Chard well beaten in opening league game at Wellington

PUBLISHED: 15:51 02 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:51 02 September 2018

Chard's Max Gosden wins the ball during the defeat to Wellington. Picture GARY BIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

Chard's Max Gosden wins the ball during the defeat to Wellington. Picture GARY BIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

Chard went down 51-28 on their visit to Wellington for the opening game of a new Western Counties West League season, writes Glyn Hughes.

Chard's Scott Johnson in the thick of the action during the defeat to Wellington. Picture GARY BIDE PHOTOGRAPHYChard's Scott Johnson in the thick of the action during the defeat to Wellington. Picture GARY BIDE PHOTOGRAPHY

It was to prove to be not a good start for Chard who conceded eight tries in this opening game of the season away at their Somerset neighbours, who were ultimately good value for their win in front of a 300 plus crowd.

Chard, despite the advantage having slope, started the game sluggishly and were soon in trouble when they were caught napping by the lively Wellington backs who moved the ball wide very quickly and created an overlap which resulted in a converted try under the posts.

Within a very short time Chard had conceded two more tries, both of which came in similar fashion to the first.

Wellington were also aided by some shocking first up tackling by Chard and were 19-0 ahead after just 10 minutes of the action!

At this point a real cricket score looked on the cards, but Chard did improve in the next quarter and got on the score sheet when initially Charlie Roberts kicked a penalty goal and then left winger Emile Szydelko showed a good turn of speed to beat his opposite number on the outside and scored a fine try which should improve his confidence no end. The two scores reduced the deficit to 19-8

Another Roberts penalty reduced the arrears by three points and, with a home player sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle, Chard now only trailed by eight points.

Unfortunately, they ended the half as sloppily as they had started it and even with a man advantage were guilty of some very poor defensive play both in terms of tackling and positional play and this allowed Wellington the freedom of the park to canter in for two more tries before the interval which gave them a 31-11 interval lead.

Chard did not learn from their first half errors and within in a few minutes of the restart they had conceded a penalty goal and a sixth try which put Wellington 39-11 clear.

Chard then fought back well and winger Ieuan Watkins who had showed some nice touches crossed for Chard’s second try. Wellington scored their seventh try before the Chard forwards shoved their counterparts back following a five metre scrum and number eight Max Gosden got the touch down for a third try.

Despite being outplayed by Wellington for long periods, Chard were now in with a chance of at least getting a losing bonus point if they could somehow get a fourth try. Their efforts did not start well as Wellington again cut through the Chard defence like butter to score their eighth try! From the restart however, they really put Wellington under the cosh and, in the dying minutes of the game Gosden crossed for a try which at least gave Chard a try bonus point which proved that every cloud does have a silver lining!

As well as Wellington played, this was a real wake-up call for Chard who know now they have to be up for games right from the start and they certainly could do without players calling off at the last minute!

Skipper Ryan Helliar will play anywhere for his team to cover absences, but when did he last start a game in his proper position?

Dougie Herbert at scrum half and Adam Moore put in good individual performances as did several others, but collectively the teamwork needs plenty of attention.

On Saturday Chard 1st XV are at home to Bideford (3pm) and that match is being followed by a vets game between Chard and Wyvern in memory of former captain Mick Halligan who played for both clubs. The vets game is set to kick off at 5pm.

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