Old Haberdashers Match Report
Another excellent bonus point win for A&C 1stXV
After last week’s encouraging performance against Brentwood, Chiltern travelled to Old Haberdashers (OH) for the first time. The game was played on a warm sunny day with just two sharp rain showers on a firm flat pitch. Chiltern had to make several last-minute changes following the tragic death of a member of the Grammenos and Wehrle families. Our thoughts go out to them all at this sad time.
The boys clearly felt they needed to put on a performance for their missing colleagues and after a cagey start from both teams, Chiltern’s strength and organisation in defence started to create openings with the opposition being penalised on several occasions. Saracens’ Will Fraser is clearly making a big impact in assisting the Chiltern coaching team with their defensive structures and whilst the first kick at goal was missed, after 20 minutes outstanding fly half Stuart Pearham kicked a penalty which was shortly followed by an excellent try from winger Tala Petelo following good work by Rob Hill. Chiltern were comfortable with the ball in hand and were taking control of the game.
Playing against the wind in the first half and after a couple of speculative kicks forward they realised that keeping the ball in hand was the best way of playing! After several bouts of recycled possession, a long break down the right wing taken on by 18 year old Rob Hill making space and time for the rapidly developing scrumhalf Michael Brothers to score his second try in two games. Chiltern were comfortable at 13 nil but kept the pressure on 0H and it was no surprise when repeated, driving forward pressure lead to young Callum Newton scoring his first try for the club, nicely converted from the touchline by Pearham. There was just time for OH to kick a penalty before half-time with the score at 0H 3 Chiltern 20.
Chiltern had to make several changes following injuries but the replacements fitted in well and it was good to see Jake Cutter and Josh Porter make their debuts for the first team. To be frank the second half saw Chiltern completely in the ascendancy with strong defence creating regular turnover ball and patient work resulting in a succession of tries. The first came from a break out after dispossessing OH in the Chiltern 22. Josh Davies ran nearly 80m and when finally tackled the ball was quickly recycled for Alex Harland to score wideout for a try converted by Pearham. Pearham then scored a try himself with a delightful dummy and dink and was again successful with the conversion. Chiltern were out of sight and the bonus point had been secured. Despite Chiltern’s control 0H had some excellent individual players and with Chiltern failing to regroup quickly enough they took advantage of some space to score their first try making the score 8 - 34.
Full back Chris Jack was away on holiday and with his deputy Lloyd Anderson moving into the centre after an injury to Josh Davies, Jake Cutter came on at full back and his elusive running from deep in the Chiltern 22 led to a splendid try in the corner for Jack Elborn again beautifully converted by Pearham.
0H scored again by taking advantage of a gap left by Chiltern but with Chiltern’s strength and fitness prevailing a further three tries were scored. A second for Michael Brothers, a wonderful 60 yard run from Cutter gave Rob Hill a deserved try both converted by Pearham who then capped an outstanding performance by scoring his second try.
This was a comprehensive win for Chiltern despite having to make numerous changes and the strength in depth of the squad was clearly evident.
It would be hard to single out one player as the whole squad contributed so much but Stephen Gibson led the forwards in an excellent all-round performance ably supported by his back row and halfbacks.
Next week sees Chiltern back at Weedon Lane when we welcome Letchworth who have always proved to be a combative site. The boys are playing exciting skilful rugby and spectators will, I am sure, be treated to an excellent game.
Kick off at 3.00pm preceded by a pre-match all you can eat buffet, at £10 per head, at 1.30pm. Please do come and watch the boys go for their 3rd win in a row.