And exhibited in huge quantities by Bicester’s U16s at Chinnor on Sunday. The stats, for what they’re worth, show a Chinnor win by 4 tries to Bicester’s 2 and a final score of 22-10. But the score didn’t reflect what this amazing group of players gave us on Sunday; to describe this match in terms of the score is like describing the ceiling of the Sistine chapel in terms of the amount of paint it used, or reducing the Taj Mahal to an account of the quantity of marble used to build it. It was a great game, probably the most memorable performance this Bicester team have ever put on.
Some context; Chinnor are an outstanding side. Physical, fast, dynamic, well-coached, and well –disciplined. They went through division 1 unbeaten last year and are unbeaten in the league this year. By all accounts they expected Bicester to arrive with fire in their bellies and by god this team gave it to them!
Predictably, the Bicester pack set out to send a message to Chinnor in the scrum and they did this emphatically; there was only 1 scrum in the whole game where Chinnor were able to generate clean, tidy ball ( and they lost several on their own put in) and that was only achieved at the end of the game with our front row, bereft of replacements today, barely able to walk. And if all the forwards raised the bar in their performance, all the backs set new standards in theirs – it is impossible to single out any one player for outstanding performance. Every single player gave their finest ever performance in a Bicester shirt. Guts, courage, commitment, teamwork – every single one of them.
We arrived on the morning minus one of our most potent breakdown threats, with Dan being unwell, and with just 4 subs. The entire squad clearly decided that the best way to react to Dan’s absence was for every single one of them to play like Dan does. Heads were being put where many would fear to put feet, knocks were being shrugged off and the fray re-entered, all in the cause of showing Chinnor ( with their 14 subs, all of whom seemed to be used) that no ball would be won easily, no breakdown would be uncontested, no possession cheaply earned.
We’ve been bringing our sons to rugby now for several years. It can become somewhat routine on occasion – get up, load car, boys play, parents chat, return home. On Sunday at Chinnor we witnessed something special, something that reminds us why we do this, something that stands out in the memory. If the Witney match at home last year was one, as eloquently described in Simon’s match report, that we parents could say ‘we were there’ then this match was one where the players could say “ We were there”.
To every single Bicester U16 player – thank you. You made us very, very proud.