There is no such thing as an easy away game and the Wanderers knew coming into this one that it would be a stern test…and so it proved. Chard have been in excellent form and started the game with a great energy, dominating the scrum contest especially. The lineouts were 50/50 but Chard disrupted very well and it was from one of Chard’s line outs that the first try came. An unstoppable maul proved just that when Taunton infringed offside..a penalty try being the outcome.
Width then became the key to Taunton’s game and spreadingthe ball wide allowed Gav Farley on the left wing the chance to go 1 on 1 with the Chard winger, Gav proving that his ankle injury is fully recovered with a good finish for what would be his first of the day.
Confidence was creeping back into the Taunton game and slowly the scrum started to become more even. The forwards were workingovertime to get around the pitch to contest every breakdown and it was from a turnover that saw Sam Mounsey join the line from full back creating the overlapto put Gav Farley in for his second try down the wing.
There has been a few hat-tricks this season and not to be out-done Gav Farley claimed his before half time to extend the lead to 7-17.
Chard immediately hit back by working tirelessly up the slope to score their second of the day, putting pressure on the Taunton tacklers at every opportunity, this pressure bringing deserved success as the gap was closed back to 12-17.
Taunton finish the first half well, and after considerable pressure in the Chard 22 Sam Mounsey claimed the bonus point try. The conversion was successful and the half time whistle sounded immediately after the kick making it 12-24 at half time.
The second half was lower scoring but just as physical and tough as both packs especially went head to head with some hard running and fiercely contested breakdowns. Taunton drove up to the Chard 22 with a penalty following some great work from Leigh Cash who was keeping the Chard defence on their toes with a string of quickly taken penalties. A penalty kick to touch saw Taunton set up a driving maul 5 yards from the Chard line when Chard infringed off-side. With an advancing maul that close Taunton may have expected a penalty try but when a penalty only was the decision a well-executed line out move saw Matt Webster crash over to make the score 17-31.
Much can be taken from the way a side finishes a game and it was Chard who finished in the ascendency claiming their third try through some brilliant handling in tough conditions and tired legs – this was the first league game since the 15th December for both sides as both had walkover wins last weekend.
Final score was 17-31 and huge credit goes to every player for their efforts, special mentions to Squiddy and Dungey who made it straight from work to be at the game and provided a much needed boost of energy,Rich “Dicky” Watts who made an impressive impact on debut for the Wanderers., and Gav Farley who returned from several weeks out to claim a hat-trick.
MOM – Leigh Cash for his relentless breakdown work,disrupting and game management of both forwards and backs.