Match Report 1stXV v South Woodham Ferrers
CHILTERN ENJOY A COMFORTABLE BONUS POINT WIN
For the last but one away game of the season the 1ST XV were well supported by the annual Vets Tour members who sampled the delights of Southend on Sea before heading off to watch the match against South Woodham Ferrers (SWF).
The opposition have had a difficult season and although bottom of the league their commitment and admirable quality of working so hard to deny Chiltern an easy victory was evident throughout the game. The Chiltern coaches took the opportunity of playing another 2 colts in the 1s for the first time as well as giving stalwart prop Jamie Reeve his debut at 38! The match was played on a very heavy pitch which had been completely underwater only a week ago and was dominated by a very strong wind blowing from end to end. These factors certainly affected the pace which the game was played at but did not deter Chiltern whose handling and support play was quite outstanding throughout the match.
SWF took first use of the wind and its strength meant that Chiltern had little option but to keep the ball in hand whenever possible. SWF in turn used the wind to good effect and were repeatedly able to clear their lines when under prerssure. Early on and having reached the Chiltern 22 they were rewarded after 10 minutes with a simple penalty which gave them a lead 3–0. This clearly galvanised the boys as they then took total control for the remainder of the half, moving the ball at pace and looking to offload in the tackle whenever possible. After 17 minutes a clearance kick by SWF was beautifully taken in the air inside his own half by winger Jack Kenyon whose elusiveness and strength sent him hurtling up the left-hand touch line before finding support on his inside, play continued and Jack, running hard in support of the carrier took a return pass and dived over in the corner for Chiltern’s first try which went unconverted. Five minutes later another flowing move left SWF without cover and centre Dave John had a straightforward run in for the second try which was converted by Stuart Pearham.
SWF were defending as though their lives depended on it and were frustrating Chiltern particularly at the breakdown which was perhaps being refereed somewhat leniently! However Chiltern simply worked harder and having regained possession a strong run by Jordan Scott was well supported by Simon Coldwell who dived over the line for Chiltern’s third try which was converted by Pearham, which left the score 19–3 at half-time.
Interestingly although they now had the wind in their favour Chiltern were clearly enjoying the running rugby and man of the match George Bartlett was creating havoc with his driving play in the open spaces. After a series of movies back and forth across the pitch George breached the defensive line and stormed in from 20m out for the bonus point try. Again converted by Pearham, Chiltern were away and clear and further increased their lead when, after a strong midfield run by centre Tale Petelo who had an excellent game, Kenyon did brilliantly to touch down in the corner after a flying dive which destroyed the corner flag (legally!) Stuart Pearham now decided to get in on the act of try scoring and after a scything break he went over the line himself without a hand being laid on him for the sixth try which he also converted.
Children now had all their substitutes on the pitch and with the job done, relaxed somewhat in the last 10 minutes of the game. SWF took the opportunity to repeatedly pick and drive through their forwards and scored two consolation tries leaving the final score 38-15 to Chiltern.
In truth it was a very comfortable victory and on a drier pitch the score would have been considerably more but with so many young players being given the opportunity of experiencing first-team rugby it was a very satisfactory victory. Next week is the final home game of the season against Diss and is the occasion of the President’s lunch hosted by Peter Kenyon for the first time.
Even if you are not attending the lunch please do come and support the boys who have given us such huge pleasure throughout the season. We have seen so many changes to personnel this season and with the 1st XV now regularly fielding 10–12 homegrown players, 17 wins so far well exceeds the aspirations at the start of the season, which is great credit to the players and coaching staff alike.
The President’s lunch commences at 12.30pm with kick off at 3.00pm.