Match Report: 1stXV v Old Priorians
By Tony Coyle
CHILTERN GET BACK TO WINNING WAYS AGAINST A COMPETITIVE OLD PRIORIANS
Chiltern travelled to Old Priorians looking to make amends for two early season defeats. OPs had started the season well beating Chiltern’s conquerors from last week Old Haberdashers and local rivals Fullerians.
Whilst Chiltern were still without several first choice players the side had a more balanced look and it was great to see former captain Tom Grammenos lining up on the bench for his first start for over a year. Chiltern went off like a train, securing the ball from the kick-off and after a strong surge by the forwards, from the resulting scrum Chiltern’s pack put on an excellent drive to win a penalty beautifully kicked by young full-back Monty Weatherall.
Not for the last time in the game Chiltern failed to clear their lines from the subsequent kick-off and were penned back in their 22 for some minutes although after repelling some strong attacking play by OPs a slip in defence left a gap for the OP scrum-half to race through for a try under the posts which was also converted.
Both sides were trying to play open expansive rugby but the final pass frequently went to ground and although Chiltern’s pack dominated the game throughout they were unable to capitalise on the possession they were achieving. Late in the half OPs were awarded a slightly odd penalty but gratefully accepted the opportunity to extend their lead to 10–3. Chiltern then dominated the last five minutes of the half and following yet another scrum penalty in their favour Weatherall kicked another penalty to leave the score 10–6 to OPs at half-time.
The second-half started much as the first had finished and strong forward play by Chiltern resulted in yet another penalty which was kicked to the corner from where an excellent line out drive led to a try by Callum Verrall converted by Weatherall.
Both teams continued to attack wherever possible and some strong running from the OPs centre produced an excellent try which was converted and which took them back into the lead at 17–13. Chiltern were definitely playing with more control now and with the forwards again showing their superiority OPs continued to give away penalties. Chiltern took up camp on their five metre line for a series of scrums. Rather surprisingly despite three collapses as Chiltern drove forwards a penalty try was not awarded but it mattered not as outstanding number eight and captain Jordan Scott drove over the line himself for a drive converted by Weatherall and which took Chiltern back into the lead. There was still a twist in the tail as OPs were awarded another penalty, somewhat fortuitously, which tied the scores at 20–20.
Chiltern refused to buckle and with the scrum and lineout out dominating the last five minutes Weatherall calmly stepped up to kick a further penalties after an excellent turn over by Lachlan Collier. With the last play of the game Chiltern won yet another penalty and from 45m Weatherall calmly stroked the ball over to make the game safe at Chiltern 26 OPs 20.
It is taking some time for the squad to learn about each other’s play but the composed showing in the final quarter was encouraging for the team, the coaches and the loyal spectators watching from the sidelines.
Next week Chiltern make second journey of the year to deepest Essex this time to play Southend when again the kickoff will be at 3 PM.