Chinnor’s storming start halted by Canterbury

Bertie Hopkin
Bertie Hopkin
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Chinnor’s blistering start to the season was brought to a shuddering halt this week when they succumbed to a surprise 16-12 defeat at Canterbury.

Chinnor had won 10 in a row ahead of the trip to Kent but mid-table Canterbury prevailed thanks to a second-half fightback which inflicted a first defeat of the season on the table-topping Thame side.

Playing down the slope and with the wind in the first-half, Chinnor managed a lead of only five points going into half-time and that ultimately proved insufficient.

The visitors scored two well-worked tries to take a 12-0 advantage as fly-half Bertie Hopkin went over for an unconverted score before Tom Burns followed him across.

Hopkins converted the second, but after surviving a sustained period of Chinnor pressure, Canterbury took their chance to go into the interval trailing by just five as Martyn Beaumont dotted down and Tom Best converted.

The second half was a hard-fought contest with little give or take on both sides. The decisive period came early in the final quarter as pressure built and Tom Burns was yellow carded for a technical offence.

Best kicked the penalty and only a minute later, the fly-half gave Canterbury the lead with a long, low drop goal that just about crept over the crossbar.

Chinnor put in a furious late assault in a desperate attempt to salvage something but it was not to be as Best landed another penalty that secured a famous victory for the home side.

Chinnor, whose lead at the top has been slashed to just two points, host ninth-placed Clifton this weekend.