Friendly 11th March 2012
Chippenham travelled to Kingwood School with a bare 15 players to play Bath U16s. With a lack of forwards, usual scrum half started at blind side flanker.
From the start it was clear that Bath were going to use their forwards to control the game and had some successes in the early exchanges. However, it was Chippenham who scored first when on 5 mins Josh Lewis wins a lineout on the Bath 22m line which sets up a good series of phase that eventually sees Jim Hillier score wide left (0-5). But this proved to be a false dawn as the Bath forwards then took control of the game, helped by some poor tackling and defensive lines. Bath scored a converted try on 9 mins following a series of drives by their forwards (7-5) and then added a second try 3 mins later following a comedy of errors. Chippenham were attacking inside the Bath 22m, when Bath knocked-on from an attempted interception, Chippenham stood still expecting the whistle. By the time they realised it was not going to happen Bath had already kicked downfield which eventually lead to them scoring a second try (12-5).
Bath were now clearly dominant with the forwards continually winning and securing good ball. They quickly added two more converted tries, the second of which was a solo effort from their No.7 who simply waltzed through our defence from 60ms out. After 25 mins the score was 26-5 with the away supporters contemplating a heavy defeat. However, Chippenham did fashion another score before half time when Bradley Doggett kicked through from the 10m line which oscar ryan chased down. With the ball bouncing toward the try line, the Bath full back was reluctant to try and catch it, preferring to sheppard it past the try line. But determined play by Oscar show him arriving at speed just as the ball crossed the line and grounded the ball first to the referees satisfaction (26-10). HT arrived after only 30 mins.
In Tim’s absence it was down to coach Nick Rees to give the rousing half time speech. It seemed to work as from the kick off Chippenham attacked with more purpose and consistently gaining ground into the Bath half. On 45 mins Chippenham’s pressure was rewarded when Oscar went over for his second try (26-15). But within 5 mins Chippenham’s task got harder when an injury to winger Kieran Gibson meant that they had to play the last 15 mins with only 14 players. However, Chippenham continued to pressurise and were awarded a penalty 5ms from the Bath line. A kick tap from Nick Haller saw Robert Preece dive over to score which Bradley converted from the right hand touchline (26-22). Game on!
Chippenham scented a win and on 63 mins scored their 5th try of the game. From an interception by Nick, Bradley made ground through the middle but was stopped short of the line. Great support from Robert, to Jim to Josh – try scored. Easy game ain’t it! (26-27). Bath, now behind came back strongly but Chippenham closed out the game with some great defending, especially from Jim Hillier with his customary last man saving tackle.
An interesting match on a lovely Sunday morning, but maybe not a game for the purest. The referee’s liberal interpretation of the Laws, particularly at the breakdown had both sets of players and supporters open-mouthed at times.
Come on Chippers!