Chiefs - Report
Determined Barum upset unbeaten Chinnor
Barnstaple become the first side this season to beat Chinnor after 23 wins from 23 games for the Oxfordshire side.
Despite a shaky start that saw Barum concede three penalties in the first two minutes, giving up valuable field position, Barum took an early lead. When the Chinnor midfield spilled ball under pressure from the Carter brothers on the halfway line Luke Berry was able to gather the loose ball and kick ahead. Winston James, tracking on the inside, won the race to the bouncing ball and just beat the cover defence in a race to the line, touching down to the left of the posts. Josh Squire missed the conversion.
Barnstaple were then given a man advantage when the Chinnor tight head, Joe Pickett, was sin binned for a late, no arm hit on Barnstaple full back Will Topps, but the chiefs were unable to take advantage and the only score during the next ten minutes was a Chinnor penalty from James Cathcart.
Cathcart struck again shortly after Pickett’s return before Chinnor seized control of the game on 27 minutes. A limping Pip Seymour on the Chinnor wing, who had been denied just moments before by a cover tackle, got on the end of a pin point cross kick from Cathcart to score wide out. The conversion was missed and a determined Barum came back strongly.
Gary Turner, who caused Chinnor problems at the restart all day, stole the ball in the air and the Barum backs threatened out wide. The result was a penalty to Barum, which Squire knocked over to reduce the arrears. There followed a five minute spell of Barum dominance before the break and the chiefs made it count when Toby Williamson scored in the corner on the stroke of half time.
Tom Skelding claimed clean line out ball on the half way line and when it was spread to the backs Topps cut straight through the heart of the Chinnor midfield on the end of a Squire pass. The full back arced left, beat the cover defence for pace and was left with the relatively simple task of drawing the last man before passing to Williamson, who dived over despite the despairing lunge of a scrambling Seymour.
The second half got under way with Cathcart knocking over a third penalty, to make it 14-13 and give Chinnor the lead again. Squire replied in kind ten minutes later to give Barum the lead again but they could have been in trouble shortly after, as sam roberts saw yellow for persistent offside. However, the Barum defence held firm in the face of concerted Chinnor pressure, with young flanker Alex Priest, making his debut start, impressing at the breakdown.
Chinnor did, however, seize the initiative after Roberts’ return with Alan Cawston scoring a try from a driving maul on the hour mark. That would mark the last time Chinnor led, although at one point it did seem Barum’s chance may have gone. They spurned the chance to level the scores with 15 minutes remaining, after a Squire kick isolated Chinnor full back Henry Winters, who was gang tackled by a chasing trio of Topps, Johny Carter and Nielson Webber. The result was a penalty but Barum opted for the corner and were repelled.
But the introduction of Mikey Sumner in place of Josh Lee on 68 minutes had an immediate positive impact. With Turner moved up to lock Sumner immediately won a penalty at the breakdown which Squire kicked from 40 metres to tie the scores. And five minutes later Sumner again got low over the ball and forced the referee to penalise Chinnor for holding on. Squire was again deadly accurate from the Chinnor ten metre line, giving Barum the lead with four to play.
And Barum looked to have closed the game out, holding on to the ball for three minutes from the restart, despite Topps opting to run the ball from his 22. Fortuinately the full back found himself marked by a prop and hooker and easily out stripped them, making 40 yards up the field. A series of tight drives saw Barum hold on to the ball, before, with just seconds remaining, the referee somehow missed Chinnor diving over the top of a ruck, joining from the side and handling on the floor as they turned the ball over.
Chinnor attacked from deep and looked to have made a decent break when Chinnor centre Sam Stoop found himself beating Barum prop Jordan Patey for pace down the wing. However, Patey worked hard and after Stoop was slightly slowed up by Johny Carter a despairing dive from Patey saw him haul Stoop into touch, ending the game and prompting a roar of delight from the Barnstaple players.
After the game Barum were complimented by the Chinnor officials, who gave the man of the match cava to Squire, although they suggested that in reality there were probably 15 or 16 players they could have picked to receive a bottle of bubbly, if only they could afford it.