(photo Simon Cooper)
The prefect scene was set with bright sunshine and a packed crowd. The fantastic crowd from both Chinnor and Sedgley Park ensured a great atmosphere with friends past and presents catching up on old times and recent events. This was billed as a game of two high scoring sides played by players of a very high calibre and the game fulfilled all expectations.
This was a game that went down to the wire. The large crowd were entertained by some thrilling rugby by both sides. The opening pressure came from Sedgley Park but they failed to capitalise on a couple of early chances. Then Chinnor hit back and following a rolling maul Chinnor spun the ball to the right which put Bertie Hopkin in at the corner to take the lead
The game flowed and both sides were obviously determined to keep the ball in hand and each attack was met by equally ferocious defence. Sedgley’s lively fly half Steve Collins scored a penalty to make the score 5-3 but 5 mins later Chinnor’s Josh Barton took a quick tap penalty to squeeze over under the posts and give Jonny Bentley an easy conversion. 12-3. A converted try following some great footwork by Collins narrowed the score line only for a penalty by Jonny Bentley to keep the score line running in Chinnor’s favour. On the stroke of half time Luke Hibberd incepted a loose pass and went over which Bentley converted to give Chinnor a 22-10 lead at Half Time
Chinnor came flying out the blocks for the second half and a penalty by Jonny Bentley and a text book forwards try by George Oliver gave Chinnor a seemingly unassailable lead 30-10.However Sedgley Park are a quality outfit full of character and they found some chinks in the Chinnor armour. They enjoyed a purple patch scoring two tries with some superb handling and great recycling both converted to close the gap to 30-24. Then came the key score try of the game. Ben Manning scored a try by running a superb line at pace to slice through the Sedgley defence and settle Chinnor nerves. But Sedgley Park, who refused to lie down, scored a well worked try -aided by some tired tackling- which was converted by the ever reliable Collins This brought the score to 35-31 with 4 nail-biting minutes remaining.
Some excellent game management saw Chinnor play out the remainder of the game in the Sedgley 22 penning the visitors in with some huge, disciplined tackles which eventually resulted in a Chinnor lineout which was executed to perfection finishing with a promotion sealing try by George Oliver.
It was a fantastic day for Chinnor but it takes two great teams to make such a wonderful spectacle of rugby. Sedgley Park Tigers where fantastic ambassadors for Nat 2 North both on and off the pitch and will be a massive force in the division next season while Chinnor will tread pastures new in a well-deserved foray into National 1.
Matt Bebbington – Sedgley Park’s Dor said “ We’re disappointed with the outcome but I could not be more proud of the players this being my first season in charge. The work ethic across the season has been first class. Next season, hopefully, we will go one better”
Matt Williams Chinnor's director of rugby reponded “ We did our Homework. In the first half we closed out their threats. Second half Sedgley Park threw the kitchen sink at us and brought the game right back within a score. The score by Ben Manning put the game back in our favour. I thank all those involved over the year for our success. It’s been awesome!”
Mom Ben Manning (Chinnor)
Cano, Price, Gilding, Ramshaw, Ranaboldo, Oliver, Bordill, Manning, Barton, Bentley, Hibberd, Nawaqaliva,Dancer, Barnes (cpt.), Hopkin.
Reps Mason, Bingham, Bradley , Goodfellow, McDonald
Ashcroft, Maher, Rushton, Birtwell, Needham, Goodman, Lees, Chapman, McShane, Collins, Harrison, M.Riley (cpt) Bedlow, Lowthion, A.Riley
Reps Woodward ,Allen, Skofic, Holloway, Lloyd
Ref. Mr Neil Chivers
Assistants Mr George Selwood, Mr Peter Brunt
4th Official Mr Jack Sutton