Gosford All Blacks are last year's county champions and there was a certain amount of trepidation amongst the Chinnor players as they took to the field on an otherwise dull Sunday afternoon. From the off, Chinnor had to defend and they did this well with tackle after tackle. Both forwards and backs were having to work hard.
The starting front row of Eleanor R, Megan P and Maisy P along with 2nd row players Rachel H and Maisey L were holding up the Gosford press. Chinnor's counter-rucking was good as well with Megan P standing out and an incredible work-rate from the back row of vice-captain Rune F, captain Alice G and Rosie B saw possession regained multiple times.
Gosford were clearly expecting to score more quickly but Chinnor's stoic defence held them out for nearly 15 minutes. A further try was successfully held up. A quick change at #8 saw Esme B come on and maintain the pressure on Gosford both in attack and in defence. This along with front row changes (Erin P and Elsa K on) saw the visitors defending further before eventually conceding a penalty try after a prolonged period of pressure from Gosford.
When Chinnor had the ball in hand they looked competent. Gosford were put under pressure particularly when Chinnor managed to get the ball a little wider then route one. The plan was to use the pace on the wings (Lucy M & Coco L) and full-back (Grace H) and probably fair to say that Gosford plan was to stop that! Imogen S-M played well at #9, distributing the ball and organising the forwards. A good attacking passage of play saw the ball pass through the hands of fly-half Immy W to centres Josie H and Daisy N before a run by Coco L who was eventually brought down on the wing.
Caoimhe McH came on at second row and was solid in the scrum. Chinnor had a set back when both full back Grace H and scrum half Imogen S-M came off injured. Chinnor continued working hard but the hosts got their third try just before half time. 0-19 going into the break.
The second-half was arguably more of the same but the work rate from the majority of the Chinnor players was exceptional. Now with multiple players out of position and a depleted bench, the pressure was on. Many a team would have dropped their heads, but the players fought on. Now with Josie H at #9, Evie F at fly-half, Immy W and Rosie B at centres and Lia T and Daisy N on the wings the backs worked hard in attack, with sound play only to be thwarted by the opposition defence.
Too many mentions in dispatches - from some of the team's most established players putting in phenomenal shifts to some of the newer players discovering how hard it is to play on the back foot, but nonetheless contributing. Chinnor's line out was good (one lost) and the scrum mostly just about held out under considerable pressure. Multiple knocks and one broken finger from today's tough encounter. The final score declared at 0-42 a couple of minutes before full-time.
Players of the match (nominated by Gosford players): Megan P & Rachel H.
Referee: Ms Nomtha Gray OSRFR