Chinnor surprised themselves with an exciting 36-21 victory over previously undefeated Worthing at the weekend.
Matt Hoyland came in at hooker on his debut and Adam Hastings at blindside flanker. Leo Fielding took the right wing berth.
Chinnor got off to the perfect start when KIba Richards dropped the kick off. Chinnor loose forwards pounced to get the ball to Sam Stoop who danced through three tackles to dot down under the posts with just 18 seconds on the clock. Cathcart’s conversion gave Chinnor a 7-0 lead with just 1 minute gone and they never looked back.
Chinnor continued to play brightly but Worthing were the next to score when a series of pick and drives from a scrum saw No 8 Smith go over for a try on the 25th minute. McLean’s conversion squared the match at 7-7.
Matt Goode’s kick in midfield was charged down and the ball rebounded to full back Henry Colver. He ran hard for the line and slipped a pass to Tommy Gray who cut inside with a delightful sidestep to score under the posts. Cathcart’s conversion put the home side 14-7 ahead. Worthing tried to get back into the game but met powerful resistance, particularly in the centres.
Chinnor turned over ball in midfield and Jones’ perceptive crossfield kick led to a Worthing lineout 10m from their line. Chinnor managed to disrupt their maul and whizzed the ball across the field for Fielding to stroll over for Chinnor’s third try on the 35th minute. Cathcart’s conversion saw Chinnor go in 21-7 at the break.
Worthing came out strongly for the second half and McLean crossed for their second try just 1 minute in. Converting his own score, McLean reduced the deficit to 21-14 still in favour of the Kingsey Road side.
Chinnor continued to strangle Worthing attempts to level with dogged defence from the back row and an impenetrable midfield. Joe Kava prevented a dangerous Worthing move with a timely interception. Pickett took the ball up strongly to allow Matt Goode a canter to the line for Chinnor’s bonus point try in the 47th minute of the match. Cathcart then improved the Chinnor lead to 28-14.
Worthing were not finished and came back with a try from Harry Sloan. McLean’s conversion reduced Chinnor’s lead to 28-19. A forward pass spotted by the referee, Mr Paul Kimber from Hampshire, prevented Worthing scoring a try after a penetrative run from lock Scott Barlow, who had a fine match for the visitors.
The match was sealed by Chinnor in spectacular style. From a series of rucks on the right hand side, an outrageous 30 metre miss pass found lock Tom Mowbray in space. Ignoring the pace men around him, Mowbray pinned his ears back and sprinted a full 40 metres to the line for Chinnor’s fifth try in the 55th minute. Cathcart’s last minute penalty goal saw Chinnor victorious by 36-21.
This was an inspiring and unpredicted victory over an undefeated side by a side who played attractive pressure rugby. Worthing suffered a first minute setback and struggled from then to get into the match. They seemed surprisingly lacklustre at times – perhaps because a lot of their play was strangled by a competitive Chinnor side. Worthing disdained kickable penalties in favour of lineouts from which they rarely profited in trying to overcome stern resistance from the home side.
Chinnor played a sensible game. The back row were more than defensively capable with Hastings’ tackle work rate notable. Stoop and Goode were immovable in midfield and the running of Gray, Colver and Fielding hard and direct.
Stoop’s defence, finely judged kicking and opening score made him man of the match – only just overshadowing Gray’s fine contribution to the match.