Chinnor’s first campaign in National One came to an end with a hard fought loss against a large and physical Plymouth Albion. The game was decided at scrum time where the referee had a large part to play with his decision to continually penalise the home side for a myriad inexplicable offences. This meant that Plymouth could play for territory in the second half with kicks to the corner which eventually led to two tries, one from fullback Dan Powell and the second from influential skipper Herbie Stupple. Chinnor fought back courageously in the final quarter but were just unable to force their pressure into a match leveling score, when a 5 metre lineout was spilled and allowed the visitors to clear.
The match was played in very blustery conditions which made it difficult for both team to play an expansive games, the intention was there but many passes went astray. Ryan was dictating play well and managed to pull off a miraculous recovery under extreme pressure when he tracked back behind his own line and kicked left footed the length of the pitch. Chinnor were unable to convert the field position into much needed points.
In fact it was the Devonians who opened the scoring when an overthrown Chinnor lineout was gobbled up by George Mills. The ball was moved left and Sam Daly barged through a couple of tackles to crash over on 30 minutes. 0-5. Chinnor immediately attacked from the restart. An excellent hanging kick from Oscar Heath was regathered by Ben Thomas and Chinnor were within inches of their first try after Holland and Manning combined to go close. Plymouth strayed offside to stop the overlap and certain score, no yellow card was shown but Ryan kicked the penalty to close the gap. 3-5. Burns then seemed to be away in the clear after stripping the ball but was harshly adjudged to have not released the ball carrier. The stop start first half came to an end.
The second half was a much higher tempo affair as both teams seemed determined not to let their last game of the season fizzle out due to the incessant blowing of the whistle. Chinnor attacked immediately after another superb restart from Heath. The hanging kick was taken expertly by a flying Holland, he managed to offload to the ever supporting Manning who charged on deep into the 22. Quick ball was recycled to the predatory Goss who beat a couple of defenders to dive over. An expert conversion against the wind was slotted by Ryan who seemed able to read the swaying of the posts. 10-5
Chinnor’s nemesis was again the officious reading of the scrums as Plymouth could utilise the wind with penalties to camp close to the line. A nice backs move from a 5 metre scrum saw Powell hit a line out wide and score on 65 minutes. This was after Captain Barnes had pulled off a superb try saving tackle but play was bought back for another offence. Mugford converted into the cross wind, 10-12. 5 minutes later another series of scrum penalties again saw Plymouth play for position which eventually saw Stupple score, 10-17.
Chinnor then launched their fightback when a bullocking charge by Ramshaw drew in many defenders but Barnes’s pass to the flying Holland was too hot to handle. Chinnor showed their never say die attitude and again attacked though excellent carrying from Bordill and Dancer. A series of high shots had gone unnoticed but as they became increasingly high and dangerous the officials finally decided to act and Collier was yellow carded. The ensuing 5 metre lineout seemed to be heading for the try line but was bought down illegally. The large crowd were baying for the obvious penalty try which would have drawn the scores level with little time left. Alas this was not given and Chinnor lost the next lineout which gave Plymouth the chance to clear their lines and hold out for their win.
This was honours even for the season with both away teams winning. Chinnor have learnt a huge amount since the magnificent win in Devon in their first game at this level in the balmy late summer sun. A big well done to all the players and coaching team for acquitting themselves so will in this debut season. The boys will enjoy their well deserved rest and will come back again next season with added steel and tenacity.
Goss Holland Barnes Dancer J, Dancer A,Ryan, Heath, Southworth,Price,Gilding, Thomas, Ramshaw,Manning, Oliver, Burns Reps Cano, Schickerling,Bordill, Norey,King
Powell,Love,Dawe,Squire,Skelcey,Mugford,Setter,Kenny, Davis, Pullinger,Pearson, Kelly, Daly, Mills, Stupple, Reps Salter,Collier, Kelly, Norton, Shepherd
Referee Mr Adam Wookey
Star Man Jack Ramshaw ( Chinnor)