Chinnor 12 - 5 Redingensians
Having lost 2 weeks of rugby to the weather and against a side that we have never played before, this was always going to be an "interesting" match. In league terms it was a close run things; with (in theory) Redingensians just needing to pick up a bonus point to secure second position and Chinnor looking to grab a win to take third spot in the League from Bicester. Make no mistake 'Ensians wanted to win this game. Top three in the League qualify for the National Cup; one of our key objectives this season.
In the event the match was anything but pretty, played in cold windy conditions, on an exposed pitch. Thermal knickers were the order of the day....
Redingensians started the brightest exerting early pressure with phase after phase of good quick rugby, into the wind. Things looked very promising when first blood was drawn after just 4 minutes play. Captain Sharp was quickest to react to a loose ball at the base of an attacking ruck which he neatly picked up on the 22, straightened his line to draw his man and timed to offload to full back Richardson perfectly. Richardson bi-sected the Chinnor backs, bursting over to score.
From the restart it was Chinnors turn to plough up into enemy territory making headway with good direct running. Midway through the first half Chinnor drew a penalty just outside the visitors 22, which was quickly taken. Ensians were clearly not 10 and from the second penalty a try was scored.
Sadly these two events were pretty much the highlights of the half. 5 - 5 at half time.
Whilst both sides managed to up the tempo a little in the second half neither really grabbed the match by the scuff of the neck. Both sides rucked and counter rucked forcing turnover ball. The home side blitzed well to put pressure on the 'Ensians attack. Several attacking opportunities for 'Ensians came to nought as knock on's seemed to be the order of the order of the day, accompanied by some very wayward passing in midfield.
That said, it wasn't all doom and gloom; there was some exemplary jackling by Messer's Baker, Sharp and Holt, to name but a few. Oliver and Leicester put in some cracking tackles. The engine room of Stevens and Patterson helped push the opposition back at scrum time.......
Both sides will need to up their games for the up and coming Cup fixtures, but on the day the result should see both sides through.
Well done to man of the match Sharp.