A tough day in the office for the Chippenham Lads.
On a lovely day for running rugby & in front of a great crowd enjoying the CRFC Food & Drink Festival, Chippenham came up short, losing 21-42 against Wimborne.
After last weeks performance against Trowbridge, the Chippenham lads were up for this contest against Wimborne but the fates were against when Gareth Angell picked up an injury in the warm up. This resulted in a reshuffle and saw coach, Rob Hawkins introduced onto the bench.
Wimborne kicked off and showed early adventure from the start which saw good ground made but after making a thumping tackle, Matt Dickens got injured and had to hobble off. This saw Charlie Newman come on with just 5 minutes gone and things weren’t helped with Wimborne scoring the opening try that was converted 0-7. Chippenham got into their stride and settled nicely but the Wimborne defence was solid although a cheap shot on Aaron Clark saw him go down injured. The match was very tight and the Chippenham pack contested strongly, with Wimborne conceding a number of penalties. Unfortunately, Captain Clark had to leave the field with his injury and this brought on Rob Hawkins for his Chippenham debut. It was turning into a tough old match and soon Wimborne lost their winger, meaning 3 players had left the field in the first 20 minutes. Chippenham were a bit disjointed and coughed up a penalty which was slotted by the Wimborne No10 making it 0-10 but then Chippenham showed their intent and a great mazy run from Oli Alcorn saw him score a lovely try which was converted by Al MacKenzie 7-10.
Wimborne suffered a massive loss last time they visited Allington Fields and they were determined not to repeat this although their No7 and No8 got a bit too excited at leading the match. The excellent referee had to step in a few times especially when Chippenham had them under the cosh with an excellent 10 minute spell that they didn’t enjoy. The front row of Lewis, Riley and Newman had a great day and exerted huge pressure on the scrum but this pressure didn’t produce points and then to add to Chippenham’s problems, Charlie Palmer slightly misjudged a tackle and took a knock to the head. Rightly, that was the end of his match and Tom Fogerty came on, requiring a complete rejig in the pack and Sean Johnson went onto flank. This disruption allowed Wimborne to turn defence into attack and they won a kickable penalty, which was slotted leaving the match at 7-13.
The Referee blew for half time after 55 minutes on the pitch. A sign of the amount of injury time and the brilliant Physio Clare Avenell had been kept very busy throughout. Losing 3 of your pack and having no more subs meant that the remaining Chippenham 15 where going to play smart rugby to turn this around but they certainly believed it was achievable.
The second half started and the Chippenham lads readied themselves for comeback but a couple of missed tackles and the slippery Wimborne full back scored a good try which was converted and they had stretched their lead to 7-20. Chippenham kept their focus and mounted some excellent attacks which resulted in the Wimborne No10 earning a yellow card after a deliberate knock on in a desperate attempt to stop a dangerous move. Chippenham launched attacks from left, right and centre and great runs from Fogerty, Nathan Parkes and Johnson very nearly breeched the Wimborne defence and deserved points. These finally came after great hands from Johnson down the wing created space for Ben Hathaway who laid on a perfect flip pass for the advancing Hawkins who scored on his debut. MacKenzie made the excellent conversion from out wide and it was 14-20 with still 25 minutes left.
Wimborne were next to attack but hadn’t counted on the superb defensive efforts from Chippenham and the brilliant clearing kicks from Fogerty. Unfortunately the disruption in the pack continued and at one stage Jake Unwin (inside Centre) and Fogerty (Scrum-half) ended up in the scrum and from this, Wimborne scored another try which was converted and took a 14-27 lead. They quickly scored another one to earn a bonus point from a swift move out wide and soon it was 14-32, which was followed by a penalty kick making it 14-35 and Chippenham were really chasing the game. As Chippenham had no replacements, the 15 worked tirelessly to get back into the game and after some real pace and swift hands, Alcorn scored his second try that was converted by MacKenzie. 21-35 left loads to do with little time left. In the end, it was Wimborne who rounded off a solid performance with the final try and they closed the game out well, winning 21-42.
Huge respect to all the Chippenham lads who battled throughout, often playing in unaccustomed positions but they never gave up in a very tough game. Time to regroup and ready the troops for the trip away at Banbury next Saturday.