Crediton 45 - Chard 14

THE New Year got off to a flying start for Crediton RFC on January 6 with a crushing victory over visiting Chard, although for the opening 30 minutes, no one could possibly have predicted the eventual outcome.

During that time, we were looking a bit disjointed and certainly we were outplayed in the scrum by a much weightier pack.

Such was the visitors dominance in that department that we were forced into conceding penalties which allowed them to build a 9-0 lead and seldom looked troubled.

We did show some glimpses of our capabilities, but a lack of accuracy and some stout defending kept us from scoring. It was beginning to look as though it might well be a long afternoon of continual scrums with us under pressure.

However, the game turned on its head in the final eight minutes of the first half starting with a driving maul which had come to standstill but the ball found scrum half Ed Brady lurking on the blindside and he darted over in the corner.

Within minutes, a Chard clearance was fielded by fullback Josh Davey who gained 30 metres before shipping on to centre Freddie Blackburn who made more metres before putting winger Bobby Jenkin away for a try, Ollie Avery-Wright converted for a 12-9 lead.

Then, with the 40th minute approaching, a Chard attack broke down and the resulting scrum would give us the opportunity to win the ball and put the ball out for a three point interval lead.

Of course, the players didn’t follow that script and worked the ball upfield and into the hands of Jenkin whose diagonal run from the left ended with his second try in the right hand corner.

OAW converted and in the space of eight minutes we had gone from a rather shaky 0-9 deficit to a more confident 19-9 lead and more importantly within sight of a bonus point try.

The second half began with early pressure from Chard but despite their possession they were unable to make any breakthrough.

The bonus point try came with a quick break and cross field kick which found Avery-Wright whose inside pass gave centre Josh Goldman a relatively simple 20 metre run in. OAW converted.

The pressure continued and a superb 25 metre driving maul took play to within a couple of metres off the Chard line before being halted but the ball was moved quickly out to centre Freddie Blackburn to touch down for his maiden First XV league try.  OAW converted for a 33-9 lead.

The lead was extended when a break from the ever-busy Brady set up Goldman who raced home.

There was an aire of inevitably that with time running out, Jenkin would complete his hat-trick, he had made several good runs and created problems for the Chard defence.

The platform was set by the forwards and the move finished off by the backs with Jenkin to race in, Josh Davey landed the extras.

The final word though did go to the visitors and a period of pressure and a succession of penalties, they did get the try that had eluded them for the previous 79 minutes, the simple conversion was missed and the final whistle brought the game to a close.

The most ardent home supporter would not have anticipated that scoreline after the opening half hour when Chard were comfortably holding a lead.

Some unforced errors did not help our cause and certainly the pack was coming off second best at scrum time although eventually we did manage to compete and remove some of the Chard advantage.

Where we did look dangerous was out wide and for all the early problems the feeling was that if we could settle then scores would come and of course that is how it turned out. 

As has been said in previous match reports, the young back line is beginning to show just how good they can be, emphasised by the fact that they have scored 12 of the 14 tries in the last two games.

The win moves us back up to second spot in the league.

The weather put paid to the Quins game at Exeter Athletic and also the Thirds at home against Tiverton.

The Colts travelled to Launceston for a friendly fixture and came away with a 26-24 win.

On Saturday the First XV travel to Wellington, the Quins host the fast-improving New Cross, the Thirds travel to Honiton and the Colts host Newton Abbot.

Paul Harris