Match Report 1stXV v Chingford
CHILTERN COME OFF SECOND BEST AGAINST 2ND IN THE LEAGUE CHINGFORD
As a total contrast to last week’s Bucks Cup Final, a lovely sunny day greeted Chingford who have steadily maintained their challenge at the top of the league running just behind leaders Brentwood.
Late changes to the Chiltern side and two early injuries to Josh Davies and Lloyd Anderson meant that Chiltern had to adjust their game plan significantly. The good news was that 12 of the 18 starting squad have come up through the club’s ranks right from minis and juniors!
Penned in their own 22 Chiltern obtained good turnover ball and centre Davies powered his way up field to create an excellent opportunity for the home side but as he was tackled the ball went loose and the visitors were able to clear their lines. Unfortunately Davies had to leave the field with a head knock which was compounded when winger Anderson then turned his ankle. The late withdrawal of Stuart Pearham meant a first 1st XV appearance in more than three years for Danny Newlands who now had to take up an unfamiliar position on the wing. Not surprisingly the Chiltern defence was struggling to get their backs into an organised line and an excellent break by the Chingford centre found their blindside flanker in support and who powered over to score their first try.
Both sides but particularly Chiltern were struggling to come to terms with the referee’s somewhat laisse fair attitude towards offside particularly at the breakdown and his lack of understanding of the scrummage. Chiltern went further behind when full back Chris Jack was penalised for not releasing the ball although the first offence was the tackler not allowing him to get up but which was not penalised. The Chingford back line were in good form but tenacious tackling, particularly from the Chiltern back row of George Bartlett, Jordan Scott and skipper Ryan Cole were outstanding keep them at bay in terms of tries but two more penalties were kicked to one from Ollie Choules making the score 3-14.
As the half drew to a close and with Chingford attacking close to the Chiltern line loose head prop Charlie Perkins was harshly judged to have knocked the ball on deliberately which also yielded a yellow card. Prior to this the Chiltern scrum were very comfortable but with the Chiltern scrum reduced to 7 players Chingford opted for a scrum penalty.
Whilst I am always reluctant to criticise the referee whose job is extraordinarily difficult, his decision to allow the scrum to turn fully 180° without being reset and to then allow Chingford to pick up the ball and touch down was extraordinary. It was a crucial decision as at only 3-14 down and with the wind in their favour in the second half Chiltern would have still been well in the game so 19–3 to Chingford was rather flattering although they were marginally the stronger side.
In the second half with the wind giving them some advantage again the game flowed better and the score remained the same until the 30th minute until a succession of well executed, punishing drives by Chingford made space for their left-wing to score in the corner. The conversion was missed and this was a prelude to Chiltern attacking strongly with some excellent handling and support play. A mistake by Chingford who dropped a pass under strong pressure saw Choules hack the ball on and he had the speed to outpace the defence to score a try which he also converted. 10-24 and Chiltern were working hard to try to snatch a losing bonus point as were Chingford trying to get their 4 try bonus point. It was stale mate right up until the last play of the game when an excellent driving maul gave Chingford the try they craved which left the final score Chiltern 10 Chingford 31.
It was a pretty frustrating game all-round but overall Chingford’s stronger forwards created a deserved win for Chingford although the score was somewhat flattering. After the poor weather and exertions of the last month there is a welcome two week break now before Chiltern travel the short distance to Ruislip when they will look to get back to winning ways.