Women’s NC South West 1

Chard Ladies 41, Winscombe Ladies 12

SUNDAY was the day that all came right for Chard Ladies, when they recorded their first ever victory in a competitive league, writes David Webb.

Winscombe arrived with a squad of only 12, so Chard sportingly agreed to lend two players to ensure a full competitive match.

The visitors started off strongly, pinning the home side in their 22 with Megan Armstrong - playing for the opposition - to the fore.

After numerous attacks, Winscombe finally broke through when Kim Sweeting dived over in the left corner for the first score of the day.

From the resulting kick-off, Chard's forwards and backs began to combine, driving into the visitors half.

Strong thrusts by the reliable Sarah Kneeshaw, Laura Jenkins and Zoe Winlow saw the home side camped in the Winscombe 22 and Chard finally broke through with Kirsty Carlos crashing over.

The try was converted by Georgia Adams to give Chard the lead.

Chard kept the ball for long periods of time, forcing Winscombe to make numerous tackles which they did with great determination. However, the defense could not hold out and after 25 minutes Laura Jenkins scored Chards second try with one of her trademark charges.

Things were not all one way as Winscombe counter-attacked, but strong defence by especially Elaine Stanier, Amelia Gilbert and Kerry Harris kept them at bay.

As the half wore on, Chard became more confident and the pressure told when Kneeshaw broke the line again to score Chard’s third try, again converted by Adams.

The combination of forwards and backs for Chard was highlighted as the half drew to a close, with prop Emma Harris linking with wing Adams on the Chard right, until Harris got her just reward with a try on the stroke of half time to take the score 24-5.

The second half began similar to the first, with the best solo try of the game being scored by Sweeting of Winscombe.

However, this was the end of the visitors scoring, as Chard started to dominate and use their backs superbly.

Holes started to appear in the visitors’ defence as Kneeshaw, Harris and Jenkins all made ground. From a scrum near the right touchline a superb blindside move saw captain Kerry Harris scoring in the corner to regain the initiative.

Player of the match Natalia-Mia Roach then impressed again, leading the backs with thrusting breaks, controlled passing and support.

This led to Chard’s best move of the match with all of the backs involved in a flowing move that saw a wonderful try scored by Chard’s scrum-half, converted from wide out by Adams.

With five minutes to go Chard scored their final try, with Roach breaking through again, this time reaching the try line for a well-deserved score.

A fine performance against a determined Winscombe team, supported by Chard players not giving an inch, showed how far Chard Ladies have come over the last few years.

Lots of hard work led by Mathew Bowditch and his support team, as well as great commitment from the players, has proved that the decision to play in a competitive league at this time was the right one.