Nice five points from local derby visit to Royal Wootton Bassett
The Chippenham boys returned to the field after their Autumn break with a bonus point win against local rivals Royal Wootton Bassett on away turf. Report by Dan Carter
Despite 2 yellow cards and falling behind twice in the early stages, Chippenham’s superior fitness combined with classic derby day grit eventually overpowered the home side, with the men in red running in six tries in the process.
The dry conditions and the pure, unrelenting excitement of playing in the new red change kit, gave a lot of promise for what the next 80 minutes would be like for the Chippenham outfit. They did not disappoint!
An unsurprisingly feisty start to the derby resulted in two yellow cards in quick succession for the visitors. An eventful 10 minutes followed with the first try of the game going to the vocal home team, despite a last ditch tackle from Ed Hendy. However, Bassett were unable to capitalise on their two man advantage and, after having one of their own sent to the Bin, Chippenham captain Sam Saunders used some sublime footwork to tap down for their first try, sending the Bassett back row flying in the process. Both tries were left unconverted. Some lovely running exit plays showed Chippenham’s early intentions to play the attractive style they have displayed this season so far. However, after a second try for the Royals, this time from the back of a scrum, the half ended with Chippenham trailing by 12 points to 5.
During the break, the Chippenham boys were politely reminded by coach, Dale Burn, about the Tuesday night fitness sessions, and how they would be of more use as the game progresses - not that they need reminding of those dark, wet, cold evenings spent at Allington Fields...
And after a few tactical tweaks, the boys returned to the field. An early try was what the visitors wanted, and an early try was what they got. There was slick midfield handling from Lewis Surry and a deceptive show and go from Jacob Unwin, sending more Bassett defenders flying, and, after drawing in 4 defenders, Unwin unleashed Tom Fogerty to score under the posts. After converting his own try, he successfully returned to the tee after assisting Dan Carter’s try in the right corner. After problems with the scoreboard and many conspiracies questioning the timing of the eventual turning off of Bassett’s latest toy, the players resulted to the old fashioned way: “what’s the score, Sir.” 12 - 17, to Chip.
As the game progressed, the differences in pace at which the two teams played became more evident, as did coach Burn’s smile! Rapid pick and gos from the Chippenham pack were extremely effective, and in the buildup to Brad Doggett’s bulldozing finish on the left, carries from Dan Keat and both Aarons: Ascott and Clarke, put Chippenham on the front foot. Fast thinking and stepping almost resulted in a try under the posts for the winger-turned-flanker, Matt Dickens, if it wasn’t for an excellent last ditch tackle from the Bassett side. But quick recycling of the ball persisted and a few rucks later, Doggett finished a brilliant run of phases for the side in red. Again, Fogarty added the extras. Bassett were unable to halt this exciting, new dimension of play that the Chippenham team were bringing, and the next try was a throwback to the previous one. An initial bust by Charlie Palmer left the home team on the back foot, Ascott capitalised - breaking two tackles on his way to the try line.
Chippenham coaches John “Topper” Brown and ex-Bath hooker Rob Hawkins urged the team to keep their foot on the gas to ensure no late surprises. Their players responded. Dickens, back in his old habitat, made a breathtaking run down the left side, then darting inwards sucking in defenders. An offload to Carter is followed by a “completely intentional,” no look, behind the head pass to Fullback, Will Waddington who slides over the line. Dom Riccio finished the scoring, by adding the extras, ending the derby at 12 points to 36.
The bonus point win keeps Chippenham at second place, 2 points above third placed Salisbury, who will be travelling to Chippenham on Saturday for what promises to be another mouthwatering fixture.