Chinnor were pipped at the post in this epic encounter.
Match report courtesy of Ed Mezzetti, Oxford Mail
THIS was truly dramatic stuff in front of 1,200 fans at Chapel Gate as Chinnor’s stirring comeback fell just short.
Victory leaves Bournemouth eight points clear at the top of National 3 South West and firm favourites to lift the title, while Chinnor must regroup to ensure they earn at least a play-off spot.
Visiting fly half James Cathcart had a penalty to win the match with the last kick, but saw his effort from the ten-metre line drift to the left of the posts.
Before that Chinnor had battled back from 24-9 down to lead 26-24, despite having three players sin-binned at different times.
The decisive score proved to be a penalty from Bourne-mouth’s assured fly half Dan Pollard soon after Chinnor had taken the lead.
Add to the mix plenty of friction on the touchline and some unsporting booing and this match had everything.
Bournemouth had much the better of the first half and should have been further ahead in the second, with captain Alan Manning and centre Dan Connolly wasting good opportunities.
Chinnor surged back, with wing Pip Seymour scoring both their tries, but they have now suffered successive defeats after 20 straight wins.
Bournemouth had two early let-offs. First, some observers felt Cathcart’s penalty went through the posts, although the flags stayed down.
Then scrum half Sam Hardcastle knocked on as he tried to catch the kick behind the goal line, but Bournemouth spoiled Chinnor’s five-metre scrum and cleared.
Chinnor centre Sam Stoop hit the left post with a drop-goal attempt before Pollard and Cathcart traded penalties.
Pollard slotted a second penalty, then Chinnor flanker Harry Jackman was sin-binned on 16 minutes for what referee James Sullivan deemed persistent offence.
Bournemouth scored two tries with their man up.
Quick hands created an overlap for wing Robbie Searle to dive over on the right, then centre Scott Chislett’s break allowed Pollard to touch down and convert for 18-3.
A penalty apiece from Cathcart and Pollard completed the first half with the hosts well on top.
Prop Manning should have passed with men outside him on 45 minutes, but Pollard slotted a penalty after Chinnor lock Tom Mowbray was yellow-carded.
This spurred Chinnor on and their best attacking passage ended with Seymour scoring from prop Joe Pickett’s pass and Cathcart converting from the touchline.
A dramatic two minutes saw Stoop sin-binned for dissent, Connolly spill the ball with the line at his mercy and Chinnor scramble it clear.
Cathcart landed a penalty after home flanker Tony Dunkerley was sin-binned.
On 69 minutes, a lightning break featuring great pace and handling skills from full back Henry Colver and wing Mark Chase created a second try for Seymour, Cathcart converting for 26-24.
Unfortunately for Chinnor, they were penalised at the next scrum and Pollard landed the points.
Chinnor ran the ball out with enterprise from their own line and earned a penalty in the final minute, but Cathcart could not repeat his earlier accuracy.
Bournemouth’s joy at the final whistle showed how important a match this had been.
Chinnor: Colver, Seymour, Goode, Stoop, Chase, Cathcart, Jones, Winpenny (capt), Tattersall, Pickett (Whelan 63), Mowbray, Smith, Jackman (Harrison 70), Gilbert. Rep not used: Gray.
Referee: J Sullivan (South East Group).
Chinnor man-of-the-match: Goode.