CHARD, returning to action for the first time in a month, won 26-0 at struggling Sidmouth in South West 1 West on Saturday. Chard included former Sidmouth player-coach Jason Luff in their team and he filled the gap at scrum half.
Chard have been very dominant up front in most of their games this season and the difficult conditions at Sidmouth certainly suited their forwards far more than the hosts.
The visitors played up the slight slope in the opening half and, as expected, dominated play for long periods.
They opened the scoring with an unconverted try after only five minutes play when one of their best forwards, Nick Hyslop, took advantage of a controlled maul to crash over.
Chard stayed on top but were repeatedly frustrated. On three occasions they got over the home line but were unable to ground the ball properly due in part to good defensive play by the home side.
However this only really delayed the inevitable and prop Luke Aplin went over for the first of his two tries when he was the beneficiary of some more great work by the Chard pack.
Again the conversion was missed by skipper Chris Doak but the conditions hardly suited the kickers.
When Sidmouth did attack with ball in hand they were knocked backwards by some terrific Chard tackling with centre Jack Pennington to the fore.
Chard took a 10-0 lead into the second half but with conditions deteriorating it was even more difficult to play any open rugby.
Sidmouth fell further behind when a mis-placed clearance kick found its way to Aplin who took full advantage to score his second try, converted by Doak.
Despite fears the game might be called off because of the conditions the game continued And former skipper Jim Wagstaff got the fourth and bonus point try for Chard when he touched down after Sidmouth had been driven back over their line following a scrummage.
Considering that Chard had not played any competitive rugby for five weeks this was a solid performance – albeit against a side struggling at the wrong end of the table.
Chard: Harrison, Douglas, Pennington, L Massey, J Massey, Doak (capt), Luff, Hyslop, Jenkins, Aplin, Mouland, Henly, Wright, Parsons and Wagstaff. Replacements: Helliar, Roberts and Robinson.