Chard defeat sees them slide closer to the relegation slots

PUBLISHED: 11:28 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:28 06 February 2018

Acxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWN

Acxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWN

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Chard lost their fourth game in a row when they went down 18-7 in a tight encounter against Wadebridge, who are regarded as one of the Western Counties West’s better teams, writes Glyn Hughes.

Acxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWNAcxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWN

In isolation, this would not seem to be too bad a result and it was only the second home defeat of the Chard league campaign, but in reality it was a game that Chard should have won, but their inability to close out games and take the easy points on offer were key factors in this defeat.

Wadebridge opened the scoring after seven minutes when fly half Danny Thomas converted a straightforward penalty attempt, but Chard were soon back into things when Billy Biss, who was superb throughout, broke through the visitors’ defence and scored a fine try under the posts which was converted by Ryan Wingate.

Unfortunately, Chard always seem to be vulnerable from restarts and they conceded an immediate penalty, which was again successfully slotted over by Thomas to close the points deficit to just one point.

There was no lack of effort being shown by the Chard players and the likes of Luke Hill, Jason Wright, David Biss, Billy Biss, Warren Lewis and Dougie Herbert, amongst others, all had very good games.

Acxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWNAcxtion from the Chard meeting with Wadebridge action Picture JIM BROWN

Chard got very close to increasing their lead on several occasions, but a series of basic errors, close to the visitors’ line, saw the chances lost and half-time arrived with the hosts still holding a single point lead at 7-6.

Both sides were guilty of numerous basic handling errors and Chard were also not having the best of times winning their own ball in the lineout, which did not help their cause.

It was on the cards that the side which could capitalise on these mistakes would win the game and, unfortunately, this turned out to be Wadebridge, who scored two tries in the final quarter to take the match. It was Wadebridge centre Dom Hawkley who took full advantage of Chard losing possession twice in their own half and his second try, scored with only a minute to go, meant that Chard did not even take a losing bonus point from the game, which was very harsh and did not reflect the match at all.

Which all begs the question, ‘why are Chard not winning at the moment?’.

Several things need to be improved, but a major factor is that they just do not currently have a reliable kicker who can find touch regularly and kick goals.

This means that, when they get penalties, they often spurn the simple points and look for other options instead.

Chard had at least five kickable penalties in this game which would have won them the points, but, unfortunately, the very promising Ryan Wingate - the one player who could possibly step into this role - was off the field for most of the second half after being surprisingly replaced. Chard are desperate to add an experienced kicking back to add to their squad.

Wadebridge, on the other hand, kicked three of their four attempts at goal and Chard have lost several other games, notably at Sidmouth and Crediton because of their inability to kick penalties.

This defeat combined with other results now means that, despite sitting in what appears to be a comfortable mid-table position, Chard are in reality now only seven points ahead of a relegation place and a few more wins are imperative if Chard are to ensure that their status in this league is maintained, which surely has to be the biggest priority for the club in the next few months.

On Saturday (February 10), Chard stage an attractive home game against Devonport Services (2.30pm).

Chard 2nd XV went down 14-12 to Minehead, but they have no game this coming weekend.

Chard 3rd XV were unable to raise a side for their game against Midsomer Norton at the weekend and therefore conceded the points. There is no game for the 3rd XV on the calendar this coming Saturday

On Sunday (February 11), Chard will be hosting the Webb Ellis Somerset Women’s Somerset cup semi-final between North Petherton and Bath with the contest due to kick-off at 2pm.

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