Chard RFC ladies record their first ever competitive fixture win with victory over Winscombe
PUBLISHED: 13:39 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 13:39 04 December 2018
Gary Bide Photography
The first Sunday of December marked a very special day for Chard ladies RFC, writes David Webb.
Special because it was the day the ladies recorded their first ever victory in a competitive match, defeated Winscombe ladies 41-12.
Winscombe turned up for the match with a squad of only 12 players and so Chard sportingly agreed to lend the visitors two players to ensure a full competitive match was played.
The visitors began strongly with Chard’s Megan Armstrong impressing in Winscombe colours. The early pressure paid off when Kim Sweeting dived over in the left corner for the first score of the day.
From the re-start the Chard forwards and backs began to combine well, driving into the Winscombe half.
Strong thrusts by the ever-reliable Sarah Kneeshaw, Laura Jenkins and Zoe Winlow, saw the home side camped in the Winscombe 22.
From scrums and tap penalties, Chard finally broke through with forward of the match Kirsty Carlos crashing through from short range. The try was converted by Georgia Adams to give the home side the lead.
For the first time this season, play was consistently switched from forwards to backs, with the ball retention excellent.
This enabled Chard to keep the ball for long periods of time, forcing Winscombe to make numerous tackles which they did with great determination.
However, the defence could not hold out, and, after 25 minutes, Laura Jenkins scored Chards second try with one of her now trademark charges.
Winscombe countered, but got little change out of the strong Chard defence in which Elaine Stanier, Amelia Gilbert and Kerry Harris were outstanding.
As the half wore on, Chard became more confident with moving the ball along the backline, with Natalia-Mia Roach making excellent decisions as to when to pass and when to make breaks.
The pressure told and Sarah Kneeshaw broke the visitor’s line again to score Chards third try, again converted by Adams. The combination of forwards and backs for Chard was highlighted as the half drew to a close, with prop Emma Harris linking with wing and back of the match Adams on the Chard right, until Harris got her just reward with a try on the stroke of half-time and Chard trooped off holding a 24-5 lead.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first, with the best solo try of the game being scored by Sweeting of Winscombe, gliding through the Chard defence to score her second try of the match under the posts, converted by Talula Wheeler, to close the gap to 25-12.
However, this was the end of the visitors scoring, as Chard started to dominate and use their backs superbly.
Holes started to appear in the visitors defence as Kneeshaw, Harris and Jenkins all made ground through the middle.
From a scrum near the right touchline a superb blindside move saw captain Kerry Harris scoring in the corner to regain the initiative.
Player of the match Natalia-Mia Roach, then impressed again as her confidence grew, leading the backs with thrusting breaks, controlled passing and support.
This led to Chards best move of the match with all of the backs involved in a flowing move that saw a wonderful try scored by Chards scrum half, converted from wide out by Adams.
Winscombe never gave up however with excellent tackling, Sweeting and another Chard player - Amelia Gilbert - to the fore.
With five minutes to go Chard scored their final try with Roach breaking through again, this time reaching the try line for a well deserved score. A fine performance against a determined Winscombe team, supported by Chard players not giving an inch, showed how far Chard ladies have come over the last few years.
Lots of hard work led by Mathew Bowditch and his support team, as well as great commitment from the players has proved that the decision to play in a competitive league at this time was the right one.