Chiltern retain the Bucks Cup!
By Tony Coyle
CHILTERN RETAIN THE BUCKS CUP IN A DRAMATIC AND PULSATING GAME AGAINST BEACONSFIELD
What an absorbing and extraordinary Cup Final was played at Beaconsfield yesterday but also one that saw Chiltern retain their title in a see saw game of rugby. As late as Tuesday the game was scheduled as the semi final with the winners to play Aylesbury in the final. In the event Aylesbury withdrew from the competition so yesterday suddenly became the FINAL!
These are the strongest sides in Bucks and after winning the semi final against them last year and then demolishing them in a pre season warm up game Chiltern knew that their opponents would throw everything at them and they did!
Past Chiltern stalwarts, Jonny Hughes and Andy Zair are now back with Beaconsfield and tried their hardest to overturn their former teammates. Chiltern were hit by illness to the always influential Jordan Scott who was suffering from a really nasty stomach bug and lased only 10 minutes but after Chiltern had a taken an early lead with a Stuart Pearham penalty, Chiltern dropped the ball from the restart and Beaconsfield attacked the midfield only for Pearham to totally misjudge his tackle which tipped his opponent over and he was, after much discussion amongst the team of three, shown the red card. It wasn’t malicious, but it was dangerous and off he went! Stalemate then prevailed for nearly half an hour with Chiltern’s defence holding out against 15 men. Despite being one man short Chiltern had the dominant pack and time and again gained penalties and ground from the scrum although in turn Beaconsfield had the advantage of the wind which they used to good effect to clear their line on numerous occasions. After 27 minutes however some sloppy play saw Chiltern offside and Beaconsfield were on the scoreboard from the penalty.
A further Chiltern transgression saw Beaconsfield move ahead 6-3 but the last 5 minutes had Chiltern camped on the Beaconsfield line winning 3 successive scrum penalties. Amazingly no penalty try was forthcoming but from the fourth scrum another drive was almost over the line when the ball was switched to the left and Jack Kenyon had a simple run in for a try which was unconverted, but 8-6 to Chiltern at the break.
Chiltern now had the wind at their backs and the outstanding Teddy Reus at scrum half regularly pegged Beaconsfield back with accurate box kicks. After 5 minutes of the second half Beaconsfield tried to run the ball out of defence but the ball was turned over in the tackle and flanker Sam Risbridger who has made such a positive impression since he joined Chiltern was given the ball 40m out. There was never any doubt that a try was on and duly delivered in the right hand corner. Young colt Monty Wetherall who had a stunning game moving to 10 to replace Pearham kicked an amazing conversion from the touchline to make the score 15-6 to Chiltern. However, failure to secure the ball from the subsequent kick off immediately gave Beaconsfield the chance to reduce the deficit with another penalty 15-9!
Having not been awarded a penalty try in the first half after repeatedly destroying the opposition scrum within 5m of their line it was more than a little frustrating that after Beaconsfield were correctly awarded a penalty from the subsequent catch and drive and a stumble as they moved forward they were immediately awarded a penalty try to put them ahead 16-15.
Chiltern came straight back and after another scrum penalty Weatherall kicked Chiltern back in front 18-16! We then had two events which left the visiting fans somewhat aggrieved. First after an attack towards Chiltern’s line the Beaconsfield winger was tackled and appeared to have put a foot in touch, it want given and to add insult to injury 5 minutes later after an excellent attack gave Beaconsfield the chance of another try a tremendous cover tackle seemed to have saved the day only for the referee to award a try when the ball clearly seemed to have been dropped over the try line! Hey ho 28-18 to Beaconsfield…
Back came a highly aggrieved Chiltern who were ferocious in attack. They turned over Beaconsfield ball and Jake Cutter put a delicate little chip kick forward. Flanker Joe Batt gave chase and outsprinted the Beaconsfield centre to score a splendid try in the corner. This was unconverted but brought the score to 23-28. Two minutes later another turnover ball had Chris Naisby seize on the loose ball, he cleverly chipped it forward, caught the ball on the bounce and ran in from 40m to put Chiltern back in front. The try was converted by Weatherall so 30-28 ahead. The last 5 minutes saw Chiltern in total control against very tired opposition and despite being reduced to 13 players after outstanding skipper Ollie Cato was yellow carded. they remained in charge. The difference in numbers made no difference and Chiltern stormed back into the Beaconsfield 22 and after yet another infringement and another scrum on the 5m line which again did not produce a penalty try number 8 Giles Westgarth decided that enough was enough, he drove forward and powered over with three defenders on his back. The try was duly scored and Chiltern were deserved winners 35-28.
It was an extraordinary game and one that will be talked about for many years to come.
It is sad that so many Bucks clubs don’t seem to want to be involved in the cup competitions but those lucky enough to be at Beaconsfield yesterday were served up a fantastic absorbing game which showed other clubs just what they are missing!