Chinnor 29pts Henley Hawks 29 pts
Asreferee Collins was preparing to blow the final whistle of this highly competitive local derby game three results were possible. With the Hawks leading 29-24 they were on the verge of defeating the league leaders . If Chinnor scoreda converted try as they closed in on the Hawks line they would win. If however a try was scored but not converted the result would be a draw. This then turned out to be the result as Chinnor fly-half, Sam Angell who had already kicked three conversions, as well as touching down the final last minute try, scuffed his conversion attempt wide.
This was a dramatic conclusion to a game that reached the heights in terms of drama and excitement but not skills because of the difficultplaying conditions dictated by a murky misty mid winter afternoon with fog some times threatening to close in on players who were frequently having to gouge mudout of impacted soles of their boots
Chinnor had the better of the early exchanges after an opening foray by the Hawks and after just nine minutes full back Kiernan Gosssqueezed over for a try which was converted by Angell who after 17 minutes put the home side 10-0 in the lead with a penalty from near to the posts.
However the Hawks were showing some ability to drive Chinnor back with driving well supported mauls which included assistance frmo their lively backs. They turned this ploy into points when wing Simon Perry forced his way through to touch down. They were not to able to convert this effort so were five points in arrears
They had further reward from the efforts of their forwards with hooker Tom Emery using his skills in burrowing through the Chinnor pack to score the first of s brace of tries. after 27minutes Emery has been in the doldrums in recent games but his return to form was also marked by the accuracy of finding his jumpers in the line outs and the Hawks eight to maintain a good supply of the ball from attacking line outs and preventing Chinnor from relieving pressure when hard pressed near their own line. However the tendency of the Hawks to relax after scoring was again evident when they did not compete for a restart kick and within two minutes Alex Bradley was able to score which with Angell’s conversion put Chinnor ahead 17-10 at the break
The Hawks had a lively start to the second half in contrast to the lethargic attempt to clear restart kicks in the first. Breaking down the left wingPerry hacked on effectively and thus created a dangerous loose ball situation over the hometry line which was pursued with interest by the marauding Hawks centre Liam O’Neill who touched down for George Jackson, who had joined the fray in placeof Jimmy Stevenson-Wright, to convert, equalising the score at 17-17,
The ding dong nature of the game continued for again the Hawks relaxed at the restart and Chinnorlock Nathan Hannay was able to drive over to make the score 24-17. However Emery was again able to find room to score his second try making the score 22-24. The home side’ ill -discipline now began to take it’s toll for after getting back to full strength on the return ofRossParkinsafter being off for ten minutes from 49 minutes they then lost prop Koree Britton after 68 minutes. His absence was critical as the Hawks had a driving maul in full crywhich was stopped illegally and resulted in referee Daniel Collins awarding a penalty try which with the conversion gave the Hawks a 29-24 lead,
Chinnor rallied and then took play to the Hawks line where Angell bustled over the line leading to the final score of 29-29.The Hawks however had satisfaction fromonce again preventing Chinnor doing the double over them and scoring five tries to four.
Match photos courtesy of Steve Karpa:
15. Alan Awcock ( James Comben),14. XavierAndre, 13. Connor Hayhow), 12. Liam O’Neill( Tom Gardner 72), 11.( Simon Perry), 10. Joe Butler, 9. James Stevenson-Wright. 1. James Hadfield, 2. Tom Emery, 3. Zaki Chamnaoui ( Sam Beckett 53), 4. Dave Clements (capt.), 5. Jake Albon, 6.Tom Hall,7. Connor Morrison ( Scott White 53), 8. Marcus Lowe.