Chiltern travelled to close neighbours Beaconsfield in the first Bucks Cup tie to be played for three years. A large crowd had gathered to watch two unbeaten sides Beaconsfield top of their league and Chiltern lying third in theirs. The Beaconsfield ground looked immaculate and they took first use of the wind. From the kick-off Chiltern recovered the ball and set up a series of drives moving the defence from one side of the pitch to the other. Their patience was rewarded when a delicate pop pass from centre Pip Blake put Lloyd Anderson into space and his pace and power took him through three tackles before touching down for the first try, after only four minutes, converted by Stuart Pearham.
Whether such an early score made Chiltern complacent but some poor decisions and sloppy play gave Beaconsfield a foothold in the Chiltern half and they were awarded with a penalty comfortably kicked by their excellent scrum half Aled Lewis.
Despite a mountain of possession Chiltern contrived to make error after error against an organised and resolute defence. After conceding yet another penalty Lewis reduced the lead to 6-7.
Clearly the halftime talk by the Chiltern coaches left the players in little doubt that their performance needed to improve and at the start of the second half they played much more coherent rugby, picking and driving close to the fringes or kicking the ball behind the Beaconsfield three quarters to set up good field positions. After 12 minutes and two successful line out drives, young prop Callum Newton was driven over the line for Chiltern’s second try. The conversion by Pearham gave Chiltern what seemed a comfortable lead 14-6 but again the concentration seemed to waver and a careless penalty after a knock-on was followed by some backchat which put the kick within range of the Chiltern posts and Lewis made no mistake with his kick. 14-9.
Whilst Chiltern’s defence was generally sound a quick ball from the lineout was worked out to the left and to Beaconsfield’s extremely Quick winger Dru Labri. He has the pace to go outside full back Chris Jack to score in the corner and to bring the scores level at 14-14. The large contingent of Chiltern supporters were decidedly nervous as Lewis lined up the conversion and were hugely relieved when it drifted wide of the posts.
However, Chiltern's superior fitness was beginning to tell and Beaconsfield were starting to give away penalties and with 10 minutes to go Pearham kicked Chiltern into a 17-14 lead that they retained until the end of the game.
To many supporters of both sides it was a good old-fashioned Bucks Cup derby played in a great spirit and where the league positions meant little. Beaconsfield were solid, committed and well coached and looking back at the game it was clear to see why they sit on top of their league unbeaten and Chiltern were very pleased to come away with the win.
Next week sees the return of league rugby with the visit of Saffron Walden to Weedon Lane for the first time, kick off 3.00pm. This will follow the annual Vets Day touch rugby match and lunch. The Vets game starts at 11.00am and it will be good to see players and spectators alike at the club.
Updated 14:16 - 22 Oct 2017 by Tony Coyle