Cleve U16’s v Chippenham U16’s – Sunday 3 December 2017
Chippenham put in a very solid performance to beat a determined Cleve by 12-26 in the Bristol Junior Combination Cup Semi-Final.
As befits the first Sunday in December, it was a still, dry and blooming chilly Sunday morning when the squad gathered at Cleve for this key match. Having travelled this way earlier in the season and come away with a narrow win, the lads knew this would be a tough match, and so it proved. It was a shame that a couple of cry-offs through illness caused some rejigging in the front row but this didn’t affect the Chippenham lad’s determination and focus.
Cleve kicked off the match and after a not very good catch, they soon put huge pressure on Chippenham in the early stages. This was defended strongly and soon Chippenham were on the front foot. A nice attack was stopped after Elliott took a big hit and he needed to take time out and was replaced by the impressive Will. Soon Chippenham were back on the attack and great rucking from Ben W, Tom C, Ben S and Tim made huge ground and then Ben W spotted the gap, drove through the middle to touch down for the first try. Alex used his trusty boot to get the extras and Chippenham were up 0-7. Elliott came back on and soon was at the centre of the next attack which nearly resulted in a score. The Cleve Coaches offered verbal encouragement to their players but this couldn’t stop Alex’s powerful charge down the wing and after 2 superb hand-offs, he touched down for the 2nd Chippenham try. This wasn’t converted, so 0-12. From the Cleve restart, Hugo caught the ball perfectly and set off before passing to Dobbie, who kicked expertly ahead, as he did all match. The kick chase from Tom G caused chaos and soon Ben W had gathered the ball at pace and offloaded brilliantly to the supporting Elliott who scored a great team try. This was converted by Alex making it 0-19 to a very skilful Chippenham. It wasn’t all one way traffic and Cleve lifted themselves with a number of good attacks that resulted in a try in the corner. This wasn’t converted but Cleve were coming back into the game at 5-19. Cleve mounted another attack which got them an attacking lineout 5m from the Chippenham try line. However, the lads stole the ball well and the lines were cleared. The lineout performed brilliantly all game and Joel did a great job throwing in as well as at the breakdown and had one of his best games for Chippenham around the park. Chippenham were pushing Cleve back but a poorly timed tackle earned Tom P a 10 minute rest on the sidelines, just before the excellent Referee blew for half-time. Both teams had been fully committed throughout the first half and there were already a few tired bodies as a result.
Chippenham kicked off the 2nd half with 14 men and soon Tom C took a breather and was replaced by Owen. Soon Cleve were back on the attack and using their pack, they scored a try under the posts which was converted, making it 12-19 and game on. Tom P was ushered back on by the Referee and Chippenham regrouped with Tom C coming back, which was a smart move by the Coaches. Chippenham put good pressure on Cleve and earned a scrum on the 22m line. From this, Tom C picked up and crashed through 2 Cleve tacklers to score a cracking try. This was well converted by Alex and it was now 12-26. The injuries started to mount and a few of the Cleve lads left the fray, which when combined with the huge amount of energy expended by both sides, meant the tempo of the game dropped. Chippenham roused themselves and were very unlucky after a training ground lineout move nearly resulted in a try for Tim but he was halted by solid Cleve defence. Chippenham were now on the front foot and trying to mount attacks but hampered either by little knock-ons or very big Cleve defence. Eddie was unlucky not score in the far corner after a typical Tom C break but was adjudged to have been in touch before dabbing down although it looked mighty close. From the resulting Cleve lineout on their 5m line, Chippenham again stole the ball through Ben S and the forwards got really close to scoring but were held up once again. Regardless of all the effort, time ran out and the Referee blew for full-time, with Chippenham winning 12-26.
Well done to the whole squad of 20 Chippenham lads who all contributed to an impressive and skilful performance. The front row of Archie, Joel and Matthew played the whole game and did really well. The 2nd and back row combinations of Hugo, Owen, Ben W, Ben S, Tim and Tom C were solid throughout in both attack and defence. The Half Backs in Issac, Dobbie and Morgan created plenty of pace for the Centres in Elliott, Will and Jack to make full use. The Back Three players combined from Alex, Tom G, Josh, Eddie and Tom P showed plenty of pace and posed problems whenever they had the ball. You did well.
As a result, Chippenham now move onto the Bristol Junior Combination Cup Final which is going to be against the winners of the other Semi-final between Dings and Keynsham. Should be a cracking final at a date yet to be confirmed.
Many thanks to the Referee, all the Cleve Players and Coaches for a great game and your kind hospitality. We look forward to catching up again later in the season.
Next week its back to the Dorset & Wiltshire Cup and look forward to facing Melksham.