Spirited Chiltern lose to Oxford Harlequins
Slow start costs dear by Ian Greggor
Chiltern had enjoyed a strong start to the season but the last game, against Chinnor, had proved there was still much to learn. Another tough opponent on Remembrance Sunday, Oxford Harlequins, who we last played a couple of years ago at the Cobham Festival
The first ten minutes saw phase after phase of Chiltern pressure with ball retained in hand and plenty of commitment and determination. But the ball moved only laterally, rarely forwards and a well-organised Oxford side coped with the strong pressure. And Harlequins proved they were equally adept in attack with three excellent converted tries in the next twenty minutes. Rarely did Chiltern commit a particular mistake, but Oxford recycled the ball to great effect with a series of terrific offloads stretching the defence to breaking.
But this is a Chiltern team and by pure endeavour they put Oxford on the backfoot and made ground. Two tries, firstly from Max Eggleton and then Chris Grint started to suggest that, as good as the opponents were, Chiltern could find the ability to match them. 21 – 10 at half-time
Second half, Chiltern are playing downhill, the sun is still out in a blue sky that we want to make darker for Oxford, and the Head Coach has delivered a half-time talk all about tactics not spirit, because we don’t lack the latter.
But Harlequins revert to their excellent rugby of the first half and score two tries in the opening period. All across the field there are notable performances from Chiltern. Our usual talismans to the fore but others too grab their opportunity to make their mark, with great runs from Thomas Bear, Theo Grant, and Drew Skilling. And two more tries too from Gabriel Chadwick and Chris Grint, but these just balance out further Oxford scores. 45 – 24 to Oxford the final score and our visitors are very good value for that win.
Because you are all terribly well educated I don’t need to remind you that the definitions of harlequin include something with many variations. But these particular Harlequins didn’t need too many – just like Chinnor they worked as a team across the pitch and each looked to put their team-mate in space. Simple things done well. Chiltern lacked nothing in defence and improved as the game went on but there is plenty still to learn
Thanks to Mark McKenzie-Crooks for his excellent refereeing