League leaders just too strong for improving Chiltern
It was always going to be a challenge playing the league leaders, especially after the heavy defeat in the return fixture earlier in the season.
Match report by Charles Owen-Conway
There is no doubt that Chiltern have improved considerably over the last few games and, indeed with a near strength full side, they were anything but overawed by the Tonbridge team.
Early exchanges were shared and whilst Tonbridge backs looked strong Chiltern were more than holding their own, both in the scrums and lineouts. Each side had opportunities to open the scoring but it was not until the 15th minute when a lovely miss pass opened up the Chiltern defence to allow Tonbridge to score their first try wide out; the conversion was missed.
Chiltern came straight back against their illustrious opponents and after a series of penalties had allowed them good field position, some excellent interplay between the forwards gave Ryan Cole the opportunity to drive over in the corner for an unconverted try to level the score at 5-5
We were watching an excellent game of rugby, but unfortunately Children lost both Jordan Scott and George Bartlett, their influential back row players, to injury before half time. Whilst this didn't weaken the scrum or the lineout, it did start to expose some gaps in the loose play.
One too many offences gave Tonbridge the opportunity to move ahead with a penalty, and with the last play of the first half, a sloppy back pass allowed the visitors to gain possession and cross the line for their second try, which again was unconverted. A half time score of 5-13 was commendable for Chiltern and had left Tonbridge realising that they had a real game of rugby on their hands.
As the game wore on in the second half, the loss of the two outstanding back row forwards became more evident and Tonbridge were able to score a further four tries. Overall the score rather flattered Tonbridge and although they were clearly the better side, Chiltern continued to exert pressure particularly at the scrum and frustration grew with the Tonbridge replacement prop being yellow carded.
We will have two wait and see how serious the Chiltern injuries proved to be, but there is no doubt that we are proving far more competitive than at the beginning of the season - although rather like two years ago, it may be too little too late!
Next Saturday the team travels to Westcliff, who won narrowly at Chiltern early in the season.