Chinnor U14 vs Olney
By Matt Grapes
Unbeaten run comes to an end
Chinnor under 14s fine early season unbeaten run came to an end on Sunday against a very good and well drilled Olney. It was not the day to arrive with a depleted squad due to injury and unavailability which meant a large onus was placed on the boys to play a lot of hard rugby.
Revelling in his temporary promotion to interim deputy assistant to the assistant deputy forwards coach Bridges was fully focused on stamping his authority on the warm up and game plan. Alas, his best laid endeavours were scuttled by the journey chaos and logistical parking nightmare of arriving at this picturesque and friendly destination, which was seemingly on the edge of the fenlands but is remarkably still in Buckinghamshire. Kate Blackwell was so frazzled on arrival she had to be immediately sedated with a large glass of red wine.
As the dribs and drabs finally took the field ten minutes before kick off it became quickly evident that the proposed selection of three separate teams for the three periods of play was not really feasible. Olney looked impressive as their massed ranks were put through their paces and were well and truly ready for the kick off.
Unsurprisingly the boys conceded two quick tries to a very big, strong, physical team who had a lot of pace out wide. However, the indomitable spirit of this highly impressive bunch began to shine brightly. Talismanic No 8 Tom Clifford was the driving force behind the boys , determined to show themselves as worthy opponents. His was a towering performance in attack and defence, refusing to take a backward step and leading from the front at all times. He was hugely assisted in the backrow by Churchy who gave a great impression of a young Peter Winterbottom with his offensive tackling and constant battling at the breakdown.
Chinnor finished the first period on the front foot when a solid scrum on half way led to a pick up and marauding run from Tom C , who showed his strength and pace to score in the corner.
The visitors were not entirely enjoying the benefit of the rather perverse refereeing decisions in what appeared to be a homage to Brian Glover’s legendary portrayal of a sports teacher in Kes, Ken Loach’s 1967 masterpiece. He was seemingly unwilling or incapable of breaking into even the most sedate of jogs and oversaw the game from a 10 metre radius of the half way line. This meant that when Nathan pulled off a magnificent tackle on the try line and managed to roll the ball carrier on his back the try was given. This was just one of a number of
The boys were struggling with the very liberal interpretation of the breakdown law, where joining the ruck at any and every angle and not necessarily on your feet was permitted. In a complete reversal from this laissez faire attitude was the draconian officiating at the lineout, where anything deemed a couple of centimetres off straight was pulled up and a scrum awarded. Not wanting to be too technical on this point the officiating can only be described as …..completely incompetent. This in no way should be a reflection on the winning side who were much the better team and fully deserved their win, but it really should be incumbent on the hosting club to provide a referee with at least a rudimentary knowledge of the law interpretations at under 14 level.
The second period Chinnor enjoyed the benefit of the conditions and slope. Having struggled to cope with Olney’s line speed in the first half it was good to see Tom B work out what was needed to break the defence. Spotting open field in behind he put a superb kick into space. This was helped by a fantastic kick chase from Tom,Churchy and Ben C which nearly resulted in a try. Good pressure was exerted and from another super touch finder from Tom B Chinnor had a five metre line. This time the throw was finally deemed straight and a superbly executed front peel from a catch from Oscar W resulted in Tom C driving over for his brace.
We suffered from a number of injuries with Hamish, Huw, Blackie and Tom B all limping off, hopefully they’ll be back in action quickly.
In adversity all the boys put in a huge shift and were a credit to their themselves and should be proud of their performance. It’s often on occasions like this that their true colours shine through and hopefully they learn and improve from the loss.
We certainly would look forward to playing the impressive Olney at home sometime later on in the season.
By J Vaughn