Roberts' injury-time conversion sees Chard to thrilling victory over Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 11:03 21 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:03 21 March 2018

Action from the Chard home victory over Sidmouth.Picture JAMES BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Action from the Chard home victory over Sidmouth.Picture JAMES BROWN PHOTOGRAPHY

Archant

A dramatic try by skipper Ryan Helliar in the closing minutes of the game levelled the scores and Charlie Roberts, returning to the team after a long absence due to injury, calmly converted the try to give Chard a much-needed boost after a dismal run of results, as they defeated Sidmouth 24-22, writes Glynn Hughes.

The game itself was in real doubt of going ahead with the pitch in a waterlogged state on Friday, but hours of work by Don Pavey and Ian Fielder on Saturday morning improved things sufficiently for the game to take place.

Chard had to make two late changes with the veteran Brian Sugar and youngster Archie Broomfield promoted from the 2nd XV – young Broomfield to make his senior XV debut.

Skipper Helliar, who seems to be able to play anywhere, filled in at scrum half because Dougie Herbert was not available, and served up an excellent shift.

Generally speaking, the Chard forwards had the better of things throughout, but the opposite was probably true in the backs, so things balanced out and considering the conditions it was a well-contested game.

Chard had scored typical forwards tries with both Luke Hill and Scott Johnson getting on the score sheet.

In addition to this the referee also awarded Chard a penalty try when Sidmouth were under the cosh close to their own line and were rightly penalised for being guilty of too many infringements.

With only a short time remaining in the game, Chard held a narrow 17-15 lead, but were then guilty of some poor defensive play and this allowed Simouth’s backs to carve through the Chard defence and score a converted try under the posts.

It looked as if Chard had blown a good chance of winning the game, but they dug deep, showing great character to find a response. Indeed, Chard had actually played really well throughout the game and it would have been very harsh had they not taken the points.

Chard are not always the best at restarts, but on this occasion they were superb and won the ball back immediately, and they got what they deserved and indeed needed when Helliar went for a dramatic score which not only won the game, but also ensured an added bonus point for scoring four tries.

This was a vital win for Chard in their bid to move clear from the lower part of the Western Counties (W) table.

With other results in the league going against the form book – notably Crediton beating high flyers St Austell – Chard, although now in a mid-table berth, remain just six points clear of the danger zone. It goes to show that on their day anyone can beat anyone in this league.

This was a morale boosting victory and should give the players the belief and confidence to get the necessary points to confirm their place in this league – they are certainly good enough!

On Saturday (March 24), Chard are again at home when they entertain table-topping St Ives with the match kicking off at 2.30pm.

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