Western Counties West
Chard 27, Winscombe 20

CHARD sealed a first league win since October on Saturday, a real morale-booster after the 103-0 beating they received with an under-strength side at Bideford before Christmas, writes Glyn Hughes.

The hosts were able to field a much more representative 1st XV in this game and two tries apiece from Joe Mainwaring and Emile Szydelko ensured that they won with a crucial bonus point.

Chard were the stronger team throughout but a catalogue of basic errors and poor game management kept Winscombe in the game, as they made the most of the gifts offered to them.

The visitors took the lead in bizarre circumstances, as Sam Dearsley missed a sitter of a kick but Chard ran the ball from behind their line, lost possession and gave away another penalty, Dearsley scoring second time round.

Chard got back into the game in timely fashion, skipper Ryan Helliar making a smart interception and taking play up to the visitors’ line, Mainwaring powering over.

Chard gave away a penalty from the restart, Dearsley converting, but Niall Crouch cancelled this out a few minutes later to put Chard 8-6 in front just seconds before half time.

But the hosts were again very poor from the restart and knocked the ball on, and from the scrum Winscombe drove forward and set up Cameron Lapes to go over; Dearsley added the extras to give Winscombe a 13-8 half-time lead.

Chard had several opportunities in the opening quarter of the second half to get points on the board from several kickable penalties but chose to go for the try instead, and eventually they did eventually cross the line when Szydelko raced over on the left.

Crouch nailed the conversion with a beauty from the touchline and Chard were once again in the lead.

The hosts were now really on top and, after the visitors had players sent to the bin, Chard made them pay when Mainwaring drove over for his second try.

A few minutes later a run from deep resulted in Szydelko taking on his opposite number and, with some lovely footwork, he breezed past several players to score the bonus-point try for Chard, Crouch converting.

That put Chard 27-13 ahead, but in the dying seconds Andy Bell crossed for a converted try which gave his team a losing bonus point, keeping them one point ahead of third-bottom Chard.

It was a much-needed win for Chard, but they certainly did it the hard way, and will need to work on how they deal with restarts.

On Saturday, Chard are at home to Crediton (2.30pm); the hosts are five points clear of second-bottom Bideford, while Crediton sit third.


CHARD Rugby Club is sad to announce that Nick Urch, a former secretary of the club, passed away on Saturday, January 5 at St Margaret's Hospice in Taunton.

Nick was a real stalwart and character at the club, playing for the club in the 1970s before an injury brought an early end to his playing days.

He had two spells as club secretary between 1983 and 1986, then 1989 to 2006, and is the longest serving secretary in the club's history.

Nick was a very efficient administrator and meticulous in everything he got involved in.

He was also very talented in a practical sense, and selflessly gave up a huge amount of his time for the club.

He will be sadly missed, and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at the club are with his family and close associates at this difficult time.