Much-changed Chiefs lose at Chard

CHARD 1st XV  55pts  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  10pts

Despite the score line, the Chiefs made a good contribution to this very entertaining game. Living off scraps of possession, they put together several exciting handling moves and were unlucky not to have added to their ten points.

With a squad showing eleven changes from the previous week, and a pack of forwards containing two debutants plus two others making their first appearance of the season, this was always going to be a difficult game. And so it transpired. With a scrum constantly going backwards and an inconsistent lineout, possession was at a premium. Dukes man-of-the-match Josh Bess was outstanding in protecting the ball at the base of a retreating scrum, and was the main source of possession at lineout time.

With their forwards gaining control from the start, Chard opened the scoring in the tenth minute from a quick tap penalty on the Sidmouth 22. A long pass from the influential fly half caught the Sidmouth defence off guard and the number 7 crossed wide out for an unconverted try.

The Chiefs launched their first attack straight from the restart kick, when Josh Bess regained possession and strong runs from Mark Osborne and Tristan Beavis took play into the 22, where Dan Retter kicked a drop goal.

Chard soon increased their lead, when the Sidmouth defence was caught too narrow for a second time, allowing the full back to join the line and run in unopposed. The try was converted.

With the Sidmouth defence tightened up, Chard had to work hard for their next two tries. Both came after long periods of pressure during which they retained possession though many phases until the Chiefs ran out of defenders. The tries were added by the right winger and a second row forward. One was converted.

Between these scores the Chiefs almost got one of their own when they launched a fine handling move following a lineout turnover inside their own half. James Powell was eventually brought down a few metres short of the line. They also finished the half with a flourish when the forwards and backs combined well in a move which took play from one 22 to the other, but the cover defence prevailed once again . The halftime score was 3-24.

The next half hour was fairly evenly contested despite continued Chard forward dominance, which brought them two pushover tries. However, between them came the highlight of the period, when the Chiefs scored a sparkling try. Josh Bess and Christian Goddard combined well from the base of a scrum inside their own half to provide some space for Steve Trim on the right wing. He made ground before passing inside to Goddard. The young scrum half sprinted deep into the 22 before James Salter provided the link to send Trim in at the corner. Dan Retter added the conversion.

Inevitably the Chiefs eventually ran out of steam and confident Chard ran in three tries in the closing ten minutes. However, they were made to work hard for all of them as the Chiefs showed much spirit and determination right up to the final whistle.