Chard Wing Commanders complete season’s ‘double’ over Minehead Barbarians

PUBLISHED: 11:28 17 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:28 17 February 2019

Chard 2nd XB Front row (left to right): Tim Gibbs, Gavin Watts, Luke Aplin (Manager) Martin Drayton, Nick Mouland, Ben Robinson, Joel Nicholls, Connor Moon, Ben Lock, Ieuan Watkins. Back row (left to right): Nick Lester, Jim Grossey, Tom Monaghan, Tom Evans, Zak Stabbins, Joel Ingarfield, Tristan Smith, Joshua Strickland, Dave Tucker, Ben Partridge. Picture CHARD RFC

Chard 2nd XB Front row (left to right): Tim Gibbs, Gavin Watts, Luke Aplin (Manager) Martin Drayton, Nick Mouland, Ben Robinson, Joel Nicholls, Connor Moon, Ben Lock, Ieuan Watkins. Back row (left to right): Nick Lester, Jim Grossey, Tom Monaghan, Tom Evans, Zak Stabbins, Joel Ingarfield, Tristan Smith, Joshua Strickland, Dave Tucker, Ben Partridge. Picture CHARD RFC

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Chard 2nd XV ‘Wing Commanders’ were 20-12 winners when they travelled to Minehead to renew rivalries with a team they beat convincingly earlier in the season at Crewkerne Road, writes Gavin Smillie.

Even with a few key players missing, notably Sam Mouland, who had a late call up to club’s 1st XV, Chard still travelled for the game with what looked, on paper, to be a strong squad.

Minehead did well to frustrate Chards game plan leading to a messy game in the first half, with the visitors unable to build any momentum it was down to Ieuan Watkins to capitalise on the Minehead indiscipline, scoring twice with successful kicks.

The game turned in the home side’s favour when Chard started to get on the wrong side of the referee giving away multiple penalties and a yellow card for Ben Lock which led to an increase in pressure that ended with an unconverted try and the teams trooped off at the break with Chard leading 6-5.

The second half started as the first had finished with Minehead taking the opportunities and Chard making sloppy mistakes and, some unusually poor defending allowed Minehead to pick and go, scoring a converted try and taking the lead for the first time in the match at 12-6.

The second home try served as a ‘wake-up call’ for Chard who introduced fresh legs from the bench in the form of Ben Robinson and Tom Monaghan and the visitors started to win the physical, pressing the home side in their own half and, eventually, Jim Grossey crossed the line to score a proper team try and Watkins added the extras to see Chard into a single point lead at 13-12.

Chard remained on the front foot and spent a great deal of time camped in the home half, but the Minehead defence was equal to the challenge and there was just one more score in the game with Tim Gibbs making the most of Chard scrum dominance, scoring a try which was followed by a successful conversion slotted by Watkins to wrap up another five all-round performance from the Wing Commanders.

After the game, Chard 2nd XV team manager Luke Aplin was full of praise for the team saying that even though the match didn’t start as planned the players dug deep and won by adapting to the situation, he also had special praise for Joshua Strickland for an outstanding individual effort.

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