Chinnor U16s win on the road against London Irish
By Alex Bond
A good display of rugby from the U16s against a competitive London Irish side
With the league match postponed at the opposition's request, Chinnor were delighted when London Irish offered to host at their well-appointed ground in Sunbury. A squad of 22 players (and assorted parents and supporters) made the trip for what was to prove a closely contested match.
Not long after the first blast of the whistle, London Irish showed what they were made of by turning the ball over and shipping it wide to their strong winger to score. 7-0. This was despite the Chinnor line-up looking capable and up for the contest. Maybe chastened from this early score, Chinnor pressed well in defence and were rewarded shortly afterwards with an interception try by Chris B, playing at inside centre. 7-7. London Irish responded three minutes later with another try on the wing following a Chinnor penalty for not releasing the ball. 12-7.
Things settled a little then with Chinnor playing well but the hosts having the rub of the green. The starting front row of Adam M, Harry R, Ben N were carrying well and clearing out at the rucks only to find themselves on the wrong side of the whistle! Things were not much better for the front row 'bench' of Sam G and Shaun B who swapped in and out.
The Chinnor forwards found it hard to retain possession and make progress through a combination of knock-ons, counter-rucks and occasional infringements that were missed. Within this period, Archie B and Harry R deserve a mention for running good lines and sapping up several of the host's defenders and Magnus P was effective in the ruck securing Chinnor ball several times.
The spell wasn't broken until Dylan T cut through the Irish defence to score off the back of a successful line-out that went through the hands of Max B at #9 and Joe H at #10. 12-14. Before the half was out, London Irish responded with a well worked try, scored by their centre. 19-14.
Something must have been said at half time as the second half was an improvement, but not before the hosts had put another score on the board. 24-14. An amusing moment followed when the referee was inadvertently up-ended and the game was restarted with a Chinnor scrum. Now with Dan M at scrum half, the ball was worked wide through several hands for Ben S to score in the corner. 24-19.
The next score was the highlight of the match. A rolling maul from a line-out outside the host's 22 was set up and pushed, pulled and generally coerced to the try line for Archie B to score. It took all the forwards and some of the backs to achieve it, but it was a coordinated team effort from the Chinnor U16s. 24-26.
Against the overall run of play, London Irish showed they were not taken for granted and scored a relatively soft try following a missed tackle. 31-26.
The last quarter of the game was marked by more confident attacking forays by the forwards, led by captain Ben G. He, along with others like Finley C, Gus B, Ed M, Archie D, Sam G and Finn S made good ground but were stopped each time before they could score. The visitor's wingers in the form of Ed C and Max B (and later Gus B) did not get much of the ball, but did their job in defence.
The deciding score came five minutes before the final whistle when the ball was recycled to the forwards for a couple of crashing runs before Max M crossed the whitewash under the posts. 31-33. Chinnor then had to last the final minutes by first gaining possession and carefully retaining the ball.
It was a closely fought contest, tense at times with some areas where the Chinnor players made it hard for themselves. The game was played in good spirit despite some 50/50 calls going against the visitors. The players will be pleased to have secured a win on the road and look forward to hosting Farnborough next week.
Photos courtesy of Michelle Nixon.
Video (link here) courtesy of London Irish.