Battles win wars, topple thrones, and redraw borders.
By Sam Wheeler
Every age of human history has experienced battles that have been instrumental in molding the future, Battles influence the spread of culture, civilization, and religious dogma. Epic battles such as the likes of Thermopylae (480 BC), Hastings (1066) and f
Battles win wars, topple thrones, and redraw borders. Every age of human history has experienced battles that have been instrumental in molding the future. Battles influence the spread of culture, civilization, and religious dogma. Epic battles such as the likes of Thermopylae (480 BC), Hastings (1066) and for those lucky enough to witness the events that took place at Weedon Lane (Nov 2018). The latter saw The Chiltern Rangers 2nd XV host Reading 2nd VX.
Conditions were ideal for running rugby; although the immanent arrival of the winter equinox meant that the sun was 30 degrees from the horizon and shining into Chiltern eyes for the first half. After a Spartan like address in the changing rooms from their injured captain, the Chiltern Rangers were salivating at the opportunity to get physical with an opposition that had nothing to lose. The first 10 minutes treated the home spectators to some champagne displays of rushing defence, hard running and some delicious displays of individual brilliance. Scrumhalf, Max Dugdale exuded a Napoléonesque command of his forwards who were battering the defensive line at will. Dugdale then found a glimmer of light in the Reading defence, magically squeezed his way through and bagged himself the first try of the game. Whilst small in stature, Max more than makes up for it in courage, grit and old-fashioned mongrel! He topped the tackle count, brought down their big guys when no one else could and never stopped pushing his team forward. Jason Kilbey who is often mistaken for Ed Sheeran had a strong showing across the pitch. Defensively strong, he carried the ball like a man possessed and did well to nab himself two tries. With all famous battles throughout history, there is always a turning point. Full credit goes to Reading who kept plugging away around the fringes of the ruck. Slowly but surely, they inched their way back into the game and by halftime, Chiltern were hanging on to a narrow lead but the men were blowing!
The second half began much the same as the first and although there were opportunities the Chiltern men couldn’t quite finish them off. That was, until, acting captain Toby Neil injected himself into the backline to combine with Dan Kinsey and Ryan Greenstreet, who showed that there is no substitute for pace; leaving defenders in his wake as he left them for dust to score a scintillating try. With all this positive play it is hard to imagine that Chiltern could lose this match. Reading had other ideas and began to make inroads, they found space and not before too long, they scored a couple of tries and found themselves in front on the scoreboard. They then proceeded to pound the Chiltern line for what seemed like an eternity! After breaking his neck twice in the last two years, Mike Shaw was back in the maroon jumper and was a stalwart with his crunching defence and all round play. The longer Reading tried and failed, the bigger the hearts grew for the Chiltern warriors. Jacob James, and Dan Pettinger (Lurch) gave Reading some headaches as they threw their bodies at rucks with no regard for their own wellbeing. The home side survived onslaught after onslaught until Reading won a penalty; this put them ahead by five points. And there was only 90 seconds left on the clock. Peter Gibson rallied the troops for one last-ditch effort. Reading received the kick off and the second runner was caught high. Chiltern front rower Dayne Matthews ripped the ball away and gave it to the backs who proceeded to march up the pitch. Time was up but the Rangers were still in possession. All the Chiltern forwards were crashing their way closer and closer to the line. On his second hit up in four phases, Matthews was found at the bottom of a pile of bodies, ball in hand, over the try line. Dugdale was left to convert from near the side-line and while he was unsuccessful, he was unanimously voted as Chilterns Man of the Match.
It was not quite the result Chiltern were after but they showed plenty of heart to come back from the brink to end the game with their dignity intact.
Chiltern 32 - 32 Reading
MOTM - Max Dugdale, For a Barnstoming perfomance from 9, He would have tackled a train on Saturday.
DOTD - Sam Wheeler, (Non-Playing) - Losing the Kicking Tee resulting in a missed conversion, meaning the game ended up being Drawn. (What a Cock!)