Chippenham U16’s v Dings Crusaders U16’s – BJC Cup Final 22 April 2018
After producing a dynamic display in the Final, Chippenham ended as Runners-up to Dings who won 31-17 in a cracking match.
After all the earlier rounds and much discussion and tossing of coins, it was the Final of the Bristol Junior Combination Cup against Dings and it was going to be played at their new ground at Shaftesbury Park. This fixture had been postponed a number of times due to weather and clashes with Academy fixtures but it was good to finally get it on and both sides were ready for it. The Chippenham lads got changed once someone had found the key to get into the fantastic facilities and prepared well on the brand new Artificial Grass Pitch which looked superb. All the Chippenham lads expressed a view that they can’t wait for this type of surface to be installed at Allington Fields, once the RFU get things rolling…. The weather was very kind and the sun shone on a warm and still day. Ideal conditions for the final that was officiated expertly by a great team of 3 from the Bristol Referee’s Society. The crowds of supporters gathered from far and wide and it was great to see so many come down the M4 to support the lads and they certainly made themselves heard. Dings are an impressive squad of players who play rugby like it should be and after Chippenham lost to them earlier in the season, they knew they would have to raise their game if they were to make it a third piece of silverware in this competition in 4 years – Cup Winners as U12’s and Plate Winners as U15’s. After the warm-ups, it was very clear that Chippenham were up for this and ready.
Dings kicked off and the early stages were a tight affair with determined defences on top. Chippenham put in some massive hits which did some damage until from a penalty, Dings pinged the kicked for a lineout. Now I’m aware that Chippenham have another final next Sunday and others enjoy reading these report, so this report will be brief in detail. Suffice to say that Dings scored the opener but missed the conversion. 5-0. This didn’t deter Chippenham and great attacks were launched by Ben B and Ben W and Dings were pinned back on their line with powerful surges from the fired up forwards. Dings conceded a few penalties but Chippenham kept the pressure on, with the busy Isaac bossing the forwards until the impressive Archie crashed over the line. Alex converted and Chippenham took the lead 5-7. Both sides matched each other in intensity and power demonstrated by these lads was formidable and Chippenham had the edge in the scrum and had a very solid lineout who also nicked a good few Dings throws. However a couple of daft passes and Chippenham found themselves 12-7 down. Regardless, they came back strongly and worked Dings up the pitch with a number of attacks which nearly ended with a try for Jack after a great break by Will but another attack broke down with another error which Dings pounced on quickly and they scored again 19-7. Chippenham kept their heads up and great defence from the likes of Will, Elliott, Tom G and Alex stifled attacks until Dings found a way through and scored just before the half-time whistle. This wasn’t converted leaving it 24-7. Not a great half of rugby from Chippenham and a few mistakes left the team to have a few thoughts…
The second half needed Chippenham to change their style of play and come back strongly and that’s exactly what they did!! From the whistle from the excellent Referee, the lads in black and white threw themselves into the match and put Dings under huge pressure. The harrying from the pack created great ball and after a number of surges, the excellent Oscar reached out with his long arms and scored. The difficult conversion was missed but Chippenham were back in the game at 24-12. The next attack saw plenty of pace and they stretched Dings and would have resulted in a try, only for a knock on when over the line.... Chippenham were now getting into it and the next attack did end with a lovely try, which Alex firmly touched down to make absolutely certain. Again the extras were missed out wide but it was now 24-17 and just one score in it. At this stage the lads believed they could really do it and Dings were looking a bit rattled and the nerves a bit frayed. The breakdown was a bear pit and Jake, Tim, Ben S, Oscar, Owen and Archie got their heads in were it hurt and Chippenham hammered again but then the pressure was released with a couple of penalties when being over-eager to nick the ball. From this Dings marched back up the pitch and scored a good try which was converted. At 31-17 Chippenham still believed but had to show massive defence as it was Dings who now mounted the attacks and Chippenham worked tirelessly to make some headway back up the pitch. The tempo increased and allowing that it was a final, both sides had played some really tough and hard rugby and no ground was given without huge effort. The game was played with a great spirit and respect for each other until a couple of silly incidents which resulted in a Dings player leaving the pitch. It was a shame but the Referee was decisive with his decision. Chippenham got on with the game and knew that time was running out and mounted a number of attacks but couldn’t get going like they had in the third quarter. Regardless of everything they threw at the 14 lads from Dings, they couldn’t the all important score and the final whistle blew to end an enthralling match at 31-17.
At the final whistle, Dings were understandably ecstatic and congratulations to them on winning the Cup as they were the better side on the day. The Chippenham lads were pretty muted but after they’d collected their runners-up medals, they gathered their thoughts and considered what might have been. At this level of rugby, it can be the small things that make the difference and that was the case today. But its onwards to next Sunday!!
Many thanks to the organisers from the Bristol Junior Combination who have done a brilliant job over the years and Chippenham have had their name on many age group trophies throughout the years.. but not this year. Thanks also to the excellent team of three officials from the Bristol Referees Society who did a great job and to Dings for hosting the final at their excellent new ground.