Perhaps this wasn't the fairytale ending the boys might have wanted (writes Eppy Sewell) but their local derby away at Aylesbury in glorious sunshine today was a well fought contest of which they can be proud.
Chinnor's Tom Horgan received the kick off well and passed to Harry F who carried the ball way down the pitch before anyone got a tackle on him. The first scrum of the match was followed by excellent offloads through Harry L and Cameron before a knock-on led to another scrum. Aylesbury won this one but their break-out player was stopped in his tracks by Callum and Chinnor won the ensuing lineout. A scary charge down needed quick thinking by Chinnor to avoid the try and the defence continued near the line forcing the penalty. Some to-ing and fro-ing followed including a great interception from Toby and good work by Tom B, but eventually Aylesbury got the better of Chinnor by having men over and they went over for the first try. Credit to Chinnor for keeping them out wide so that the conversion was too difficult. 5-0
Callum took the kick off brilliantly and even play from both sides saw some really good rugby with Ben A tackling Aylesbury's speedy Ollie Giles to good effect and some great box kicking from Chinnor scrum half Ollie Dawkins. Aylesbury kicked a penalty to touch but Chinnor won the lineout and made good progress through Ben Mac's kicking, however some unlucky bounces and a couple of missed tackles allowed Aylesbury to get back quickly and score under the posts which they converted for 12-0.
A delayed start due to the try scorer having been unavoidably hurt in the tackle, meant that Chinnor could regroup and they came back fighting with a lovely passage of play from a reset scrum that they won, Adam P secured the ball and Ben H passed to Toby for a great try under the posts which he converted himself. 12-7
Chinnor had their chins up again and played some good rugby with some cracking tackles - all the more impressive as all the players were feeling just what that hard ground felt like on bare flesh. Some good defence and brave clearance kicks near the Chinnor line prevented Aylesbury scoring again and a clean pass from a lineout near Aylesbury's 22 went out wide through Harry Fs great hands then on to Matthew S for a wonderful try which he even managed to run in closer to the posts to aid the conversion which was sadly foiled by the upright. A great first half with an even score of 12-12.
A few subs at half time saw the much underused "prop goes to full back swap tactic" (fancy trying it Stuart Lancaster?) as Chris H came into the scrum. Adam P had a shortlived rest as he had to return to replace Callum after a heavy tackle and the first lineout of the second half went against Chinnor from which Aylesbury managed to score again - though Aylesbury were lucky that Cameron and Matt Smith's efforts just missed holding it up. 19-12
Chinnor started to suffer from having too few players to sub on. People who were injured valiantly carried on playing, knowing that there was no choice, and on that hard ground it was all credit that they kept fighting to the end. Lads who had gone off injured needed to come back on when other injuries forced the sub. Aylesbury had their full compliment of subs and used them effectively so that there always seemed to be men over - Rory made some superb tackles on the wing but even he couldn't take on 2 fresh players at a time.
Chinnor's scrum continued to work well with good contributions from all 8; even when the front row needed to be swapped around to accomodate Ben Mac's injury Reggie, Tom and Chris continued the good work in his absence. Hard work from George K at flanker and good interplay between 8 and 9 meant Chinnor worked the scrums well despite several pings to Ollie D for being too quick and putting himself offside. At one point he was lucky not to be yellow carded for repeated infringment, but the ref seemed to realise he was being heavily provoked by his opposite number - a tactic Aylesbury use well!
In the end Aylesbury scored 3 more unanswered tries and converted all 3. They had more players, so lasted the full 60 minutes and although both sides gave away as many penalties, Aylesbury were fresher - so able to take their advantages better and scored from them. Final score 40-12
Don't let this take the shine off a great season Chinnor - you stuck it out to the last, played rugby to be proud of and showed great strength of character - especially those of you who have to return to play alongside those Aylesbury boys at school! Well done.