Chippenham U15’s v Winscombe U15’s – Sunday 26 March 2017 – BJC Plate Final
Chippenham took their opportunities in winning an enthralling Bristol Junior Combination Plate Final 28-20 against Winscombe U15’s.
After the disappointment of their previous match, the assembled Chippenham squad were determined to get back to playing their usual style and set about this Final with that determination. As this was a Final it was held at a neutral ground and thanks to Old Redcliffians for kindly agreeing to host the match and arranging the perfect weather. The sun shone throughout on a warm dry day although a strongish breeze blew up the slightly sloping pitch but it was perfect for running rugby. With a few changes in the Chippenham line-up, it was good to see a new 2nd row pairing of Owen and Ben S and half backs in Dobbie and Elliott and it was also good to see Morgan and Eddie come along and support their mates.
The excellent Referee called the captains together, Chippenham won the toss and opted to kick off and play down the slope. The early stages saw great Chippenham pressure and it was good to see the harrying of the back row causing problems for Winscombe but over-eagerness caused a few knock-ons and little mistakes when Chippenham had the ball. From one such mistake close to the Chippenham line, the Winscombe Fly Half, who had a very good game, pounced on the ball and scored the opening try. The extras were missed but this was not the start that Chippenham wanted and they knew they had to cut out the errors and control the ball better. Winscombe used the wind advantage well and opted to kick up field and try and pin Chippenham back. However this just allowed Chippenham time with the ball and to build attacks. From one attack, Ben B crashed through a few tackles but was adjudged to be held up over the line. From the 5 meter scrum, Chippenham launched a couple of ferocious attacks with Tom C very close and then Archie took control and barged over the line for a good try. Alex made a good conversion leaving it 7-5.
The Chippenham forwards were doing a great job at the breakdown, unlike the previous match and Ben W, Jake, Owen, Tim, Ben S and Tom C were turning over ball at a rate of knots. The constant pressure was starting to count and after Winscombe tried to pin Chippenham back, the ball ended with Elliott and he chipped ahead a perfectly weighted kick which he caught expertly on the bounce and scorched over the remaining 50 meters to score an excellent enterprising try. Alex added the extras from out wide with a perfect kick making it 14-5. Chippenham kept up the high tempo in both attack and defence which they needed to do because Winscombe had some excellent and dangerous runners who stretched and tested the defence to the full. Again, little mistakes from Chippenham were causing problems and promising attacks sometimes turned into determined defence and great tackles from Will, Tom P, Alex, Jack, Tom G, Tim and a brilliant try-saver by the excellent Owen were needed. From one such attack from Winscombe the ball spun up into the air, only to be grabbed by Ben W who need no second invitation to sprint from the half-way line and avoid would-be tacklers to score a great try. Alex kept his 100% kicking record and made it 21-5 just as the Referee blew for half-time.
A time for both sides to regroup, refresh and rehydrate on such a warm day. Chippenham made a small change with George coming on at scrum-half, Dobbie moving to fly-half and Travis taking over from the hardworking Owen.
The second half saw Winscombe playing down the slope and from their kick off, Chippenham didn’t do a great job in securing the ball and soon Winscombe were on the attack. They showed their own determination and knew the importance of the next score so set off on some powerful attacks. Sadly, Chippenham slipped off a couple of tackles and it was Winscombe who rightly scored a good try. This was not converted so 21-10. Chippenham launched back into the game and after a number of surges soon had Winscombe back on their line but the lads still seemed to cough up the ball with silly mistakes and conceded penalties and released the pressure. However, they kept composed and the next attack saw Elliott kick ahead and earn a 5 meter scrum, which the pack relished. After Jake secured the put in, as he did all match, and Tom C had a dart, the ball was swung out to the backs and Elliott created a huge gap which he gleefully darted through and he scored an important try under the posts. This made the conversion fairly simple and Alex kept his 100% record and made it 28-10.
You might think that was game over but Winscombe are too good a side to even entertain that and they came back with massive effort which needed huge defence from the likes of Archie, Charlie, Tim and Ben S but regardless of the tackles, Winscombe found space out wide and scored a try which wasn’t converted. 28-15. They weren’t finished and they kept up the pressure, causing a few mistakes and stopping Chippenham from clearing their lines. It was all getting a bit frantic and soon Winscombe launched another attack which created a good try in the far corner. This made the conversion difficult and left the game at 28-20. The Referee indicated there were 3 minutes remaining and this was when Chippenham clicked into gear, steadied their nerves and cut out the mistakes. They worked their way up the pitch and retained the ball well, phase after phase. They kept Winscombe on the back foot and Ben W came close to scoring, as did Tom C just before the Referee blew for full time, which was greeted with a mix of both relief and excitement at winning. Chippenham had won this enthralling BJC Plate Final 28-20 and celebrations and commiserations were shared in equal measure by both teams. A huge credit to the Winscombe players who came over and applauded Chippenham whilst they having a quick team photo under the posts.
A big thank you to the Bristol Society Referee who officiated today and did a superb job throughout. Many thanks to the excellent team at Old Reds who welcomed everyone today in the true spirit of Rugby and huge thanks to the Players, Coaches and Supporters from Winscombe who were a credit to Rugby and their Club. The Final was played a frantic pace with no quarter asked or given by either team and yet the spirit and sportsmanship demonstrated was an example to all. Many thanks to Winscombe for an excellent Final and we wish you well for the remainder of the season.
Well done to all the Chippenham Players and Coaches and enjoy this victory but the season is not over yet….