Chinnor U16s secure a good win over local rivals Aylesbury
By Alex Bond
In a well contested match, Chinnor U16s show their resilience and teamwork to prevail
On a cold a drizzly morning, 22 young men lined up to represent the mighty Chinnor. The opposition, from old Aylesbury town, were looking to clinch a win, having lost to the hosts earlier in the season.
The match started well with Finn S and Finley C, amongst others, putting the visitors under pressure and reminding them of where they had travelled to. Several forays into Aylesbury's half came to nothing, until on the eighth minute, the forwards secured the ball for it to be spun out to Will F to dot down on the wing. 5-0.
Chinnor continued to keep Aylesbury under pressure, including winning one of their lineouts. Slightly against the flow of play, the visitors successfully charged down a kick to go to score. 5-7.
After a moment of reflection, Chinnor went back to their attacking ways, going through the phases with Harry R and Max M carrying well. It was then down to Archie D to power to within a few metres of the line to allow team captain Ben G to score from the pick & go. 12-7.
Chinnor continued to press, but to Aylesbury's credit, they were quick to the breakdown and regained possession as often as they lost it. Both teams split the wet ball and had to react promptly. Will F received a clearance kick deep within the Chinnor half only to run through and around the opposition to score a spectacular solo try. 19-7.
Half time beckoned and with the home team securing a penalty 15 metres out from the visitor's posts, the decision to call as scrum was not obvious. However Toby C ran a great line at pace getting to within reaching distance of the try line which enabled Ben G to power over. 26-7.
The second half was less scintillating to watch, but was nonetheless a good display of rugby - albeit with Aylesbury looking dangerous in large part. Max B and Eddie C made fantastic cover tackles. In fact, the whole team made their tackles in what was the probably the best defensive play for quite some weeks.
The home side must have been tiring and conceded penalties for offside (twice) and hands in the ruck. This should have cost them a score, but for a lucky turnover. Chinnor looked good with the ball in hand - and the stand out attacking moments from the second half was when Alex B ran a great line, stepping and handing off defenders only to be stopped 20 yards from the try line and when Chris B chipped the ball over defenders, getting fingertips to the ball (with only the full back to defeat) but knocking on in the process.
Aylesbury's effort paid off as with seconds to go before the final whistle they scored after more than a dozen phases of play - a well worked team try. Final score 26-14.
There were lots of positives from the match: Magnus P carried very well gaining vital metres, Sam G and Ben N were strong in the scrums and seemed to be in every ruck, Joe H made every one of his tackles and was not shy in taking the ball into contact, Max M was - as ever - the master of the chop tackle, Ed M was at every breakdown, Richard B and Gus B were solid in the scrum and secured the ball in the lineout, Dan M, Max B and Josh A shared scrum half duties effectively and also played on the wing and at outside centre.
Areas to improve include some discipline to avoid giving away needless penalties and working to avoid having an isolated ball carrier. The was, however, a confidence about the team today - they played knowing that they could rely on their fellow players to either recover the situation or capitalise on it. And all this with several players playing not in their preferred positions and in less than ideal weather conditions.
Shaun B was carrying an injury, so did not start, but it was also good to see Ben M, Henry S and Dylan T on the sidelines cheering their mates on.
Aylesbury were capable competition and the game was played in good spirits. Chinnor U16s now look forward to playing Saracens (away) next week.
Photos courtesy of Myles Hick, Julia Bond and Michelle Nixon.
Referee: Mr Rob Alexander