Chard slip deeper into trouble after narrow loss at Tiverton
PUBLISHED: 13:01 12 April 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 12 April 2018
Chard were beaten 21-17 in what was a very tight encounter between two evenly matched teams, but in the very heavy conditions, Chard could only manage to salvage a losing bonus point with the award of a late penalty try deep into injury time and will no doubt rue switching off a few times, which cost them several points, writes Glyn Hughes.
Chard gave away a number of early penalties and were punished when the home kicker Matt Down slotted over his first attempt at goal after only a few minutes’ play.
Chard defended well in the opening quarter and with some sound touch kicking from Charlie Roberts and good lineout ball being won by Scott Johnson they got right back into the game.
The home forwards found themselves under a lot of pressure and it was no surprise when they conceded a penalty, which was converted by Roberts to level things at 3-3.
Chard conceded a penalty shortly after the restart and were caught out by a quick tap penalty which gave Tiverton possession close to the Chard line and Wayne Sprangle forced his way over in the corner for an unconverted try.
It really was an even game at this point, but Chard were punished when they conceded their eighth penalty of the half, which Down converted and the teams trooped off at the break with Chard trailing 11-3.
The Chard forwards, with Joe Mainwaring, Jason Wright and Max Gosden all contributing well, were giving the home pack a torrid time and Tiverton found themselves pinned back on their own line.
In the end, the inevitable happened, and the referee rightly awarded Chard a penalty try when not for the first time a drive to the line collapsed, although surprising the culprit was not penalised with a yellow card.
Unfortunately, having got right back into the game Chard made a complete hash of the restart and from the resultant scrum Tivy won the ball and Greg Mills ran through several tackles to score under the posts and the hosts held an 18-10 lead.
With seven minutes left, the hosts increased their lead with another penalty and it looked as if once again Chard would get nothing out of the game.
However, with eight minutes of injury time already played Chard were in complete control of the ball.
The hosts had two players sent to the bin and Chard were again rightly awarded their second penalty try of the game that ensured at least a losing bonus point, which could still be crucial.
Amazingly in the other league games on Saturday, there were again some incredible results which went against the form book and which did Chard no favours at all.
Now it’s the case that only four points separate six clubs, all of which will be doing everything they can to avoid joining Burnham as the other club to be relegated.
The bottom line is that Chard cannot rely on other clubs to do them a favour and their destiny lies in their own hands with the home game against fellow strugglers Torquay Athletic (3pm) this Saturday (April 14) now a crucial fixture.
Chard skipper Ryan Helliar and coach Jim Wagstaff urge all Chard supporters to come out in force to support the team as the club seeks a much needed victory.