Chard ladies so impressive in their toppling of hosts Totnes
PUBLISHED: 08:53 04 February 2019
Chard ladies were 29-12 when they travelled to Totnes for their latest fixture, writes David Webb.
Chard, full of confidence after their last outing against table -topping Topsham, did not make the best of starts and the home side and the corresponding fixture earlier in the season that resulted in a narrow victory dominated early possession, using their strong backs to force the visitors’ onto the back foot and, after a number of charges Lydia Gannon crashed over to score under the posts, converted by Jordan Paige.
Totnes continued to use their backs in an attempt to power through the Chard defence, but the away side were made of sterner stuff!
Hard tackling by the ever reliable Laura Jenkins, Elaine Stainer, Zoe Winlow and Amelia Gilbert, saw the Totnes attack blunted, and Chard gradually began to gain more possession.
This, coupled with some excellent control, and multiple phases, started to create dents in the home defence.
Chard fly-half Natalia-mia Roach fed her centres Sarah Kneeshaw and Winlow consistently, and, with Suzannah Wilton pouncing on any loose ball on the ground, the stage was set for a series of moves that led to wing Kirsty Su scoring Chard’s first try to the right of the posts after 20 minutes.
The pressure continued to be put on the home defence, as Megan Armstrong and Jade Mowlen made storming charges in to the heart of home territory.
After a series of penalties in the home 22, Jenkins took a quick tap penalty and burrowed over to score and take Chard in to the lead for the first time.
Totnes immediately fought back and ended the half slightly the stronger of the two teams.
The strong home pack won a strike against the head on the Chard 22, and quick fire scrum half Annie Jones took full advantage to cut through to score to leave the home side ahead 12-10 at the break.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with Chard starting slowly and Totnes using their strong backs in an attempt to batter through the visitors defence. The difference was that the Chard defence started forcing Totnes attacks back, with everyone playing their part, especially wings Kirtsy Su and Liz George who did not give an inch the whole match. The pack also gave a strong platform in the set pieces, holding their own in the scrums and disrupting the Totnes line out ball, with Kirsty Su to the fore, supported by Emma Harris and Kirsty Carlos.
As the half wore on the constant controlled driving by Chard, both forwards and backs saw the home defence begin to tire.
From a series of attacks, Megan Armstrong scored under the posts and Roach converted to take Chard once more in to the lead that they did not relinquish for the rest of the match.
Scrum half Gilbert kept the momentum going, controlling when to move the ball wide and when to drive through the forwards.
As confidence in the Chard ranks visibly grew, the home defence struggled to hold back the constant waves of attacks and Jade Mowlem, who began in the forwards and ended in the centres, finally made the score that took the visitors more than a score ahead which was also converted.
The final 20 minutes underlined the improved levels of fitness and the growing strength of the Chard squad, with Lorna Boobyer and Hannah Rose-Franks shining as replacements along with Sarah Jones in the engine room of the pack.
With eight minutes to go, from a line out in the home half, Chard drove down the blind side and Armstrong was fed by Winlow to crash over near the right touchline to complete the scoring.
Totnes refused to give up, and, for the last 10 minutes tried hard to reduce the deficit, showing what great spirit they have in abundance in their team.
However, Chard were not to be denied and held out with captain Kerry Harris leading from the front in a great team effort.
In terms of the Chard playing awards, the Back of the Match honour went to Liz George, the Forward of the Match honour went to Jade Mowlem and the Chard Player of the Match award went to Kirsty Su.
Chard team: Kirsty Carlos, Suzannah Wiltom, Emma Harris, Sarah Jones, Elaine Stainer, Jade Mowlem, Laura Jenkins, Megan Armstrong, Amelia Gilbert, Natalia-mia Rouch, Liz George, Sarah Kneeshaw, Zoe Winlow, Kirsty Su, Kerry Harris (capt), Lorna Boobyer, Hannah Rose-Frank