CHINNOR 31-10 ROSSLYN PARK
FRIDAY 9 FEBRUARY
By RHYS STRATTON
A heavy downpour and an already boggy pitch made for a tentative start to the contest for both sides on Friday night with both teams employing a kick-heavy strategy early on. The hosts opened the scoring first when a collapsed scrum thanks to a churned-up pitch underfoot saw Chinnor awarded a penalty in a dangerous area. They headed into the corner and crossed over from the lineout through Max Clementson.
A good passage from Park in the opposition half followed as some dynamic carrying across multiple phases stretched the defence, but the hosts recovered, and the attack eventually stalled, resulting in a hopeful kick in behind that was caught for a mark. However, the Chinnor clearance was shanked into touch and Park could relaunch the attack once more. This time the defence was marched back thanks to an onslaught of powerful carries that brought play all the way down to the Chinnor try line, but a last second miscalculation of a ruck entry was penalised, which allowed the hosts to clear.
Park were eager to get back on the attack once again following the clearance but an interception out of the blue by George Worboys killed what momentum had been building and saw the league leaders double their lead. Another interception soon followed from the back of a scrum just outside the 22 that provided the platform for Chinnor to launch an attack in which they spread the ball to the left-hand touchline before working it back to Joe Browning on the right wing for the score.
The 1st XV made their way back into the contest after this series of unfortunate events and were able to squeeze two quick penalties which set up a lineout from short distance. The driving maul duly powered over the Chinnor line and Isaac Miller pulled one back. Towards the end of the half, a yellow card for a Matt Gordon high tackle led to Clementson crossing over from the back of a maul for the second time and Chinnor took a commanding lead into the break.
Things were much closer in the second half with both defences generally getting the better of the opposition attacks. Chinnor did extend their lead after 10 minutes through Willie Ryan, however this was to be their final score in the contest.
Following Ryan’s try, Park began to ramp up the pressure once more and were able to head to the corner after a Chinnor high tackle in midfield, but a crucial intervention at the lineout helped the hosts to hold out. Eventually, with 15 minutes left to play, a lineout deep in Chinnor territory was converted into points thanks to another powerful maul which saw Jasper Cameron dot down. A stilted final 10 minutes was dominated by set pieces and saw no further points tallied by either side as the wet conditions contributed to numerous handling errors and the home side fell back on a passive kicking game that forced the 1st XV to continuously attack from deep. The lead that the league leaders had bult in the first half was enough to see them through and they were able to secure an impressive 9th consecutive win.
Referee: Jamie Parr
Tries: Clementson (7’, 34’), Worboys (20’), Browning (25’), Ryan (50’)
Conversions: Worboys (26’, 35’, 51’)
Yellow Cards: N/A
Team: Lines , Walker, Hardwick, Curry, Brockschmidt, Wharton, Clementson, Ryan, James-Carter, Worboys, Goss, Bourton, Hughes, Browning, Feeney
Replacements: Darlington, McNulty, Woodward, Stokes, Clifford
Tries: Miller (29’), Cameron (65’)
Yellow Cards: Gordon (32’)
Team: Buckingham, Miller, Hay, Martin, Spencer, Hosking, Ellis, Bolwell, Fenley, Bragman, Glover, Gordon, Stanton, Walker, Smith
Replacements: Cameron, Wade, Stevenson, Hiscocks, Craven
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Bishop’s Stortford 14 – 26 Rams
Cinderford 18 – 30 Blackheath
Darlington Mowden Park 34 – 22 Richmond
Leicester Lions 10 – 20 Birmingham Moseley
Sale FC 31 – 3 Plymouth Albion
Taunton Titans 49 – 14 Sedgley Park
This week in National One saw Blackheath, Moseley and Rams all win away from home, with the latter’s victory over Bishop’s Stortford keeping them in touch with the league leaders Chinnor. Elsewhere, DMP, Sale and Taunton each recorded big bonus-point wins at home over Richmond, Plymouth and Sedgley Park respectively.
Up Next for Park is a home stand against the free-scoring Taunton Titans. Match tickets are on sale here.