Chinnor let victory slip away to Ealing U16s
By Alex Bond
In a closely contested match on a fabulous pitch, Chinnor come up short losing by 2 points!
In text book surroundings (upmarket clubhouse, synthetic pitch, grandstands & coaches boxes!), Chinnor U16s set out against a determined Ealing side. From the off, Ealing looked strong and initially it was all going their way. As fast as Chinnor could win the ball, it was lost or stolen back.
Several scrums early on confirmed that Ealing's pack were strong. Good tackles all round from the Chinnor forwards but early on Shaun B (front row) and Max B (#9) stood out. Four minutes into the game, a good pairing of Toby C at outside centre and Eddie C on the wing came to nothing when the hosts' defence reacted well. It was all going Ealing's way and on the twelfth minute they scored in the corner. 7-0.
The pressure did not stop and Chinnor were forced to defend again. This time, they managed to hold up a try, cleared the ball and then secured a penalty. Now it was Chinnor who looked dangerous and the ball was spun out through several pairs of hands to allow Finley C (standing in on the wing) to score. 7-5.
From the ensuing restart, Chinnor fumbled the ball (backwards) and did not secure it quickly enough. This cost them dear as Ealing's speedy winger seized the opportunity to dot the ball down. 12-5.
A little while later, Gus B successfully gained possession (with an excellent steal) from an Ealing maul. There followed some good carries by the forwards including Archie D (#8 and captain), Harry R (front row) and Finley C (now back in his usual position in the back row). This had succeeded in drawing in most of the Ealing pack leaving enough room for Dan M to score on the wing just before half time. 12-10.
The second half saw Chinnor start well, chasing down their kick and securing a penalty. However the line out was lost (one of two of the match) and the visitors were lucky that Ealing knocked on in the tackle. From the scrum, the Chinnor players shifted the ball wide for outside centre Toby C to score in the corner. 12-15.
It was looking more comfortable now with Chinnor in the ascendency. Adam M carried well and Sam G and Louis A (all front row players) were securing ruck after ruck. However, it all changed when the ball was knocked on. Initially Chinnor recovered, won the ball back and cleared their lines, but Ealing were back on the attack. After a few minutes of pressure, including Chinnor conceding a penalty and 10 metres for backchat, the Ealing pack worked their way through to score. 17-15.
Chinnor then pressed well, securing a penalty, but then lost the ball in the line-out. It looked like Chinnor was winning the ball back in a maul, but were penalised for not rolling away. Backchat cost 10 metres and a further outcry another walk back for the Chinnor boys. The referee had to remind Chinnor that he was making the decisions and the team were lucky not to go down to 14 players. This was enough to boost the hosts and they tried their trademark pick and go from 15 meters out to score. 22-15.
The visitors regained their composure and started to play some really good rugby. The culmination of this was full-back Ben S going over the line to score. 22-20.
It looked Chinnor had the time and energy to score again, with a little bit of luck. Despite pressing well and pinning the hosts in their own 22m, Chinnor gave away a penalty and the kick was good from Ealing. Still pressuring Ealing, Chinnor held up their advance with a maul only to be penalised for its collapse. Ealing then managed the last couple of minutes of the game effectively to secure their win.
Chinnor players who deserve a mention are Joe H (inside centre) who pressed well and made his tackles, Rosco R (wing) who carried well and stopped his opposite number in his tracks, Max M (back row) who nearly broke through several times with some powerful runs, Ben N (back row) who made his tackles (including one try-stopping one), Chris B (#10) who distributed and tackled well, Finn S (back row) and Ed M (second row) who cleared and secured innumerable rucks and Magnus P (second row) who jumped well at the front of the lineout and carried well.
Chinnor did not play badly, though the players will no doubt have wished for the rub of the green to have gone their way. The exception was their moments of ill-discipline which cost them yards at the time but also was suggestive of not keeping a cool head. The Chinnor players did not do enough to endear themselves to the referee and should not have been surprised when some 50/50 decisions went against them.
Ealing played well throughout the match, with hardly a tackle missed and with a very effective and strong pack. They were good hosts and the match was played in good spirits.
Photos: Michelle Nixon
Match report: Alex Bond