Chinnor U16s lose out to well drilled Amersham & Chiltern
By Alex Bond
Despite some good play, Chinnor U16s couldn't raise their game enough to see off strong opposition
It was with some trepidation that the Chinnor team took to the field for this league fixture, knowing that Amersham & Chiltern could put them under pressure. For the first few minutes of the match, the hosts came out of the starting blocks quickly only for Chinnor to play exceptionally well. A&C could not get out of their half though and things were looking promising.
Then two missed tackles gave the hosts a chance to threaten and the situation was only saved with some good counter-rucking. A nicely worked passage of play followed from an A&C penalty with Josh E at #10, Max M (playing front row), Dylan T at #13 with Eddie C on the outside which was unfortunately intercepted just before the line. The game then oscillated with possession given away by both sides.
With 19 minutes on the clock, Chinnor won a penalty having applied pressure to an isolated runner and kicked for touch. The ensuing maul was sound and enabled the ball to be spun across the pitch for a slick backs move which enabled Alex B to score on the wing. The skillful offload from fullback Ben S was described complimentarily as "Fijian-esque" by the A&C 1st XV coach. 0-5.
Then, only three minutes later, Josh A at #9 intercepted an A&C pass and ran well, offloading to Gus B who was running in support. In the ensuing tackle and ruck, it looked like the ball was spilled and recovered, and Chinnor kept composure to pass it out for Dylan T to score. 0-10.
The tide then turned with the hosts managing to run three tries in fifteen minutes from their backs (fullback, wing and outside centre being the scorers) as a result of Chinnor taking their foot off the gas and missing a number of tackles. 19-10 going into half time.
The second half started well with good pressure being applied to the hosts. One kick went long and despite a good run by Henry S, possession was given away too freely. Chinnor managed to win the ball back several times, but the team were making it harder than it needed to be. An excellent run was bundled into touch by a determined Amersham & Chiltern side.
The game continued in this way for a while. Harry R and Archie D both made some standout tackles and carries. Ben N, Ed M and Sam G all had a high workrate and cleared out well. Possession was won back on several occasions. Special mentions go to Harry R for his work securing the ball on the floor, to captain Ben G for his success in stealing the ball in the maul and to Toby C for a great workrate at inside centre in the first half and a very credible performance at #6 in the second half.
Chinnor were looking in the ascendency when a pass out to the wing was judged to be forward and this seemed to throw the visitors. They promptly gave away a penalty for being offside, which A&C capitalised on. Now back defending within their 22m line, Chinnor were unable to prevent a further penalty from which the hosts' big ball-carrying #5 trundled over. 26-10.
The spectators were then treated to a delightful few minutes from Chinnor as first, a penalty kick was kept in by a salmon-like leap from Ben S and a good counter attack back into the host's 22. Possession was lost, regained and lost again only for the last of these to have been done illegally. Chinnor, now without their captain through injury, called for a scrum and Josh A at #9, fed the ball to Will V, who had come on at fly half. He then popped the simplest of passes to Dylan T who was running a tremendous line, breaking a tackle to score under the posts. 26-17 with seven or eight minutes to go...
Chinnor were looking good in attack, but the defence was a bit leaky and A&C came straight back to score not once, but twice! The second of these from an intercepted pass which was scored by the opposition's outside centre. The final score of 38-17 probably flattered Amersham & Chiltern a little, but the difference in the match was their defence was more consistent. Chinnor seemed to lack a little confidence at times, despite having a good complement of players. Thanks go to Rosco who came on (unexpectedly) following a couple of injuries. There are things to work on after the Christmas break and the players will be disappointed not to have delivered a more cohesive performance.
Thanks, and credit, go to Amersham & Chiltern. The match was played in good spirit and was well referee-ed. Attendance: lots.