U15s - Bath 15 Chippenham 28
Aggressive and committed defence puts the squeeze on Bath
On a Sunday initially dominated by Storm Callum, Chippenham travelled to Bath. However, both sides were not going to let the weather get in the way of what is always a keenly contested fixture.
Chippenham kicked off and immediately pressured the Bath side in what became the key difference between the sides over the whole of the game. In very wet conditions both teams competed well for the ball taking it forward through effective driving and recycling. But the close in defence was good on both sides and for the first ten minutes they cancelled each other out. Then from a ruck on the Bath 10 metre line Max A spotted a gap and like a hot knife through butter stepped his man and accelerated to the line. Max P converting.
Chippenham then started to adapt to the conditions better than their opponents and there were a sequence of kicks that they put up and chased hard, each causing mistakes from Bath. This pressure, and the line speed of the Chippenham players when in defence, put Bath on the back-foot and the game moved for significant periods into the Bath half.
Chippenham were protecting their ball in contact well, recycling it and it was from a breakdown in the Bath 22m, and close to the right touchline, that Nattie took the ball and drove over to score. Max P converting again.
Bath continued to resist and expanded their driving game wider were there was more space. However, the Chippenham defence was solid and the forwards worked hard to get quickly to the breakdown.
Close to the break for half-time Bath drove up the right and the pressure sucked in the Chippenham defence. Spotting this Bath put in an excellent cross field kick which was gathered by the Bath wing who went in to score on the left. So the sides turn round with the score 14-5 to Chippenham.
As the second half got underway both sides return to the contest and it continued much as before with the fight for territory being the key. On one excursion into the Bath half Chippenham recycled the ball quickly and fed Jon on the burst. He hit the Bath line at pace and handing off the first tackler he broke through to score under the posts, Max P converted.
Bath then had their strongest part of the game with wave after wave of close in drives headed by their forwards. Chippenham defended bravely to a man, but finally the pressure told and the Bath No8 drove over the line for a try that they failed to convert.
Inspired by this Bath continued to apply pressure and brought the best out of the Chippenham defence who scrambled well to snuff out numerous attacks. This was the key period of the game as although Bath eventually did score again, by the time they did the clock was running down. Their score came from pressure down the left which was driven wide preventing the Bath kicker converting it.
From the re-start Chippenham re-imposed themselves recycling the ball a couple of times before spinning it out left. Great hands saw the ball get to the winger, but he still had two men to beat. Jamie stepped inside his opposite number and then outpaced the cover to score under the posts. Max P keep up his 100% kicking record to seal a memorable victory which was delivered by a committed performance across the whole team. The final score was Chippenham 28 Bath 15, next week Chippenham host Newbury at Allington Fields.