Chard 1st Xv 50, Sidmouth 1st Xv 20

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Despite a spirited fight back in the last quarter, the Chiefs slumped to their worst defeat of the season at Chard, writes Terry O’Brien.

The side, with five changes from the previous week, took time to settle. Too many mistakes and poor defensive work by the backs gifted the league newcomers 36 unanswered points in the first half.

Chard took the lead in the sixth minute when the outside centre followed up a grubber kick to gather the ball and dive over near the posts. A few minutes later the same player turned provider, when he made a clean break through the centre in a move finished off by the full back.

The influential number 13 scored his second try when he profited from some poor tackling to sprint in from 30 metres to touch down under the posts. And the bonus point came midway through the half when the fly half finished off a fine handling move started on his own 22. He added that conversion to the previous three.

Meanwhile, things had not been all one way. The Chiefs had worked their way into attacking positions but could not retain possession long enough to build up pressure. The best opportunity came when the backs worked an overlap for Chris Higgs, but he was eventually cut off by the cover defence.

Chard added a penalty and a try by the full back, scored in first half injury time after a long period of pressure.

The Chiefs started the second half brightly and an interception by Glenn Channing put them into an attacking position from which Dan Retter opened their account with a drop goal.

Play was pretty even until the middle of the half, when a smart switch of direction opened the Sidmouth defence for the Chard full back to complete his hat-trick. The try was converted.

The Chiefs were eventually kick started into life when Glenn Channing broke out of his 22 to start a sparkling move in which he, Alan Hubbleday and Sam Cummins each handled the ball twice before Cummins was eventually hauled down a couple of metres short of the line. Chard managed to scramble the ball away, but Sidmouth remained on the attack. When they won a lineout, Chris Higgs came from his wing to cut through the centre and score under the posts. Dan Retter converted.

Higgs almost scored again from a carbon copy move, before James Powell carried two defenders over in the right corner following a quick tap penalty. Higgs eventually got a second try to round off an excellent handling move.

In the closing minutes, the Chiefs pressed hard for a bonus point fourth try, but it was the home team who finished in style with a converted try by the hooker in injury time.

● On Saturday the Chiefs entertain second placed Camborne. The kick off at the Blackmore is at 2.30pm.

● The Quins travel over the hill to rake on Honiton 2nds.

● The Colts entertain Exeter Saracens at Sidford kicking off at 2.30pm. A win should secure top place in the East Devon Merit Table and a place in Devon Merit Table One for the second half of the season.

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