Match Report: 1stXV v Ruislip
ARCTIC CONDITIONS CAN’T STOP CHILTERN WINNING WITH A BONUS POINT
Chiltern travelled to Ruislip to play the rearranged game that fell foul of the snow two weeks ago. With many of the normal squad having anticiped a free weekend, a Chiltern side took to the field yesterday which bore little resemblance to a normal 1st XV, indeed only seven of the side that beat Fullerians last week started the game!
What was remarkable was that with such a makeshift side and playing in near Arctic conditions Chiltern still managed to grind out a bonus point win even though Ruislip had almost their full side available!
Ruislip won the toss and elected to take first use of a strong, bitterly cold wind and their heavier forwards took a route one approach which yielded the first try after eight minutes. Not surprisingly kicking was a nightmare and none of the seven tries scored in the game were converted. As the unfamiliar Chiltern combinations became a little more used to each other and with George Bartlett, playing at centre, combining well with Chris Jack who was playing at 10, Chiltern started to put some good phrases together and with young colt James Waller prominent on the right wing, Ruislip had to scramble well to avoid conceding points. The wind was a major factor throughout the game and time again as frozen hands could not hold onto the ball, Ruislip were able to use the wind to clear their lines. Nevertheless, as we neared the end of the first half, the ball was worked out to winger Jack Kenyon, who had an outstanding game, he beautifully stood up his opposite number before sprinting outside him to score in the corner. With only minutes to go to half-time Waller and then Antos were tackled just short of the try line enabling Ruislip were able to clear their lines before the half-time whistle which left the score 5 – 5.
With the wind now behind them Chiltern dominated the opening exchanges in the second-half and after some solid defence by Pip Blake, a Ruislip dropped pass was kicked through for Kenyon to chase, he somehow manged to scoop the ball up, went again and when stopped just short of the line number 8 Luke Antos who had a wonderful game throughout was on hand to take the pass and to score Chiltern’s second try.
With so many players missing Chiltern had little choice but to select Stuart Pearham on the bench but after his recent fractured wrist it had been hoped he would not be called upon. With normal outside half Ollie Choules also absent Chiltern lacked a kicking playmaker 10 and were unable to clear their lines as well as they might have wished. Ruislip were still paying well and after some sloppy defensive work they put several phases together and scored a deserving equalising try to make the score 10–10.
It was not long before Ruislip came again as Chiltern again failed to clear their lines and after another strong forward drive by their forwards they scored their 3rd try putting them back into the lead.
With just under 20 minutes to go Chiltern brought on Pearham whose impact was immediate. Long raking kicks turned the Ruislip defence and after good interplay between the forwards Antos went over for his second and Chiltern’s equalising try. From the kick-off and having secured possession on his 10m line, Pearham sliced through the defence and when he was stopped just outside Ruislip’s 22 he was able to offload to Callum Newton who broke several tackles to score Chiltern’s 4th and bonus point try.
With the snow now coming down heavily and the wind getting ever stronger thankfully the game finished but with Chiltern still pressing strongly.
I was very proud to watch the attitude and commitment of a Chiltern team missing so many of the first choice squad. To a man the players put in a herculean shift to secure not only a victory, which keeps them in third place in the league, but also achieve a bonus point; it was a truly wonderful effort.
CHILTERN TEAM: Mikey Brothers, Jack Waller, George Bartlett, Pip Blake, Jack Kenyon, Chris Jack, Ted Reus, Charlie Perkins, Henry Bowcock, George Seymour, Luke Donnebaum, Argan Gill, Lewis Culverhouse, Luke Antos. Subs. Stuart Pearham, Callum Newton, Will Price.
Attention now shifts to next week’s visit to Colchester with whom Chiltern have been running neck and neck for third place for most of the season. This will be a monumental task but after the performances in the last two weeks it is one that Chiltern will relish.