RUGBY: Chard are blown off course

This is The West Country: RUGBY: Chard are blown off course RUGBY: Chard are blown off course

CHARD lost 24-15 at North Petherton on Saturday in a gripping South West 1 encounter which was a game of two halves.

Chard were asked to play down the slope with a fierce wind in their favour and it was clear they would need to get well in front by the break.

Chard had nearly 80% of the play in the first half and went into the lead after only four minutes. A sweeping three-quarter movement sent the ball out wide to the left where full-back Jason Luff sold a clever dummy before going over in the corner for an unconverted try.

The powerful Chard scrum were causing Petherton some problems and the home side’s front row was penalised on two occasions.

Chard skipper Chris Doak put his side further ahead with a penalty after the second offence.

Chard were exerting all sorts of pressure on the home side but frustratingly lost the ball on several occasions when in clear try-scoring situations.

Petherton at last managed to get deep into Chard territory for the first time and reduced Chard’s lead when full back Harry Roberts converted a penalty.

Chard were virtually camped in the opposition half for the rest of the half.

They were given an easy penalty opportunity but opted to take a scrum instead and drove Petherton back towards their own line.

The drive was stopped illegally just short of the line but the expected penalty try was not awarded by the referee who just gave Chard another penalty.

However it mattered not as again Chard took the scrum option and this time were rewarded as Gabe Riley got the touchdown with Doak converting.

Chard remained well on top until the interval but the hosts defended desperately and were clearly longing for the half-time whistle.

When it came Chard held what appeared to be a comfortable 15-3 lead but would it be enough?

In the second half Petherton were a completely different outfit and certainly knew how to play the conditions, aided by an even stronger wind.

As soon as they got the ball they sent up high ‘bombs’ into the Chard 22 and chased them down with pace and ferocity.

Chard dealt with the first few well but any mistake would be punished and five minutes into the half lock forward Aaron Gibbs finished off a good move to score in the corner. Roberts converted with a great kick to put Pethy only five points behind.

It wasn't long before Gibbs got his second try, again converted by Roberts, and the home side now had a two point advantage.

The game flared up and Chard forward Richard Mouland was sent to the bin for retaliating after receiving a ‘haymaker’, the original offence going unseen by the referee. Petherton took advantage of the extra man by driving at the Chard defensive line and were awarded a penalty try which Roberts again converted.

Chard played really well for the final quarter but fell agonisingly short of getting another score.

At the very least that would have given them a losing bonus point which their efforts certainly deserved.

Chard now have a break from league rugby until Saturday, January 4 when they entertain league leaders St Austell at home (2.15pm).

Chard: Luff, Harrison, Douglas, L Massey, J Massey, Doak (capt), Helliar, Hyslop, Jenkins, Aplin, Mouland, Henly, Parsons, Wright, Riley. Replacements (all used): Robinson, Stead, Twigg.


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