Frampton travelled to Newlands, the home of Cheltenham Tigers RFC, for the rearranged Gloucestershire RFU Senior Vase cup final against Chosen Hill Former Pupils, with a place in the regional RFU competition as a prize for the winners. Frampton had been soundly thumped at Chosen Hill back in November, so they were very aware of the task that lay ahead of them.
Frampton kicked off to Chosen Hill and immediately won back possession. Frampton’s initial thrusts were repelled and when possession was turned over, Chosen Hill moved the ball upfield to the Frampton 22. A well constructed move led to Chosen Hill crossing in the right hand corner and touching down near the posts for a converted try. The signs were ominous for Frampton, but to their immense credit they won possession again from the kick off, and following a series of phases, Callum Bleakman, making a welcome return to the team after a long injury, crashed over to score under the posts. Lewis Oakley converted. All square, and all to play for.
Being the good side that they are, Chosen Hill went on the offensive again, and tested the Frampton defensive resolve. It wasn’t long before they had scored a second try, this time unconverted, to retake the lead. Frampton refused to lie down, and following a period of pressure in the Chosen Hill 22, they were awarded a simple penalty which Lewis Oakley kicked to leave Frampton trailing by 12 points to 10.
Chosen Hill probably had the edge for the remainder of the half and scored a third try wide out on the left hand side which was well converted. Half time came with Frampton trailing by 19 points to 10, but they were still very much in the match.
Play continued in much the same vein in the second half with both possession and territory ebbing and flowing for both teams. Frampton began to gain some ascendency and made camp in the Chosen Hill 22. After a series of penalties were awarded to Frampton, the referee finally lost patience and sent one of the Chosen Hill props to the sin bin. Frampton chose to scrum from the resulting penalty rather than kicking for touch and taking a line out which worked so well all night. Chosen Hill drove the Frampton pack backwards at the scrum and cleared their line. Frampton refused to give in, and following a clean take at the line out just inside the Chosen Hill 22, Frampton moved the ball wide to right wing Mike Holden, who rounded his man to score a very good try in the corner. Oakley was unable to convert, leaving Chosen Hill leading by 19 points to 15. Game on.
Chosen Hill’s greater experience then began to tell with their forwards gradually taking control of the scrum, their No.8 driving beyond the gain line, and their fly half using his cultured boot to pin Frampton back in their own half. The pressure told eventually with Chosen Hill scoring a fourth try which was converted, and a penalty goal to close out the match. Final score 29 points to 15.
Despite their defeat, this was a fine performance by the Frampton squad on the night. The Chosen Hill coach was very complementary of the young Frampton team. If Frampton can play with the same pace, determination and resolve for the rest of the season, then it will take a good side to beat them. Our congratulations go to Chosen Hill, who now look forward to a tie against the winner of the Devon and Cornwall regional semi-final.