CHINNOR 34, CAMBRIDGE 22
JASON Worrall scored two tries as Chinnor made it five games unbeaten with a bonus-point victory over Cambridge on Founders Day.
Josh McNulty, Sam Yawayawa and Nick Selway also crossed as the Oxfordshire side closed the gap to the frontrunners to make a bitterly cold day a little warmer.
The result means Chinnor finished November unbeaten, collecting 19 points from a possible 25.
The Thame-based side’s recent run has helped them move to within a victory of the National League 1 leaders after defeats for Rosslyn Park and Richmond.
Director of rugby Matt Williams made nine changes, three positional, from the starting XV against Plymouth Albion.
Dan Southworth, Joe Dancer and Ofisa Treviranus returned to the pack.
In the backs, scrum-half Callum Watson made his first start, while Caolan Ryan and Chris Elder came in to the side.
Chinnor made the slightly better start, but Cambridge took the lead on 12 minutes when centre Matthew Hema powered his way over, Lawrence Rayner converting.
That did not deter the hosts, though, who hit back four minutes later as prop McNulty was driven over from a lineout, fly-half Laurence May adding the extras.
Chinnor had been dominating possession and territory, but the crucial moment of the half arrived on 26 minutes.
Hema, impressive in the Cambridge midfield, was yellow-carded for taking Watson out in the air after the scrum-half had collected a high kick and the Oxfordshire side took full advantage of the extra man to score twice and lead 19-7.
Elder broke the gain line and Chinnor had loads of space out on the right. Quick ball allowed them to exploit it and Worrall raced over for his sixth try of the season, May adding the extras.
The home side were in control and, after the forwards sucked Cambridge in, Watson spread wide to Pete Laverick who sent Yawayawa diving over out wide for an unconverted try.
The visitors finished the half on top as they went in search of a reply but, despite seeing Carl Kirwan sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on, a brilliant defensive shift from the hosts, which included a fine shot from Watson on his own five-metre line, kept them out.
Cambridge started the second half well and Joe Tarrant’s unconverted try reduced the home side’s lead to seven points.
The visitors had the bit between their teeth, but Laverick won a crucial penalty on half-way which allowed Chinnor to kick their way up the pitch.
A period of pressure took its toll eventually and, after patient work from the forwards, Ryan played in Worrall for his second try of the game. May converted from the touchline to make it 26-12 after 56 minutes.
Mike Mayhew’s unconverted try cut into Chinnor’s lead again, but the hosts always seemed to be in control and a May penalty kept the visitors at arm’s length with 13 minutes to go.
The Kingsey Road-based side are on a roll at the moment and there was still time for hooker Selway’s customary try on home soil – his sixth of the campaign. He joined the end of a driving lineout to go over for an unconverted score on 76 minutes.
Cambridge finished the match with the final score, Mayhew crossing again, but it was merely a bonus-point for the visitors as Chinnor rolled on with a third straight home success.
Chinnor: C Ryan, Worrall, Laverick, Elder, Yawayawa, May, Watson, Southworth, Selway, McNulty, Ramshaw, Ehizode, Dancer, Kirwan, Treviranus.
Replacements: Fidler, Pieterse, W Ryan, Marley, Ashby.
Cambridge: Tarrant, Green, Hema, Penfold, Henderson, Rayner, Creighton, Langley, Rayment, Peck, Conquest, Baxter, Bretag-Norris, Dawson, McCloud.
Replacements: Mayhew, Meek, Sloot, Rawlings, Adamson.