Chinnor U16s secure win over Slough - Phoenix
By Alex Bond
In a more closely contested match than the score would suggest, Chinnor U16s play well for a decisive win
With several players injured, unavailable and rested, Chinnor U16s took to the pitch with a number of players out of their preferred position. Though it took twenty minutes to settle, during which time the hosts put Chinnor under pressure, once the scoring started, the result did not look in doubt.
The start was scrappy with some lost ball and Slough - Phoenix worked well both in defence and in attack. During this early period Shaun B cleverly leapt on a loose ball to regain possession whilst Max M (at centre) and Finley C stood out making tackles. Joe H tracked back for a good catch from a kicked ball and Gus B made two good carries on the wing. The visitors were trying all the right things, but it was not coming together....
That was until Joe H went over for try #1, having been given good ball through the hands of both Henry S and Gus B. Three minutes later Ben N went over for try #2 having run an excellent support line. Six minutes later, Shaun B dotted down off for try #3 the back of a successful maul that the visitors controlled well.
Props Louis A and Adam M were putting in a lot of work, both in securing rucks and in multiple scrums. Harry R and Ben N reacted well to Slough - Phoenix's attempt to throw to the first player in the line-out. Finn S, captaining the side, played a good first half with an excellent rip that looked like it was a try in the making only for play to be stopped to check an injured player.
There followed an exchange of penalties along with a warning from the referee. Chinnor then defended well against the hosts and tried an attacking kick once they had secured possession. This was gathered well by Henry S but the defence was good the hosts regained possession. Not long after Chinnor temporarily went down to 14 players for clearing a ruck without attempting to bind on.
The second half saw a steady start with the hosts holding Chinnor off and attempting to drive through the visitors when they had the chance. Then Chinnor's chance came after good work from the forwards Finley C and Harry R, Max M was released to score try #4.
After the restart, play ebbed and flowed for a few minutes, but Chinnor looked comfortable. Then Slough - Phoenix went down to 14 players for foul play. This gave the visitors a little more leeway and several players made forays into the Berkshire side's defences. They stood up well for a period but eventually gave way to Chris B who scored in the corner for try #5 and Henry S who followed suit for try #6. The last two minutes of the game saw some of the best play with Chinnor going through nearly twenty phases before Magnus P slid over the white-wash. Unfortunately try #7 eluded the visitors as it was deemed to be held up.
A numbers of players stepped up or into positions that they do not normally play: Toby C at scrum half, Finn S as captain, Gus B on the wing, Rosco R (welcome back and well played), Max M at inside centre and Shaun B experimenting in the back row. Ed M put in a good shift and both Magnus P and Finley C jumped well in the line-out.
The match was played in generally good spirits and Slough - Phoenix were good hosts, having agreed the fixture after Chinnor were let down by more local opposition. The hosts will have been disappointed not to have scored - from either an early penalty or from some of their good runs into the Chinnor line. At times, the game was a bit stop and start. All in all, a good day for the U16s squad.
Photos courtesy of Michelle Nixon and Brian Pridmore.