Chard Veterans win at Crewkerne in Easter classic
PUBLISHED: 10:02 22 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:02 22 April 2019
On what was the hottest days of the year so far Crewkerne hosted Chard Veterans in the traditional Easter fixture, all the players needed to be over 35 years of age to take part and many past this requirement with ease and, what followed was a fine contest, one eventually won 29-12 by Chard, writes Gavin Smillie.
Crewkerne pressured Chard from the start, using the ball well and forcing Chard to defend their own line for long periods and eventual they broke through with a converted try.
From the restart Chard entered the Crewkerne half for the first time in the game, but a loose ball allowed Crewkerne to clear their lines and camp in the Chard half once again and it wasn't long before the inevitable happened and Crewkerne crossed for their second try, but this time the conversion was missed 12-0.
Due to the extreme heat, a much needed water break on 20 minutes was taken, giving the teams a chance to catch breath in what had been a high paced first quarter much to the enjoyment of the large crowd.
Crewkerne restarted and the game continued in the visitors half putting constant pressure on Chard to be solid in defence, Wayne Lewis spotted a gap and with a pin-point kick he looped the ball onto the left wing and David Lock and Andrew Mckerrow chased and put the Crewkerne defence on the back foot and, for the first time in the game, Chard had momentum going forward.
There followed some frantic tackling from the home side that slowed the advance, but the ball was moved out the wing and Stuart Sugar showed his pace and crossed the line for Chards opening score. Chard went on the attack once again and through some fantastic work from the whole team Andrew Mckerrow crossed the line in the corner bringing the score to 12-10. The games tempo continued but Crewkerne seemed less keen to commit numbers allowing Chard to begin to use the ball a bit more and if it wasn't for a number of forward passes the action could have been in the Crewkerne half, neither team could get the upper hand and, at half-time, Crewkerne lead 12-10.
It was Chards turn to put on the pressure and some good ball retention sucked in the Crewkerne defence allowing Chard to get the ball out wide with some good interplay between Ross Fanyinka and Ben Stead at speed they broke the Crewkerne defence and Stead scored under the posts with a converted try. 12-17. Fanyinka was in action soon after this time with the support of Gavin Watts he skipped through the defence and got a deserved try under the posts and Stead kicked the extras 12 - 24
Chard now had their tails up and went on the attack retaining the ball in the pack lead by Brian Sugar they worked their way towards the line with John Hewitt and Ryan being pivotal in the momentum of the final drive with Steve Long getting the ball down in a tangle of bodies but the well positioned referee had a clear view of Chards 5th and final try of the day.
For the last 10 minutes Crewkerne threw everything they had left at Chard with the visitors to conceding multiple penalties but their line held firm, a big hit from Lee Parsons knocked the ball loose and Danny Spokes cleared the Chard lines moving the play to the middle of the park and it wasn't long before the ball went out of play bringing the game to a close.
The large crowd had been treated to a quality game of rugby both clubs will take pride in fielding a total of 45 players of a certain age and will already be looking forward to the Boxing Day fixture between the two teams.