Match Report: 1stXX win over North Walsham
AN EXCELLENT DISPLAY SEES CHILTERN BOUNCE BACK WITH A BONUS POINT WIN
On a blustery and wet afternoon Chiltern entertained a North Walsham side who were unlucky not to win the home fixture last year. They have enjoyed some decent results over the last few weeks and it was perhaps unsurprising that the crowd was treated to a really excellent game of rugby.
The Chiltern side worked extremely hard in training this week and the marked improvements in both the scrum and lineout were very evident.
Playing with the wind in the first half Chiltern were soon attacking strongly and were causing problems for North Walsham in the scrum. Having gained field position in the opposition 22 the ball was moved left and right with strong carries by the pack. Good play down the left wing nearly brought a try for Centre Josh Davies but he was adjudged to have made a second movement as he stretched for the line and the try was disallowed. North Walsham, having kicked to touch from the resultant penalty, saw their line out throw stolen by Chiltern, the ball was passed quickly out to fly half Stuart Pearham who spotting space on the opposite wing put in a delicate crossfield kick which was gathered by Lloyd Anderson whose strength took him over the try line for Chiltern’s first score.
The strength of the wind made place kicking difficult and by his own standards Pearham was a little off target all game. Nevertheless Chiltern were comfortably in control of the play but strong North Walsham defence kept the home side at bay. Chiltern however continued to press and were rewarded with their second try after half an hour when Anderson shrugged off several defenders to score his second try which was this time converted by Pearham.
The Chiltern front row (average age 21!) were having an excellent game and consistently caused North Walsham no end of difficulties in the scrum. NW were starting to give away penalties and with only minutes remaining of the half Pearham attempted a long-range penalty kick from fully 50m. Although the kick fell just short, from the ensuing 22 dropout Chiltern secured the ball, drove forward only for North Walsham to give away yet another penalty. This time Chiltern kicked to the corner and from the ensuing line out an outstanding rolling maul saw prop Callum Newton driven over the line for the third try which whilst unconverted saw Chiltern go into half time with a 17–0 lead.
The strength of the wind was such that the crowd wondered if Chiltern could hold onto the lead against a good side. As it turned out Chiltern dominated the second half with the pack controlling the breakdown and set pieces. The light rain continued to made handling difficult at times with the result that North Walsham were regularly able to clear their lines versus forcing Chiltern to regroup and work their way back upfield numerous times.
Eagerly looking for a bonus point try a misplaced pass was gleefully intercepted by the North Walsham Centre who ran 60 m for an unconverted try 17–5. That was the last time that the visitors were in striking distance of the Chiltern tryline as the home side controlled the ball really well. Time after time the forwards picked and drove only to be frustrated by resolute defence, sometimes legal sometimes illegal!
With 10 minutes remaining yet another strong scrummage inside the visitor’s 22 led to the ball being recycled several times before replacement prop Callum Verrall was driven over the line for Chiltern’s fourth and bonus point try. With the last play of the game yet another infringement by the visitors gave Pearham the opportunity to stretch the lead to 25–5 with a simple penalty from in front of the posts.
After the difficulties of last week this was a very impressive display of controlled positive rugby. The team from 1 to 18 put a massive shift with the front row to the fore and the boys thoroughly deserved to retain third place in the league. Next week they head to Saffron Walden before returning on the 10th of February for the Bucks Cup Final which will be preceded by a Vice President and Life Members lunch. Kick off is at 2.00pm with lunch starting at 12:30.