10/04/12...Chinnor's fate down to the last two matches -
RUGBY: National 3 SW - Saturday 07 April 2012; Score: Readingensians 22 vs Chinnor 22: Match report (Contributed)
Chinnor: Seymour T; Cathcart C, 5PG
Redingensians: Stapley 2T; Brown T; Swadling 2 C, PG
THE outcome of this replayed league match would probably decide which of the two teams would play on 28 April in the play-offs to gain the chance of promotion to National League 2.
At the final whistle, the match score was 22-22 - an outcome which favours Chinnor for the play-off place as long as they win their final two matches. The result now means that the Redingensians’ fate is in the hands of others and they must hope for Chinnor to come unstuck in one of their final matches.
This was a pulsating affair full of physicality and determination. Redingensians had the first opportunity to score when in the fourth minute Shaun Brown's penalty kick strayed wide. In the 14th minute Chinnor began a series of attacks resulting in a cross field kick from James Cathcart. The ball was caught just short of the line by Chinnor's Pip Seymour. Chinnor then began a series of rucks which led to a three on one overlap for the visiting side just 15m out. As the pass came across for what seemed an inevitable try, Redingensians’ Dom Gosling ran out and batted the ball away. For this offence he was yellow carded amid howls of protest for a penalty try. Cathcart slotted the resultant penalty to put Chinnor 3-0 up on the 15th minute. Just four minutes later, Redingensians went ahead in the match when a catch and drive ended with Rob Stapley touching down in the corner. With the kick failing, Redingensians led 5-3.
On the 21st minute, a midfield clearing kick from Redingensians was charged down by Matt Goode who, after a few paces, slid in a grubber kick to the line for Seymour to touch down for a Chinnor try. Cathcart's conversion gave Chinnor a 10-5 lead.
Redingensians then began a passage of play where their monster locks drove at the heart of the Chinnor defence. The boys from Thame held firm with Waddingham, in particular delighting in knocking the big men back. Unfortunately for Redingensians, full-back Jevon Marsh was hurt in a tackle and had to be replaced by Guy Swadling. The pressure from Redingensians eventually told when Swadling converted a penalty attempt to reduce the deficit to 10-8.
Chinnor then came back in the match and just before half-time, Cathcart landed two difficult penalties to give Chinnor a half-time lead of 16-8.
Chinnor began the second half without the services of Matthew Goode who had injured his ankle at the end of the first half. Tom Gray came on as replacement.
Six minutes after kick-off, Redingensians attacked and opted to take a scrum 15m out from a penalty offence by Chinnor. No 8 Rob Stapley picked up from the base and brushed off three weak tackles to score near the posts. With Swadling’s conversion, Redingensians were now just one point behind at 15-16. With Redingensians monster pack beginning to gain the upper hand at scrum time, Chinnor replaced Joe Pickett with Tom Whelan in the front row.
On the 53rd minute, another long-range penalty goal was successfully kicked by Cathcart to increase the visitors’ lead to 19-15. A few minutes later tragedy struck for Chinnor when, building pressure in the opposition 22, a pass was intercepted by fly half Shaun Brown who ran the length of the field to score under the posts. Swadling’s conversion now put Redingensians in the lead at 22-19.
On the 63rd minute, Cathcart landed another difficult penalty kick to tie the scores at 22-22. Both sides then tried desperately to win the match with Redingensians putting enormous pressure on the Chinnor scrum. The last 10 minutes saw intense Redingensians pressure but Chinnor's scrambling defence managed to turn ball over at vital times.
At the final whistle, the game was tied at 22 all with the visitors from Thame looking better pleased than their opponents.
This was perhaps Chinnor's most physical encounter of the season so far. Redingensians have perhaps the largest front five of any team at this level in the country. Their physicality knocks holes in the opposition and it is no wonder that their No 8 Rob Stapley leads the try scoring table for this league. They will be disappointed to have outscored Chinnor by three tries to one and not win.
Chinnor at times showed flashes of real skill and brilliance but spent most of the match involved in a war of attrition. They did well to resist the physicality of their opponents and Waddingham, in particular, was outstanding in tackling to ground anyone carrying the ball. This will be Chinnor's highest tackle count of the season. However the trusty boot of James Cathcart was enough to keep Chinnor in the driving seat for the promotion play-off berth. So although not a victory, this was not a defeat and so was a very good result for Chinnor. This outcome will heighten their desire to finish the season in style with the reward of a play-off match, provided all else goes well. And whilst all of this was going on, Chinnor 2s were winning the Oxfordshire Cup Final. Not a bad day for Chinnor
Colver, Seymour, Goode (Gray 40), Stoop , Chase, Cathcart, Jones, Winpenny, Tattersall, Pickett (Whelan 48), Jackman, Smith, Harrison, Waddingham, Gilbert
Replacements: Whelan, Hastings, Gray