Chard score seven tries to see off battling Honiton
PUBLISHED: 12:28 12 February 2020
It was sponsors day at Chard Rugby Club last Saturday and it helped to swell numbers to a crowd of 300 - the biggest for some time - to take in the home leavue fixture against local rivals Honiton who were eventually defeated 37-31, writes Glyn Hughes.
What the large crowd witnessed was a very entertaining game between the local rivals played on a super surface.
Chard had the benefit of a strong wind at their backs in the opening half and right from the first scrummage the home forwards drove their counterparts back at a rate of knots which must have alarmed the visiting support!
Chard were well placed to go ahead almost immediately, but were penalised right on the line because a player picked up the ball in an offside position.
Somehow, Honiton weathered this early storm and went ahead on their first visit to the Chard half when Olie Cave kicked a penalty goal.
Almost immediately the lead was increased to 10 points when, after some very poor defensive tackling by one or two players, James Coutts Tucker had a clear run to the line for a try converted by Cave.
Cave would go on to have a terrific game with a virtually faultless performance.
Chard found themslves 10 points down deapite dominating most of the play but they reacted well and Emile Szydelko eased over for their first try 15 minutes into the contest.
The Chard pack were looking unstoppable in the Honiton half and then scores were levelled when scrum half Paul Nicholls touched down for an unconverted try following a big drive by the pack.
Chard then took the lead for the first time on the day when Helliar broke off the back of a scrum to force his way over for another unconverted try to make it 15-10.
A yellow card did not help Honiton, and, after more good work by the forwards, Nicholls again touched down for the fourth and bonus point try. He converted the try himself to put his team a dozen points clear at 22-10.
Szydelko always dangerous with the ball in hand, was set up for his second try by the outstanding play of hooker Ben Robinson, who burst through a gap before releasing the ball perfectly to allow the winger enough space to get through.
Again the extra points were not added, but Chard reached the interval well in command sporting a 27-10 advantage.
It looked, ceratinly for the neutral - like, 'game over', but it most certainly wasn't!
Honiton started the second half well and had a clear plan as to how to use the wind to their advantage.
Chard were under a bit of pressure and also lost Szydelko to the bin for a high tackle. Honiton took advantage of the extra man and flanker Ben Small got their second try, although the Honiton players were relieved that the unsighted official missed the knock-on in the built up, as did the home players who did not query the score too much!
Cave once again made kicking look easy by having no problem with the conversion and the margin between the teams was reduced to one of 10 points at 27-17.
Players from both sides got yellow cards for technical infringements before Robinson, who had a terrific game, benefited from more great work by his fellow forwards to score a sixth unconverted try for Chard.
A period of end-to-end action followed and Cave further reduced the away team's arrears with a well-worked try which he converted himself to make it 32-24.
Another try for Honiton at this time would have made things really interesting in the final quarter, but some nifty handling by the Chard backs gave Szydelko a great opportunity. and he made no mistake, powering over in the corner to make it 37-24.
With various stoppages time on the field went well past the 40-minute mark and the clock actually said 54 minuteswhen Honiton were awarded a penalty with the last play of the game.
Not surprisingly that man Cave made the most of it and scored his second and the teams fourth try which afforded Honiton two very welcome, and deserved, bonus points which could prove pivotal in their fight against relegation
Chard had scored seven tries but only converted one. Honiton, or should we say Cave, did not miss a kick!
A great game for the sponsors without whom running the club would be nigh on impossible, so many thanks to them all.
On Saturday (February 15), Chard have a long away trip to Penryn in Cornwall.
Chardv team: Stead, Edwards, Crouch, Brooks, Szydelko, Thomas, Nicholls, Biss, Robinson, Aplin, Gosden, Tinley(Capt) Elliot, Riley, Helliar, Replacements:- Moore, Colenso, Hendy (all used)