On a bright sunny day Chippenham U12’s went to Old Redcliffians to try to retain the Land Rover trophy they won as U11’s and of course the experience to join the parade of Champions at the Premiership final in May at Twickenham
It was cold but ideal weather for rugby and the whole squad rose to the occasion. What followed was a performance that the whole U12 squad should be proud of including those that couldn’t be selected due to only 20 being allowed. Joe Brown who couldn’t play because of injury came along to support the team and stayed all day which was a long day but worth it. The draw saw Chippenham in a pool with Taunton, Clifton and St Marys Old Boys.
Chippenham played a great game of rugby from the off and were up for defending their trophy. The forwards were rucking well and giving quick clean ball to the backs that were well orchestrated by Al Mackenzie. From such a move the ball was fed along the backs to the charging Gregor Morton to drive over and score. Majority of the game was played in the Taunton half and Chippenham were up and defending really well. Then just before half time Al Dancing feet Mackenzie saw the space and went on a neat run and dived over to score. Not satisfied with scoring Al wanted to get an egg as well!!!! The second half continued in much the same way. Chippenham defending well and up quickly as a unit stopping any attack from getting under way. Taunton played well but was up against a determined Chippenham side. Final score 10 -0.
Game 2 vs Clifton Final Score 20-0 Tries by Al Mackenzie, Conner Beer(3)
Chippenham continued in the same way as the previous game taking the game to Clifton.From the kick off a great kick by Al Mackenzie hanging in the air allowed the forwards to get up and challenge for the ball. Defending the line really well whenever the ball was the Chippenham half and claver kicking by Al Mackenzie and Jack Smith. The forwards rucking well and allowing the ball to be released along the backs quickly. Josh Rhino Adams as he did in all games rose to the challenge and screamed for the ball. Caught and went on several driving runs. Clifton never allowed to get into any game pattern. Then Conner Beer took the ball on a charging run to what everyone thought was the first score of the game only for it to be called off for a hand off, even with 2 hands on the ball!!!! It was only a matter of time before the score came. From a solid scrum Holly Selman fed the ball quickly to Al “dancing feet” Mackenzie who danced in to score in the last move of the half. The second half was much of the same. Then came the” Eeyore” moment of the day. James Utton went on a rampaging run. The defender was bounced off and James was in the Try area. As James went to put the ball down he spilled it!!! Then came the Conner Beer show. Playing in an unusual position at centre it was almost as if he had played there all the time. From quick ball secured by the forwards Conner was given the ball who drove through and scored a hat trick. One of these he was down and stretched out with everything to just touch the ball down. Final score 20-0
A great game of rugby is always played between these two sides and Chippenham always rise to the occasion as they know they have to. A good outfit SMOB always contribute to a hard fair and clean game. This game was won with the ball being fed along the backs. The forwards were sucking in the SMOB defence and allowing overlaps and spare players to run in the tries. It was almost as if at times Chippenham had 16 or 17 on the pitch. Quinn Clark settled the nerves when he picked the ball and drove through to score in the corner. Then from a ball worked along the backs from a well won ruck the ball was fed out to Josh Lever to carry the ball to score unopposed. Conner Beer again rolling as he was failed to be held in the tackle and stretched for the line to score. The final score of the game came from a bit of SMOB indecision. From a tap penalty the ball was spilled and Gregor Morton scooped the ball up to take on and score. Final score 20 – 0 and Chippenham had won all their pool games without conceding a try.
Quarter Final vs Bradford On Avon Final Score 5 – 0 Try by Tom Royston
A keenly contested game with BOA ensued. When the teams last played BOA were happy to claim beating the Wiltshire champions so Chippenham were more than happy to put the records straight. This was one game and not the 2 in our last meeting where each team won one game!!! Chippenham took the game to BOA, continually attacking and most of the first half being played in the BOA half. The odd occasion when BOA foraged into the Chippenham half they were met with a solid defence who never let anything through. The forwards working tirelessly to ruck and counter ruck. The half backs working well together to release quick ball out to the waiting backs who charged through. Then just before half time form a continuous barrage of pressure within 5m of the BOA line Tom Royston picked up the ball and dived through to score. BOA came out with a new vigour in the second half and tried to get something going. They made good inroads into the Chippenham half more often than in the first half but the Chippenham defence stood tall and every one of the squad stood up and was counted. This time it was the turn of Chippenham to have few referees on the sideline and for the BOA coach to be part of the banter!!! James Utton making a great clearance kick when the Chippenham line was under immense pressure. A really hard game but one which Chippenham emerged victorious and still no tries conceded. A good game of rugby contributed to by BOA as well. Full time 5 – 0
Semi Final vs Exmouth Final Score 5 -0 Try by Olly Clements
With the final so close and a possible trip to Twickenham looming Chippenham came up against an unknown in Exmouth. Chippenham didn’t play their best game of the tournament but still managed to pressure the Exmouth line. Jack Smith playing at full back had the game of his life. Clever kicking at the right times, taking the ball on a jinking little run to go over half the pitch avoiding tackles and nearly through only to be halted at the last moment. A lot of the early play was in the Exmouth 22 but Chippenham just couldn’t find the final ball or run to score. Then a crunching tackle by Al Mackenzie just before half time seemed to lift the whole team. It also rattled Exmouth, which worked in Chippenhams favour. The second half and Chippenham took the game to Exmouth. They put a lot of pressure on the Exmouth line and from a ruck Olly Clements picked the ball up and saw the gap to push through to score. Exmouth were not going to give this up without a fight and tried their hardest to get that equalising score but the Chippenham defence held out as it had all day. Final score 5 – 0 and Chippenham were into the final.
Chippenham were really psyched up for this game having seen some of the earlier Winscombe games. If the tall winger was to be stopped then Chippenhams defence needed to be immense. They had done their homework and stopped any ball getting passed along the lines. AS soon as possible Chippenham were up in their faces disrupting all the play. Great tackles and pressure ensured Winscombe could not settle into any pattern. From the kick off Tom was up to catch the ball and drive on. The forwards were all working really well. The backs holding good lines and running onto the ball at pace. It all came together beautifully and Chippenham were not going to let go of their trophy without a fight. Chippenham kept all the play in the Winscombe half constantly peppering the line. It was only a matter of time and then it came. Al Mackenzie went on a run to score as the defence appeared to open up. Chippenham with their heads up even higher kept up the pressure in the second half. As the tall winger eluded the tackle from James, he was off striding down the wing. Within an instant Josh Lever and Conner Beer were striding across the pitch to make up the ground. Conner put in an immense tackle to stop the attack. Then a real great moment of rugby. The forwards gathered the ball and rucked over. Fed along the backs to Al Mackenzie who released the ball to Josh Lever who had a big overlap but space was getting tight. Josh drew in the defender an offloaded to Gregor Morton who crashed through to score. Every player in the squad played their part. A great final in which Winscombe had contributed to a good game of rugby. They gave their all and the disappointment was clear to see. Then the relief was clear to see as the final whistle went and Chippenham had retained their trophy.
A great day’s rugby by Chippenham who retained the Land rover Cup and even better as we learned that the U11’s had also won their cup. Many thanks go to the hosts and the organisers of this tournament. All played in great spirits and clean fun. All teams played their part as well to make it an enjoyable day. I do not think there will be many at the parade of champions with both the U11’s and U12’s represented by one club.
Chippenham can be extremely proud of the efforts of the U11 and U12 squads. And both also kept clean sheets all day and did not concede a single try. The U 12’s defended absolutely brilliantly which was the basis of their success today. The rucking was great allowing the backs to be released quickly with defences scrambling to get into position and also on so many occasions there was an overlap. Often it was almost like Chippenham were playing with 17 players. Such was the understanding and cohesion shown by the squad. After a very long day you could not single out a single player as they all contributed one way or another to the success and as I say that includes those that could not be selected due to number restrictions. It was decided that Conner Beer got Man of the tournament playing out of position Conner was always on hand to carry the ball forward and attack the defence but also defended when called upon. A very proud moment for all concerned and we can start booking the coach to Twickenham for the parade of champions…….or maybe a train with the U11’s as well!!! The whole team are looking forward to being lead around Twickenham by their head coach in whichever attire he chooses to dress up in!!!
The Pink Pad & Pen Man.