Chinnor U16s redress the balance at Maidenhead
By Alex Bond
Despite playing well, Maidenhead were no match for Chinnor U16s on this encounter
In a welcome respite from the cold and wet January weather, the Chinnor players and supporters set off to Maidenhead for a prompt start on the hosts' artificial pitch. After a warm-up in the sun, the U16s team kicked off with the wind behind them, determined to redress the balance form their last encounter with Maidenhead.
The starting forwards were: Shaun B, Harry R, Sam G, Rich B, Gus B, Finn S, Ed M and Archie B with the Magnus P, Max M, Archie D and Ben G on the bench. The backs were: Josh A, Chris B, Dan M, Dylan T (captain), Joe H, Henry S and Ben S with Alex B, Josh E, Max B and Eddie C in reserve.
The first points of the match were delivered within two minutes by Ed M who, running a great support line, trundled over following an early turnover. The forwards had started with some determination and it was only Maidenhead's solid counter-rucking that caused them to pause. They continued with their high work rate - organised by Josh A at scrum half - and were rewarded when Archie B secured a turnover and the ball was spun out for Henry S to score on the wing. 0-17 going in to the break.
Next, Eddie C came in to his own running a great line and making ground, eventually being taken down. The support, in the shape of Josh A now playing at centre, was there to secure the ball just long enough for Ben G to pick the ball up and force his way through to the try line. Maidenhead responded stretching the Chinnor defence and were rewarded with a well worked try in the corner.
Alex B showed his powerful running more than once during the match, but the stand out moment came as he worked his way 40 yards forward (and 20 yards sideways) to evade efforts to stop him, eventually being thwarted between five and ten metres out. At this point Joe H, close in support, seized the initiative and forced his way between two defenders to score.
Next up was Josh E, who having been previously held up, ran more than half the pitch to score. He stepped the first defender and then used his pace to out-gun two further defenders who tried in vain to catch him. The hosts then came back with a strong effort from their forwards and, in particular, their front row to score try in the corner which was converted.
As the clock was winding down, Chinnor continued to apply pressure. A clearance kick from the home team did not go as far as hoped and Dylan T used his guile and strength to run the ball in for a final score from just outside the 22. Final score 12-39.
The U16 forwards were notable for learning from their early play when Maidenhead rucked and counter-rucked well, adjusting numbers to ensure that the ball was secured in attack the defence was not leaky. The backs showed a combination of their silky hands in attack with hardly any ball dropped and their willingness to commit to tackles in defence.
Mentions this week go to Harry R, Shaun B and Archie D for their carries, to Max B and Dan M for sharing #9 duties with Josh A, to Henry S and Eddie C for strong tackles on the wing.
Off the pitch, there is a fine coming to the Maisey household (no No1s) and the Cullen household (still operating on British Summer TIme)! There was a good contingent supporting the team which is always appreciated.
Thanks go to Maidenhead who were good hosts gave a good account of themselves.