Tribute South West 1 – West

Chard 19 – North Petherton 23

Saturday 19th March 2016

Report By Simon Freeman

Two teams in the lower reaches of the division produced an entertaining match which belied their positions. Petherton opened each half in fine form and scored points at vital times. Chard took the honours in the previous encounter but Petherton’s improved performances helped them seal the points.

Captains comments (Damian Griffin) “It was a weird atmosphere from the start and everyone was on edge and nervous as we really needed a win and for other league results to go in our favour but with those games out of our control all we could do is secure the win to give us any chance and we did that through true Pethy heart not giving in until the very last whistle. We played into their hands for a lot of the game letting them play with their forwards too much but once we opened up it levelled up the game. Once again our defence was solid. Our back row played a huge part both in attack and defence. With the form we are playing recently and that being our 4th consecutive league win spirits are high and we look forward to each game as it comes”.

The opening stages belonged to the visitors who attacked with vigour and test the Chard defenders. The visiting forwards again laid a platform and within a couple of minutes had created an opportunity and after some slick passing Gavin Hancock found his way to the try line. (0-5).

Chard typically responded and began to have some success up front as their forwards stole the momentum and play to their strengths and stretch the visitors defence. After a series of attacks Chard equalized to level the scores. (5-5). The home team continued to hold the upper hand but generally Petherton defended well and kept their shape. Chard began to move the ball around but ultimately with greater reward from the forwards and deservedly took the lead with a converted try for a 12-5 half time lead.

The second half began in the best possible way for the visitors as they ran with purpose to pile on the pressure and after a combined effort James Taylor bounced off a tackler and strode over to narrow the score to 12-10. The Pethy team began to play with confidence with some subtle off-loads which kept the momentum flowing. The visiting backs found more space and after some neat footwork Harry Autun found his way over the line, Harry Roberts converted. (12-17)

The home team refused to concede and showed their battling qualities to turn the tide. The Chard forwards again began to exert their authority with Pethy continuing to show their dogged nature, however, the home team retook the lead with another converted try for a 19-17 scoreline.

Every breakdown became more ferocious and important with both teams fighting for possession for the next important score. The Pethy forwards were working overtime against a strong unit to force pressure as the official awarded Pethy a penalty, Roberts slotted it over to give Pethy the lead once again. (19-20)

Chard threw everything at Pethy and had their chances to take the lead only to be met by an impressive defence. Pethy kept tight and shut out any attacks even when fully stretched and finally worked their way out of defence after more good work from the forwards.

As the game entered the last few minutes the fitness of both teams was impressive with neither team giving an inch, Pethy gained a bit of breathing space after another Roberts penalty, which completed the scoring.