Another match in this most competitive and evenly balanced of seasons went down to the wire. Chinnor retook the lead on 76 minutes when sustained pressure led to gap that was superbly exploited by Holland and he danced over to score under the posts. He converted his own try. Chinnor then ran the clock down extremely well and managed to deny the gallant visitors any sniff of a chance to equalise.
Both teams started the game with an obvious intent to play attractive and exciting rugby so it was surprising that the first quarter remained scoreless. Sale had the better of the opening exchanges and a series of penalties gave them field position and momentum but Chinnor’s defence in the first stanza was excellent.
A yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Goss gave Chinnor their first real opportunity to build pressure. After some good yardage from the dangerous Burns the black and whites finally had good field position. They converted this pressure into points in the 28th minute with a well worked backs move from a solid scrum. Goodfellow broke open and attracted the midfield defence before feeding Holland with a delightful pass. Holland needs no second invitation to go for the gap and he accelerated away from the cover to score under the posts. Converted by Goodfellow. 7-0
Chinnor now were really hitting their straps and were dominating possession and territory. The lineout was functioning extremely well and from a catch and drive Chinnor steamrolled over to double their lead on 36 minutes when Bordill dotted down. A fine conversion from the touchline from Goodfellllow. This dominance was continued with a repeat performance on 40 minutes. A super catch from Ben Thomas and a thundering drive from 15 metres saw Bordill in the vanguard again. Another sensational conversion from Goodfellow saw the half end at 21-0 . Sale looked like they were a beaten team and for once the Chinnor faithful could relax with the result and win seemingly in the bag.
However, no team including returning prodigal son Dave Seymour is going to lie down and accept defeat. Sale threw everything at the home side at the beginning of the second half and encamped themselves on Chinnor’s line. Chinnor managed to defend valiantly for 10 brutal minutes, Alex Dancer pulling off at least two try saving tackles with George and Gilding also heroic in defence. The line did not look like cracking until Ramshaw was yellow carded on 51 minutes.
Sale then hit Chinnor with a fusillade of three tries in ten minutes to turn the game completely on its head. Parkinson eventually crashed over on 51, Bradley converted, Ailes picked from a ruck looking suspiciously offside and charged over from 25 metres and Bradley converted again on 56. 21-14. Game was certainly on and Sale were in the ascendancy. With the elements in their favour the visitors constantly kicked for position and then put the previously solid Chinnor set piece under pressure. Dougherty scored on 61 minutes after a mazy run, again converted. It now looked like the only winner would be the visitors.
Cano and Tipau came on and were to make telling contributions as Chinnor finally managed to get a foothold in the second half. Forged in the white heat of battle in so many close encounters this season Chinnor’s never say die attitude again came to the fore. A sustained period of pressure was only prevented from ending in points by a series of penalties from Sale. The referee’s patience was finally tested too far and another yellow card meant Sale were down to fourteen men when Holland scored the decisive try.
Referee Dr Jonathan Cook
Goss, Joseph,A.Dancer,Nawaqaliva,Barnes,Holland,Goodfellow,Beesley, George,Gilding,Ramshaw, Thomas, J.Dancer,Bordill,Burns
Reps Cano, Oliver,Davies,Tupai, King
Lawrence Wara Doherty Moorehouse Hodgson Sturgess Bradley Blanchard Dolly Birchill Davies Postlethwaite Hughes Seymour Parkinson
Aigbokhae Taylor Priestley Ailes Rawcliffe