13.

With only a short time to go Chard unfortunately lost the services of their influential flanker Jason Wright.

At this stage, it was clear that Chard would get the victory, but they needed to stop Winscombe getting anything out of the game, but unfortunately, in the dying seconds Andy Bell crossed for a converted try which gave his team a losing bonus point which keeps them one point ahead of Chard in the lower reaches of the table.

On reflection, this was a tremendous and much needed win for Chard, but didn’t they do it the hard way!!

Better game management particularly in their own half and from penalties needs work as does the problems they create for them selves from re-starts. This coming Saturday (January 12) Chard are at home to Crediton with kick-off at 2.30pm.

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