Chinnor Snatch Late Win
By Tom Bulmer
Mowden fall to consecutive home defeats from final plays of the game
Well – Where to start!!
Usually everything starts at the beginning.
However, it is perhaps pertinent to initially begin with a flavour of what was to come at the end before anything else.
The game was won and lost on the last play of the game, which seemed to go on for hours, but probably only lasted about ten minutes.
During that period, onlookers from both sides witnessed from ‘the bizarre to the ridiculous’, ‘the stuff of nonsense’, more than a ‘touch of theatre’ and ‘hint of the circus’.
But, unfortunately, more of that later.................!?!?
So, to the game which took place on a bitterly cold day, when the North East woke to a morning flurry of snow, which thankfully disappeared in the principality of Darlington no sooner than it arrived.
Both teams in this contest were in need of a win and on paper were evenly matched.
Chinnor RFC, after a tremendous start to their first National League One campaign, had found leaner times in their last three outings, with two losses and a draw.
DMPRFC, with a win and two losses, were feeling the strain after some unfortunate injuries had left the squad decimated.
So all to play for in the first ever outing between the clubs, watched by plenty of the ‘MowdenFamily’ faithful and a decent travelling contingent for visitors ChinnorRFC.
For the first thirty minutes of this inaugural encounter, honours were pretty even, with both fly halves – Warren Seals for DMPRFC and Caolan RYAN for Chinnor RFC, showing their kicking prowess, with a penalty apiece in the first 9 minutes (3 – 3).
SEALS went one better with a further penalty (6 – 3), until the hosts conjured up a ‘double salvo’ of tries, sparking the game into life as a contest.
Home winger Callum Mackenzie, on only his third game since returning to the fold after a serious leg injury, scored the first try (11 – 3) in the 31st minute of play, converted by SEALS (13 – 3).
No sooner than Chinnor RFC had re-started the game, DMPRFC were over the try-line again, as veteran lock Talite Vaioleti crashed over, after some determined progress from wing Shaun McCartney, who deftly provided the scoring pass (18 – 3), SEALS putting the conversion just wide of the upright.
Just before the break for oranges, RYAN kicked a penalty. (18 – 6)
It was important for DMPRFC to sustain the pressure on the visitors with the first score after the break, but the first event of the second half was the sin-binning of home flanker Joe Duffy, who was sent to the cooler on 47 minutes for pulling down a maul.
A long midfield pass was ‘hoyed’ out by RYAN to his grateful full back and ‘Player of the Match’ for Chinnor RFC, whose progressive run seemed to be covered, until he switched on the ‘after burners’, skilfully eluding the efforts of flailing defenders for the score. (18 – 11), converted by RYAN. (18 – 13)
Although more than a hint of a forward pass, what followed was worth the entrance fee alone, as GOSS’s pace was electrifying.
RYAN added his third penalty at this stage (18 – 16), which was matched by SEALS (21 – 16), as the game entered the final ten minutes.
It is fair to say that Chinnor RFC were pushing hard to overhaul the DMPRFC lead, but the home defence held firm, until the last play.
Chinnor RFC were deservedly awarded a set scrum just outside the home 5-metre line, in what would be the last play.
What followed was cringing to watch from both sides perspectives, which caused uproar in the terraces, initial from the Chinnor faithful, then their DMPRFC counterparts, as the game descended into farce.
Scrums, more scrums. collapsed scrums, uncontested scrums, penalties, free-kicks, knock-ons at the base of the scrums and a yellow card for DMPRFC followed in what was the last play.
In the best traditions of the game, to explain the machinations of those ten minutes of stop/start play would be seen as ‘sour grapes’ by some, detrimental to the author and the club by others and what really happened on the day by others, suffice to say that DMPRFC experienced heartache and lost by two points, whilst Chinnor RFC scored the equalling points with a try near to the posts from lock Jack RAMSHAW (21 – 21), giving RYAN the simple conversion for the win (21 – 23).
And the missed conversion – don’t even go there!!