Western Counties West
Chard 18, Crediton 35

CHARD remain in relegation trouble following a defeat to high-flying Crediton on Saturday, writes Paul Gammage.

The match saw the return to Essex Close of Jason Luff, who was a player-coach at Chard a few years ago.

Before kick-off, the players and supporters stood for a minute’s silence, for the passing of Nick Urch, who was club secretary for 20 years and will be missed by family and friends alike.

The match began in overcast conditions, with the visitors playing down the slope in the first half.

Chard started well, with the first 10 minutes of the half seeing them put together good passages of play and looking bright, building hopes that a second home win of 2019 might be on the cards.

But Crediton were beginning to play themselves back into the game and finding space out wide.

This pressure soon lead to a good move along the Crediton three-quarters line, resulting in a try for winger Andrew Smerdon, the conversion added by Oli Down.

The hosts then went onto the attack, and were awarded a succession of penalties, with young fly-half Niall Crouch scoring two of these.

A good breakout by the dangerous Crediton backs earned a penalty at the other end, Down making the score 10-6 at half time.

Any thoughts Chard may have had of surging ahead were soon dashed when Down ran through for the visitors’ second try, and two more unconverted tries followed, scored by Josh Woodland and Jake Clarke.

To the hosts’ credit, they mounted a determined fightback and scored two tries of their own, courtesy of Dave Biss and Luke Hill after long periods of possession.

With Chard throwing everything at their opponents’ line in search of a bonus point, it left them short of cover, and Crediton took advantage, with another try through Smerdon.

The final whistle left Chard without any points and a good Crediton side with five to keep hold of third place.

Chard had actually improved since the win against Winscombe the week before, but Crediton were a very different proposition.

The fact that Chard were able to field a very similar side to the previous week undoubtedly helped their cause, and keeping this side together is key for the rest of the season.

The result means that Chard remain third from bottom in the table, but the teams below them – Bideford and Paignton – also lost.

This coming Saturday sees Chard travel to seventh-placed Falmouth.


NICK Urch's funeral will be at Taunton Crematorium this Friday (January 18, 3.30pm) and at the Bell, Broadway, afterwards.