Chard win well at Wiveliscombe with six second half tries
PUBLISHED: 11:36 05 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:36 05 January 2020
Chard were 41-17 winners when they made the short trip to Wiveliscombe to play their first Western Counties West of 2020, writes Glyn Hughes.
With a crowd in excess of 200, Chard skipper Matt Tinley won the toss and opted for his side to up the slope in the first half!
Despite the loss of Roberts and Moore to injury, Chard fielded a strong side and welcomed Gab Riley back into the squad.
Chard made a bright start and Wivey were forced to defend, something they did well. Chard enjoyed the upper hand ion the first quarter of the contest, but the home team know how to make the most of the slope and, in their first excursion into the Chard half, opened the scoring. Chard winger Emile Szydelko was sin-binned for a late tackle and from the following plays, the home side drove the Chard pack towards their own line and lock forward Rory Stone took the ball over the line. The conversion from fly-half George Rowe was clean and the home side led 7-0.
Soon after, a second visit into the Chard 22 ended with the home side completing a well-planned set move from a penalty and prop Matt Ellis scored under the posts. Another clean conversion from Rowe and the home lead was now 14-0.
Despite the score line, Chard looked the stronger side and had had more of the game and they were right back in the mix when centre Niall Crouch burst through a gap to score under the posts. Paul Nicholls converted to reduce the deficit to 14-7.
Chard missed a late penalty to reduce the lead further, but as the teams rested during the interval, Chard would have felt comfortable that, if they could play a tactical territorial game in the second half, then the game was there to be won.
That is certainly how the remainder of the contest panned out as Chard scored six second half tries while the home side responded with just a lone Rowe penalty!
It's fair to say that it can be a 'nightmare' for a tiring side to play up the slope in heavy testing conditions and so it proved on this occasion for the home side.
Chard brought on all three of their replacements at the start of the second half and rotated several other players during the half. As a result, it was Chard who looked the fitter, faster and stronger of the two teams throughout the second half.
Within minutes of the restart, Billy Brooks had crossed for an unconverted try and George Russo added another following a terrific drive by the Chard pack. This score put Chard in front for the first time at 17-14.
The hosts could not be faulted for effort or commitment in any way, but they were simply out played in the second half and were probably grateful that Chard kicker Nicholls was not on the field which would no doubt have added to their woes.
The dangerous Huw Edwards added the bonus point fourth try for Chard, but Wivey remained hopeful of a comeback when a penalty from Rowe made the score 17-22.
Chard though, were not to be denied and further tries from Ben Robinson, Brooks which was converted by Thamas and a penalty try gave Chard a splendid win and the double over their local rivals.
Six yellow cards (three dished out to each team), were rather surprisingly issued during the match, but as well as the five point victory there were lots of positives to take out of the game for Chard.
The back three of Stead, Szydelko and Edwards looked sharp as did centre Brooks
The Chard pack again looked good in the tight with Biss, Aplin and Gosden prominent and Mainwaring having his best game to date, but clearly work still needs to done to improve the lineout.
On Saturday (January 11), Chard are away again this time to Cullompton. This will be a very tough game with Cully fighting for their lives and they only narrowly lost to Bideford on the first Saturday of the year, going down 8-0 in North Devon. Saturday's game at Cullompton starts at 2.15pm