Women’s South West South 2 (1)
Chard 26, Minehead Barbarians 41

GEORGIA Fahey proved the difference as Minehead Barbarians Ladies saw off Chard in an entertaining encounter last Saturday, writes David Webb.

The pattern of the game became apparent early on, with Chard controlling possession well, and Minehead aiming to run the ball through their fly-half and releasing brilliant centre Fahey, whose contribution was decisive to the outcome of a very competitive match.

The first of what turned out to be Fahey’s four first-half tries was scored after only four minutes, as she cut through the Chard defence, followed by a second after 16 minutes, both converted by Rosie Chamberlain.

It was from this moment that Chard’s improvement showed, with the two home centres Zoe Winlow and Jade Mowlem beginning to dominate the midfield, and from a 5m scrum scrum-half Amelia Gilbert scored to reduce the deficit.

Fahey scored another two tries that looked like taking the game away from Chard, but the hosts fought back and quick thinking from Harris saw her break the line to score just before half-time (24-12).

After the break, Price drove over to score her first ever try, and with the conversion Chard were within five points.

In the second half Chard’s defence was even more aggressive, with centres Winlow and Mowlem nullifying the visitors attack for much of the next 20 minutes.

A bit of magic by Fahey to score her fifth try, accelerating through a gap that didn’t appear to be there, extended the visitors’ lead, but Chard hit back with a tremendous try with the forwards charging and supporting from halfway, until the ball was passed along the back line for Mowlem to score.

Chard had recovered to within three points (29-26), and had a real chance of a dramatic victory.

But in the last five minutes tiredness and concentration began to show, and Dionne Jones scored to open up a decisive advantage for the visitors.

From the restart, Chard were penalised and forced onto the back foot before Coral Osman crashed over, and the try was converted to make the final score 41-26 to Minehead.

Minehead, second in the table, conclude their campaign at home to Totnes this coming Sunday.

Chard will finish their first ever season of league rugby in a creditable fifth place, unless Totnes beat Minehead to overtake them.