1stXV v Old Priorians Match Report
CHILTERN CONTINUE THEIR WINNING RUN WITH A HARD FOUGHT VICTORY OVER INFORM OLD PRIORIANS
After a somewhat patchy performance last week, Chiltern were somewhat apprehensive ahead of today’s game against OPs. Whilst Chiltern had comprehensively won the return fixture pre-Christmas OPs had won the last five games on the bounce including a comprehensive victory against Fullerians last week who are one of the only two sides to beat Chiltern this season.
A big cheer greeted the appearance of George Bartlett, the outstanding Chiltern flanker, who was making his first appearance in over 15 months having recovered from a bad knee injury. He started on the bench but following an injury to Luke Antos, George was on the pitch after only 15 minutes but then played as if he had never been away!
Chiltern went off like a rocket and great handling from the forwards gave outside half Matt Heeks enough space to get the ball wide to Jack Kenyon. He ran strongly but just as he was about to be tackled into touch managed a clever reverse pass to Tala Petelo who dived over the line for a try in the corner, which was beautifully converted by Stuart Peraham. Pearham was again in excellent form moving the ball quickly and accurately from the breakdown and was able to calmly kick a 45m penalty when OPs were offside. Shortly after that OPs stormed back and were also able to score their first points of the game with a well worked try which was converted. Despite some excellent attacking play by both sides, the defences held firm until Chiltern were penalised shortly before half-time and the successful kick put OPs into the lead 11-10.
Chiltern centre Josh Davies had been forced to leave the field after an accidental collision of his head with an OP boot but his replacement Lloyd Anderson stormed through the opposition defence to touch down for Chiltern’s second try which was duly converted by Pearham. The numerous stoppages in the first half meant that there was still time for Pearham to kick a further penalty from 40m this time after OPs had collapsed the scrum, 20–11 to Chiltern at the interval.
The second half saw Chiltern increasingly dominant and it was no surprise when they were able to score again with a try for Kenyon wide out on the left after excellent play from both Bartlett and Jordan Scott 25-11.
Children were well in the ascendency but after one or two decisions that went against them when they were pressing OPs in their 22 there was no more scoring until about eight minutes before the end of the game. OPs were playing good rugby and were in the Chiltern 22. The defence held firm however until after a series of drives near the line and with both the OPs player and ball on the ground it was somewhat surprising that the OPs player was allowed to pick the ball up and crawl over the line for a try which should not have been awarded as he was out of the game. However the conversion was missed so OPs still needed two scores to scores if they were to be able to try to sneak a win which was highly unlikely as time was nearly over. Chiltern were clearly tiring after defending for so long and OPs were in possession but then knocked on to give Chiltern what should have been the final scrum of the match. The referee having, rather surprisingly, taken up a position on the opposite side of the feed did not however see that the ball had not gone into the scrum and as it flew out on the OP side the number 8 picked up and dived over the line for their 3rd try which was converted. There was however no time to restart again so the final score was 25–23 to Chiltern.
It was an enjoyable game to watch from a spectators’ point of you with excellent skills shown by both sides. Despite their ascendancy Chiltern were somewhat frustrated not to have scored the bonus point try but nevertheless another 4 point win against very good opponents and defeat for Colchester has opened up a gap between third and fourth with Chiltern comfortably occupying 3rd place.
Next week Chiltern travel to play Eton Manor who they defeated in a very close game early in the season. This will be another tough game but if Chiltern play as they can, we can look forward with confidence to the match. Kick off will be at 2.00pm as we are still in January despite the night’s drawing out.