Chard secure safety with bonus point win over Torquay Athletic
PUBLISHED: 12:16 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 12:16 15 April 2018
A crowd of 200 plus turned up to support Chard in their crucial Western Counties West meeting with Torquay Athletic and they saw the home team put in a terrific shift that led them to a 25-13 bonus point win that helps ensure they stay clear of the relegation places, writes Glyn Hughes.
Chard did not start the game well in that they could not deal with the opening kick-off, but they just about survived this early scare and then a great run by Charlie Roberts followed by a penalty to the corner set up Chard for the opening try in the fifth minute. The Chard pack powered to the line and prop Nick Hyslop crashed over for what was an unconverted try.
Chard made another real hash of the restart, but good tackling kept Torquay out and with their second sortie into the Torquay half Chard won a penalty, slotted by Roberts and Chard led 8-0.
What was clear was that Chard had the upper hand in the forward battles and they scored their second try when Dave Biss powered over. Once again the try was unconverted, leaving Chard holding a useful 13-0 advantage.
Yet another dreadful re start got Torquay back in the game and their street-wise skipper, Jon Woodhead, a thorn in Chards side throughout, crossed the whitewash to make it 13-5.
Within minutes Chard were under pressure again when after being awarded a penalty they gave the ball away too easily and flanker Issac Fahey took full advantage and score what was an unconverted try, leaving the Chard leads one of just three points at 13-10. Things got worse for the home faithful as, after dominating large phases of the game, Chard were pegged back as Torquay fly half James Wood converted a penalty goal with the final kick of the half and the teams trooped off at the break locked all square at 13-all. Although Chard were poor at restarts their lineout play was excellent with Scott Johnson, Max Gosden and Jason Wright all doing their bit admirably. With this good possession they were able to enjoy territorial superiority in the second half and it was no more than they deserved when Luke Hill went over for try number three just five minutes of the second period.
It was fitting that Joe Mainwaring, who has had an excellent season, went over for Chard’s bonus point try which Roberts converted to put Chard seemingly well clear at 25-13.
However, Chard gave away a few needless penalties and Torquay exerted a lot of pressure on Chard in the final quarter, but the defence held firm and the home team delighted their fans by holding on for a deserved victory.
With one game to go things are still very tight with only seven points separating seven clubs.
However, a number of the clubs in the mix play each other next week and, whatever the scores in those games, Chard cannot now be dragged down to the second relegation spot.
Indeed, if Chard can get a result at Truro on Saturday (April 21), they would actually finish the season in seventh place, which just shows what a remarkably tough and competitive league this is. Kick-off at Truro is 3pm.