CHINNOR 20 OLD ELTHAMIANS 20
Chinnor rescued a draw with the last play of the game deep into injury time when a superb break from substitute scrum half Greg Goodfellow led to a score from dangerous winger Reon Joseph. The lightening quick winger took his opportunity with aplomb and did a fantastic job to narrow the angle to make the crucial conversion slightly easier. Ryan converted under pressure to give the home side a share of the points.
The game was played in lovely Autumn conditions and the large and expectant crowd were looking forward to another thrilling encounter between these two well matched teams. Both sides looked to exert forward dominance by utilising their large ball carriers close to the breakdown. Chinnor struck first after some good attacking tackling by Holland gave Ryan the opportunity to open his account on 18 minutes. OEs struck back on 28 minutes when an early tackle led to White levelling the scores.
Chinnor needed to make the most of the conditions in the first half with the wind at their backs and a low sun making it difficult for the OEs back three. Chinnor’s set piece was functioning well and plenty of possession was gained but good defence from the visitors was proving a tough barrier. The deadly back three of Goss, Joseph and Holland were prowling like caged tigers looking for an opportunity to pounce but were denied any real space and ball to show their flare. Ryan did extend the lead on 36 minutes to give Chinnor the narrowest of leads at half time 6-3
Chinnor came out for the second half fired up and seemingly more intent to play an expansive game. This led to a scintillating try on 43 minutes when a pinpoint left footed grubber from Goss was gathered at full pace by Holland who showed great pace to score in the corner. Ryan converted from the touchline. Chinnor looked to be in control at 13-3 but the visitors struck back immediately when Chinnor did not clear their lines and from a series of pick and drives Hosking crashed over close to the posts. White converted to 13-10 on 49 minutes.
OEs were now playing sensible rugby and pushing Chinnor back deep into their territory with clever kicking from their half backs. The home team’s previously dominant set piece was now under pressure and OEs seemed to be taking the upper hand. This pressure led to a controversial try by Barton in the corner when it appeared he was tackled into touch. Nonetheless the try was given and a good conversion by White gave OEs the lead 13-17 on 62 minutes.
Chinnor launched a superb attack through Ramshaw and Barton but a turnover just five metres from the line gave OEs the opportunity to counter attack. Chinnor defended a series of driving mauls close to the line. Goodfellow made the first of his crucial interventions when he took a quick tap from deep and ran 50 metres to give a very dangerous position. Price picked up from the ensuing ruck and was rampaging in the clear when the referee penalised him for being in front of the ball. White kicked the long penalty to seemingly give OEs the win.
Chinnor managed to regain the restart through a superb take from Joseph. This was not to be his last intervention.
Matt Williams was relieved at the final whistle –” It’s always a titanic game against OEs and this was no different, the boys showed immense spirit to play right to the end. We regroup and go again.”
Tries: Holland 43, Joseph 78
Cons: Ryan 44, 78 Pens: Ryan 18,36
Tries: Hoskins 49 Barton 62
Cons: White 50,63, Pens : 28,78
Referee: Mr Calum Howard Attendance 456
Goss, Joseph, Nawaqaliva, Barnes ©, Holland, Ryan, Barton, Beesley, George, Davis, Gray, Thomas, Ramshaw, Dancer, Burns
Reps : Price, Oliver, Bell, Neal, Goodfellow
Dockery, Lespierre, Golledge, Moffat (K), Howard, Knight, Claxton, North, Morris, Scutt, Hoskings, Kovacic, Messum, Barton , King
Reps: Conlon, Rudland-Thomas, Quinton, Parker, Moffat (J)
Match report by Johnny Vaughan
Photo Aarron Bayliss