Western Counties West
Paignton 18, Chard 7

CHARD are only three points off the foot of the table following a damaging defeat away to relegation rivals Paignton, writes Glyn Hughes.

The players and the significant number of Chard supporters who travelled will have been frustrated with the result, as the visitors scored the only try of the game.

Indeed, they were the architects of their own downfall; tactically Paignton got things right in the muddy but certainly playable conditions.

Chard had arguably the strongest squad they had taken to an away game this season, with Charlie Roberts, Jason Wright and Ben Mainwaring all returning after injury and Scott Johnson the only regular player missing.

The visitors started the game well but were given a warning when they gave away a penalty kick just outside their 22 and Mike Sandercock easily slotted the kick.

Chard’s Niall Crouch and Sandercock both missed optimistic long-range kicks, before the away side took the lead with an outstanding try.

Roberts broke from the halfway line and cleverly drew the full-back before sending a perfect pass out to winger Ben Stead, who cruised over, and Crouch converted.

At this point Chard looked the more dangerous team, but the hosts got back to within a point when Sandercock kicked another penalty, and the score was 7-6 at half time.

The pitch was heavy in places but the visitors had the advantage of having the wind in their favour in the second half.

It was inevitable in the conditions that both sides would give away penalties, but crucially Paignton had an excellent kicking game and were quick to clear their lines.

As a result Chard were playing the game from deep in their own half far too often.

When some poor discipline was added to the equation, the away side conceded a string of penalties within 25 metres of their line, and Sandercock was not going to miss.

The effort made by the Chard players could not be faulted, with Joe Mainwaring, Adam Moore, Roberts and Matt Tinley performing well.

Some of the nine penalties given away by the visitors in the second half might have been a bit dubious, but even the most ardent Chard fan realised that most were not, and Sandercock kicked four to win the match 18-7.

Chard made a tremendous effort in the final 10 minutes to at least get a losing bonus point, but the home defence prevailed.

Chard: Charlie Roberts, Ben Stead, Gab Riley, Matt Tinley, Emile Szydelko, Niall Crouch, Ryan Helliar. Max Gosden, Billy Brooks, Jason Wright, Warren Lewis, Adam Moore, Nick Hyslop, Joe Mainwaring, Dave Biss.
Replacements: Connor Moon, Ben Mainwaring (both used), Jon Hendy (not used).

Chard are too close to the relegation places for comfort – two points behind Saltash and Bideford, but only three clear of bottom two Paignton and Winscombe – and all upcoming games, particularly those at home, will be crucial.

Results have shown that, on their day, any team can beat anyone in this league, and there is no doubt that Chard have the capabilities to get out of trouble.

This coming Saturday Chard host fellow strugglers Saltash, who are making their first ever visit to the club (ko 2.30pm).


CHARD's 2nd XV were awarded a home walkover on Saturday, as Weston-super-Mare 4ths were unable to raise a team.


Somerset 3 South
Tor 2nds 87, Chard 3rds 0

CHARD 3rd XV is not a team to give up, and Saturday was no different, writes Gavin Smillie.

League leaders Tor had the pick of their senior players with other games called off, while Chard stuck with their regulars.

Over the season they’ve used 41 players, the vast majority over 35 years old.

The first half was very one-sided, Tor strolling into a 52-0 half-time lead.

Chard had their hosts on the back foot after the break but could not break through, and Tor went on to stretch their lead.

Chard heads were still held high and they will regroup for this weekend, with a friendly match if an opponent is confirmed.