Chard ladies battle well in pulsating encounter at Bideford

PUBLISHED: 09:16 03 April 2019

Rugby ball.

Rugby ball.

Archant

In a pulsating match that could have gone either way, Chard ladies returned to form, following their disappointing previous outing against Withycombe as they went down 34-20 at Bideford.

Both sides were intend on attacking rugby from the start, and, after five minutes Bideford opened the scoring from a five metre scrum with number eight Nicola Chadring crashing over for a converted try .

Chard ladies then used their traditional strengths, with charges through the middle by Emma Harris, Elaine Stainer and Megan Armstrong. However, the speed of the Bideford backs soon created another opportunity, and a three to one overlap on the right was exploited by centre Chloe Paydon.

It was from then that Chard started to play their most expansive game of the season, with the forwards making holes in the Bideford defence and the ball being shipped out to release the backs.

Back of the day, Jade Mowlem cut through at halfway and looked sure to score, but fantastic defence saw her tackled one metre from the line. Once again Bideford moved the ball and Paydon once again cut through to make the score 17-0, which did not reflect the balance of the match.

This was proved as Chard began their fight back, with full back Kerry Harris again heading for the try line, only again to be thwarted by another excellent cover tackle just short of the line.

The visitors remained camped on the home team’s line and finally Megan Armstrong forced herself over to reduce the deficit.

The resulting kick off did not go the required distance, and the first signs of pressure began to tell on the home side.

Chard again drove into the heart of the defence, and from a resulting penalty Jade darted through to make the half time score 17-10.

The beginning of the second half saw Chard take control of possession, with Bideford relying on quick breakaways whenever they gained possession.

However, the away defence was much better organised, with the back row covering the blind side when necessary to nullify Bidefords flying backs. Chard almost went further behind as a breakaway was stopped by a superb covering tackle by Elaine Stainer. The power of Chard then came to the fore as the forwards drove , keeping the ball tight, and Emma Harris scored to bring the visitors to within two points.

With both sides attacking, the crowd were treated to some excellent running rugby, complemented by hard, excellent tackling by both teams.

The pace of the young Bideford backs finally proved the difference with two superb breakaway tries, that was the result of just good rugby, and a try close in from a tap penalty.

With the score 34-15, Chard continued to attack, and superb interplay from forwards and backs saw Mowlem score following a move the complete width of the pitch, beginning with left wing Liz George being tackled on one touch line, ending with right wing Kirsty Sue feeding Mowlem to score.

A fitting finish to a fine and sporting game of rugby that all enjoyed.

In terms of the playing awards for Chard; Yaz Price was named Player of the Match after her impressive outing in her first full game; Megan Armstrong was named Forward of the Match and the Back of the Match award went to Jade Mowlem.

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