Chippenham RFC 1stXV 26-26 Beaconsfield RFC 1stXV
An improved performance from Chippenham resulted in a 26-26 draw against an impressive Beaconsfield.
On a typical autumn day, with the rain hammering down throughout the match, a rejigged Chippenham side welcomed Beaconsfield to Allington Fields for the very first time in a league match. It was good to see Charlie Newman and Dan Keat in the front row and they sandwiched young Kieran Atkin who was making his 2nd appearance for the 1stXV. Making there 1stXV debuts it was great to see Rob Matamosi and Jeremaia Seuta making impressive performances and nice to see young Ryan Surry answering the call and having his first run out of the season. Not having played Beaconsfield previously, it was going to be interesting to see how they handled the Chippenham style of play..
The Referee got the game started in the pouring rain and Chippenham started strongly with Aaron Clark leading by example, as ever. A number of forays into Beaconsfield territory nearly saw Jacob Unwin get close to the line but regardless of the attacks, Chippenham could not get the opening score and then started coughing up penalties at the breakdown, which lost ground. Soon it was Beaconsfield on the attack and after another penalty, they opted for the posts and took the lead with a good kick through the posts 0-3. The back row of Hendy, Dickens and Clark where knocking holes in the defence until Captain Clark took a smack to the head and had to leave the field to be replaced by Mark Hendry. Chippenham soon got into their stride and a storming attack and swift hands from scrum half, Ben Hathaway saw the ball out to Matamosi who scored out wide on his debut. Al Mackenzie was close with the conversion but just wide. 5-3. Smart play from the pack then sucked in the Beaconsfield defence and then a typical break from Surry created space for Unwin to scorch through a gap and score under the posts. Mackenzie successful with the kick and it was 12-3 but Beaconsfield were not out of this and soon it was their great handling in the awful conditions that created space out wide for their winger to score. A good conversion made it 12-10 and game on. Both teams were determined to play open rugby, which is commended considering the slippy conditions but Chippenham were struggling to understand the breakdown interpretation by the Referee and coughed up a penalty which Beaconsfield opted to kick and they retook the lead 12-13. Just before the halftime whistle, a repeat offence and Beaconsfield stretched the lead to 12-16 and Chippenham had a few things to contemplate during the break.
The second half started with the rain continuing and Chippenham showed their intent from the first whistle with a number of attacks, controlled well by the impressive MacKenzie but too often the opportunities were missed. It was then Beaconsfield who turned the ball over and launched an attack which ended with a chip ahead that had the luck of the bounce and they scored under the sticks. The extras were added and it was now 12-23 but Chippenham didn’t let it affect their play and soon they mounted an attack, started with a barnstorming run by the impressive Neli Kolinisau which ended with a nice try for Hendry. The conversion by MacKenzie made it 19-23 and Chippenham were now on the front foot however yet another penalty in the 22 allowed Beaconsfield to increase their lead to 19-26 but there was still plenty of time. Both sides showed great skill and the handling of the wet ball was impressive but it was Chippenham who were doing most of the attacking from all parts of the pitch. They hammered away constantly with Angell, Unwin and Newman at the fore but the Beaconsfield defence was resolute until they became too stretched and Keat dived over for the bonus point try. Mackenzie used his steady boot to get the extras and even it up at 26-26. With 6 minutes left, Chippenham were after the win and continued to launch attack after attack, but again the defence was stout and no further scores were added before the Referee blew full time on an enthralling match.
Both sides should be commended for the way they played the game in awful conditions. As Head Coach, Topper Brown said ‘It was a cracking game in tough conditions but Chippenham left a good few points out there. We gave away too many penalties and need to listen to the Referee. Respect to Beaconsfield who produced a good performance and we look forward to meeting up again later in the season’
Next Saturday Chippenham 1stXV travel to Witney and aim to get back to winning ways.