Oxen victorious over High Wycombe
By Alex Bond
Despite a claret-y head clash, the vets with a bit of youth in support, win the day!
Chinnor Oxon welcomed in the New Year with a scintillating performance against a physical and powerful High Wycombe. Looking for revenge against the League leaders from earlier in the season GC ‘Nobby’ Warner had kept his secret weapons well hidden, but they were quickly unleashed against the unsuspecting visitors. In an ingenious attempt to offset his Christmas fitness regime going badly awry in the all inclusive hotspots of Cancun Warner had managed to persuade a few of lasts years Colts to jump on his bandwagon.
Both starters, Tom and Evan, had absolutely spectacular debuts. Tom’s tackling was fearless and exemplary in technique as he ceaselessly continued to chop Wycombe’s large ball carriers down on the gain line. This was to prove a major glitch in the visitor’s game plan. Tom was also extremely effective at the breakdown and linked play superbly well. From one of Tom’s early turnovers the ball was quickly moved wide to Evan. As he was deep in his 22 and heavily marked his team mates were expecting a relieving kick to touch. What they weren’t expecting was to see Evan converting his own try 10 seconds later as he scorched past several defenders and accelerated away from the cover. Evan was to repeat this fantastic show of skill and pace on several occasions. He quickly worked out to run lovely support lines on the shoulders of Ox, Trev and Fats and to exploit their ability to offload in contact.
Chinnor raced into a 21-0 lead after 20 minutes. It was evident that Wycombe had not come to lie down and they mounted a spirited fightback through their excellent set piece and strong running backrow. From a driving maul they opened their account and also made their strength in the scrum show after the TJ had controversially ruled Evan’s daring run from behind the posts was started beyond the dead ball line.
The Oxen came storming back with some excellent, expansive rugby. Jonny Lager was a continual thorn in Wycombe’s side and from some excellent defence he won a turnover which was exploited by Bobby after some lovely interchanges from Fats and Wiltshire. Piley then scooted down the blindside to increase the lead. This was quickly followed by a superb, jinking run from Chis who gathered a long kick and returned with interest. He linked well with the support which ended almost inevitably by Evan rounding several despairing defenders. 33-10 at half time.
The second half slowed somewhat in pace as Wycombe looked to use the elements to play a set piece game and blunt Chinnor’s expansive flow. This only had limited success as Chis finished with aplomb, diving to catch a loose ball after a searing break from Fats.
A nasty incident on 60 minutes gave the visitors a sniff of a fightback as Trev and Lager had to leave the field after a thunderous head clash. With so much claret on the pitch some of the attending ‘medics’ were becoming a bit woozy although the more ghoulish were intent on telling the boys how the cuts were so deep and jagged and they had never seen such a mess. Some sort of X-Men like metaphysical osmosis was taking place in front of the team as the blood continued to flow and pooled together, Lager’s Oxfordshire twang turned into a lovely Irish sing-song brogue and Trev’s ears immediately started to sprout into unsightly cauliflower lumps. They were both taken to hospital and maybe will next be seen in the next X-Men franchise. It was mentioned that Trev had taken his desire not to face the music from the disgruntled bar staff after his cabaret antics from last week too far and if he didn’t really need to involve an innocent party in his evasion tactics.
These two lynchpins of the team would usually be sorely missed but luckily we had a couple of ready made replacements in Sam and Tottsy. They joined their mates Tom and Evan in making their debuts, it is quite scary to think they could be playing for the Oxen in 40 years!
They both played well with telling contributions and it was good to see Sam go over for a try after linking with Ox, which rounded off the scoring. 48-27.
Well done to all involved, a good, hard fought win. Big thanks to Julian Milo for stepping up to ref the 4th team match and miss out on the fun on the adjacent pitch and then quickly to run over and establish a MASH after the head clash.