Chippenham U16’s v Cleve u16’s – Match Report
Chippenham put in another winning performance in a closely fought match at Cleve, winning 21-24.
On a great sunny Sunday, it was over to Bristol again to play Cleve in a friendly match. Cleve have always been a very strong side and this was going to be a good test for the Chippenham lads, particularly as a number of the squad were unavailable with other plans or bits of their bodies in plaster. The gathered squad of 21 got into their warm-up with a real purpose and this was going to show later on. It was great to have a Bristol Society Referee officiating and he did an excellent job throughout.
Chippenham opted to kick off but were playing into a stiff breeze and up the slight slope. The early stages went well with the Chippenham pack doing a great job at the breakdown but knock-on’s halted progress for both sides. Cleve mounted a number of attacks and tested the resolute Chippenham defence, which stood up well for a good 5 minutes. Soon the pressure was relieved, when Chippenham got a lineout on the Cleve 22. The ball was cleanly won and Dobbie pinged a perfect pass out to Issac who passed to Elliot and he laid on a brilliant pass to the advancing Jack who careered through a gap to score a great team try. Alex was close with the extras but missed. 0-5. Cleve came swiftly back and scored a try after a good move out wide which they expertly converted 7-5. It was turning into a tight old match and no quarter was given by either side until Cleve got the run of the play and used the direct route to score a second try that was also converted. 14-5. These two scores spurred the Chippenham lads on and they then produced the try of the day. The forwards were securing the ball well and used their power to drive down the far touch with Archie, Ben W, Joel and Ben B all making big yards and sucking in the Cleve defence. Then Dobbie spread the ball out to Issac and he and Elliott ran a great move which pinned the defenders and passed the ball to Ben S who expertly took out the last defender and offloaded to Alex on the overlap and he scored a great team try. Alex then capped it off brilliantly by slotting the conversion. The referee blow for half-time and it was 14-12. Just a mention for Joel, who ended up playing Hooker and was having a storming match, as was the usual Full-back Tom P, who was playing at Flanker. Well done guys!!
The second half started with Cleve kicking off but it went straight into touch, so scrum back and Chippenham on the front foot. Both forwards and backs were putting a huge amount of pressure on Cleve and Dobbie made a great little dart that nearly produced a try but ended with a Cleve lineout near their try line. More Chippenham pressure and then a speculative Cleve kick to clear was not taken well, they snapped up the ball and scored under the posts at the other end… The extras were added and it was 21-12 and Chippenham were in a real battle. They regrouped with smart leadership from Archie and a little change with the impressive Charlie coming in at Hooker and the next attack saw great hands from Ben S, Joel, Ben W and Archie drive the ball back to the Cleve line and then a perfect pass was laid on for Ben W to crash over and score. This wasn’t converted so 21-17 and Chippenham were up for this although they had to deal with an equally determined Cleve defence. Great power from the pack caused more problems and then Elliott showed massive determination to break tackle after tackle and create space for the rampaging Ben W, who had an impressive game, and Ben scored a good try. Dobbie took over the kicking duties and duly added the extras, making it 21-24 and Chippenham were in the lead with about 10 minutes to go. It was all rather tense although Chippenham had more opportunities but they went begging. Then Cleve worked their way back up the pitch with some slick handling and were looking very dangerous. Chippenham had to up the tempo and were helped with the introduction Morgan, Harvey, Euan and Arthur as temporary Flanker. All the Chippenham players put in a good shift in defence and were rather pleased when the Referee blew for full-time and Chippenham had won 21-24.
Many thanks to all the Cleve players and coaches for a cracking morning’s rugby and your kind hospitality. We wish you well for the season ahead. Thanks to the excellent Referee who contributed to a very entertaining match. Next weekend, the U16’s are playing a touring team from Finchley RFC on Saturday with an 11.00am kick-off and we look forward to loads of support. It’s noted that the same touring team are playing Cleve on Sunday morning so they will be in for tough couple of games.