Top Quality Clash down by the River
By Andrew Rooke
Amersham show spirit in Defeat
The excellent start to the season of four wins from four has been tempered a bit by successive losses, albeit to two excellent sides in Chinnor and Oxford Harlequins. Sunday brought the challenge of Marlow, by whom Chiltern were soundly beaten in the Bucks Cup Final last year. With only fifteen players available a number of new positions and partnerships were required and dressing room talk pre-match was all rather glum – which turned out to be rather wrong
The game itself was terrifically hard fought. The big Marlow forwards rucked tirelessly, always aggressive but never unfairly. They worked well together and enabled a number of turnovers, including some where the Chiltern player was adjudged not to have released. However this Chiltern team have the happy knack of never knowing when they are beaten – even if their teamwork and technicality occasionally lets them down. At half-time, thanks to two excellent tries from Chris Grint, Chiltern were deservedly 12 – 10 up.
In the second half small individual errors started to tell – with no subs and many boys playing their second match of the weekend this was perhaps to be expected. Marlow are too good a team not to capitalise and scored two converted tries relatively early in the second half. But Chiltern kept pressing and, with Thomas Bear and Kai Geddes on the wings doing their best Jonny May impression stopping a number of excellent attacks, that score remained at 24 – 12. Much of the match was played in the middle third with scrambling defences trumping some terrific runs and phases of play by both sides. And with a few minutes to go a third superb try by Chris Grint brought the score to 24 – 19 and just the peek of an opportunity or vengeance. But it wasn’t to be and Marlow were fair winners overall.
Fifteen terrific performances. The tight five, Tom Ates, Ben Rooke, Alex Greggor, Archie Binding and Harry Grubb were immense in competing against a much larger pack and never taking a backward step and Will Swerling and Ollie Walter made a fantastic debut as the half back partnership. Thanks to Marlow for tremendous competition and as ever excellent hospitality
A final word. As parents I hope we all get our enjoyment vicariously from watching our sons enjoy the wonderful game of rugby with its opportunities for all shapes and sizes to run and complete. Rules are important in shaping the game and allowing fair competition. But most of all we encourage participation for fun, health and learning the benefits of teamwork. Achieving that balance is difficult and criticism when it isn’t achieved should always be reasonable (author to note that one especially). Today’s game was difficult in that respect. But I hope every one of our young men will remember most of all their terrific performance and that playing rugby is still all about doing your best and having a laugh – the rest will be forgotten.
by Ian Greggor