Chard ladies battle well but are beaten heavily at Minehead
PUBLISHED: 12:59 20 November 2018
Gary Bide Photography
Chard ladies were beaten 69-0 when they visited Minehead, writes David Webb.
Although missing a few key players Chard began the game brightly, with the early phases taking place in the home sides 22.
New fly half Megan Armstrong led the line well and attempted to bring the backs in to play early on. However, as early as the 10th minute, the strength of the Minehead team started to show itself.
Chard were penalised numerous times which put them on the back foot, following repeated tap penalties the first breakthrough came with the home number eight charging through to score near the posts for a converted try.
Unfortunately, this opened the floodgates as Minehead dominated the half, with tries coming every few minutes as the Chard defence was overwhelmed.
Five more tries were scored through the Minehead backs in a 15 minute period, before the Minehead number eight scored the final try just before half-time. All but one of the first half tries was followed by a successful conversion and the home side trooped off with a 47-0 lead.
The second half could have been an embarrassment for the visitors, but this was not to be, as Chard fought tenaciously.
After encouragement from coach Dean Lewis, tackles were made and possession gained.
An excellent marauding game at flanker by Player of the Match, Ella Pantling, set the example, backed up by hard hitting tackling by back of match Kerry Harris and centre Zoe Winlow.
In the forwards, Sarah Jones, Elaine Stainer and Natalia-mia Roach stood out, not just with hard tackling but with strong forward runs. The pack as a whole remained strong in the set piece, pushing Minehead back in the scrum and disrupting the home lineout.
Playing up the hill, and against the wind, Chard remained stubborn in defence, but Minehead gradually regained dominance as they moved their attacks to the wings and began to outflank the away cover.
Two further tries came before Chard had their best period of the game.
At the beginning of the final quarter, Chard were finally able to complete numerous phases to encamp themselves in the Minehead 22.
Drives by Winlow, Roach and Adams, resulted in desperate tactics by the home side conceding 4 penaties under the posts. On the final drive Zoe Winlow scrambled over the line only to be denied for a double movement.
This was the highspot in attack for Chard, as once again the home side took control. The last 15 minutes saw Minehead score a couple more tries with the Minehead number eight taking her tally to four tries and one conversion.
Still Chard challenged to the end, with Pantling first to many loose balls on the floor and Roach driving forward to the end.
A very creditable second half performance by Chard conceding less than half the points of the first half, that ended with the home side with a very convincing win.