Chard III edged out in game against Portland Phoenix at HMP Portland
PUBLISHED: 10:22 16 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:22 16 September 2018
Chard III XV where invited to take a team to HMP Portland to play against the Portland Phoenix team, a team of young offenders who have been given the opportunity to play rugby as part of their rehabilitation, writes Gavin Smillie.
To be part of the rugby squad the players have to meet behaviour criteria and the scheme apparently leads to 87 per cent of those that have taken part in the rugby academy leaving Portland and not reoffending.
The game started with a Chard kick going up hill and although the chase was good, Portlands hands were excellent and the ball was past along the line and the young winger showed blistering pace skinning the Chard defence and going over for the opening try. Chard realised early on that they would need to keep the ball in hand to have any chance of victory.
As the game progressed Chard continued to try and slow the game down but this was a herculean task against a skilful and well drilled team and it wasn’t long before Portland crossed again and again and again.
The second half gave Chard a down hill advantage and from a line out on the 5 meter Chard went over for their first try, a well worked move from Eric Singleton allowing Gavin Smillie to get the ball down over the line.
Chard broke through again soon after when loan player Zak weaved or crashed through the Portland defence gaining over 40 meters before before a scything tackle finally took him to the ground and without support the ball was turned over. Soon after Zak was off again and this time there was no stopping him and much to the amusement of the home team he scored a fantastic try.
Chard where relieved to to hear the final whistle as the heat and lack of traditional 3rd team refreshment was impacting on the game and the home team had barely broken into a sweat.
Hopefully, Chard will be able to return to Portland in the near future to play again as without doubt it is one of the most enjoyable fixtures in the season.
(The final score was not revealed by the referee before we left so a vote on the bus decided on 15-10 was a decent result)
Chard team: Smillie, Singleton, Henley, Armstrong, Lock, Ben, Sugar, Duffy, McKerrow, George, Lewis, Esteves, Lock, Ben, Fursman, Zak