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Chinnor’s Winning Streak comes to an end at Blackheath – but they hold on as League Leaders

20th February 2024

Chinnor succumbed to only their 4th loss of the season against a committed and high intensity Blackheath. The hosts were determined to overturn the result from earlier in the season and defended their line superbly under an intense barrage of attacks in the second half.

Despite losing Chinnor gained a losing bonus point which, as Reading Rams won, leaves them tied on 77 points. Chinnor’s greatly superior points difference of 366 compared to Rams 181 retains their position as League Leaders. With 7 games to go this season Chinnor need to win every game if they are to gain promotion to the Championship.

The game started brightly for Chinnor and early scrum dominance saw Feeney kick a penalty to within 10 metres. Following a catch and drive and several phases in midfield the ball was thrown wide to Josh Gillespie who showed great power and pace to dive over in the corner, 0-7.

The hosts immediately struck back in similar fashion when a soft penalty midfield was kicked to the corner and Blackheath’s pack drove over the line. Chinnor’s ill-discipline was to cost them deeply as errors in possession 50 metres out led in many occasions to Blackheath having a dangerous attacking lineout or a shot at goal.

Chinnor hit back immediately and with Carter and Smith both making long breaks it seemed like the well-oiled attack was putting them in the right place. Walker plunged over from a strong rolling maul on 25 minutes to extend the lead, 7-12.

More indiscipline costs Chinnor and the hosts were able to bounce back when Captain Burcham scored close to the posts, 14-12.

Chinnor finished the half well on top and it seemed they would take the lead when a maul steamrollered to and over the line. Unfortunately the referee adjudged the ball was held up over the line and blew for halftime. This was to be a recurring theme in the second half when the maul was held up over the line on two more occasions and dropped over the line on another.

Blackheath stormed out of the traps in the second half and, with the benefit of a swirling wind, increased their lead on 44 minutes, 19-12 The battle was well and truly on when another soft indiscretion gave Ffitch the opportunity to extend the lead on 50 minutes, 22-12.

Chinnor them mounted a rousing come-back attempt and encamped within Blackheath’s 22. Time and again they drove for the line but Blackheath’s defence stood firm. Although Blackheath conceded penalty after penalty on their line no further punishment was deemed necessary. They managed to hold out until 75th minute when Chinnor’s backs were utilised and Smith wriggled over, 22-17.

There was still time on the clock to take an unlikely win, but from an attacking lineout the ball was lost and Blackheath managed to run down the clock and joyfully kick the ball dead.

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