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EAGLES LOSE THEIR CHIPS IN ATTACKING GAMBLE
Chipstead 26 – 22 Eagles
Juniors U15 • League • Sun 22nd Apr 12, 12:00PM
As predicted, and following the evenly matched encounter in pre-season, this fixture was always going to be enthralling, tight and competitive. We weren't let down, and with both sides clear of any relegation fears, it was attack all the way.
A bright start from Chipstead, who utilised the breeze with some penetrative kicking, found Effingham defending in their own half for the majority of the opening exchanges. Wright in particular excelling in catching plenty of high ball. Having withstood this early challenge, Effingham re-grouped and started to control the scrums as is so often their penchant. The ever reliable front five of Gibbons, Bate, Sharpe, Carter and skipper Warr soon asserted their authority and gradually Effingham started to probe for the breakthrough. Success came when after winning a line out mid-way in the Chipstead half the ever alert Godwin found the gap to make considerable ground before releasing Bone on the left. Well supported on the shoulder by Meek and Daly, it was Meek who made the final drive for the line to acquire the first points of the morning (0 - 5).
Clearly stung Chipstead upped their physicality, but Effingham matched them pound for pound and were soon re-establishing their presence in the Chipstead half. Unfortunately disaster struck when in attacking mode, an Effingham kick was intercepted by their rather rapid winger who raced for the line unchallenged into the right corner to equalise (5 - 5).
Whilst disappointed to concede, Effingham's instincts were to attack, and another foray down the left found Bone and Meek deep in Chipstead territory, albeit without support. Again rather unfortunately resolute defending from Chipstead, and pressure from sheer numbers in defence secured the ball, allowing Chipstead to counter attack through their even quicker winger, who relished the chance to run from his own '22' to score under the posts; which also created the chance for an easy conversion (12 - 5).
Effingham didn't really deserve to be down in terms of possession, however at this level if minor errors are made, and tackling goes awol, then you will get punished. Notwithstanding these set-backs, Effingham showed superb character and countered with excellent verve as Mead initiated a swift attack, moving the ball swiftly from left to right allowing Bone to squeeze over in the corner to score in the last play of a pulsating half (12 - 10).
With the breeze behind them and with Parsons, Hammerson and Smitheman introduced for the second half, Effingham forced their way back up the pitch as the game became increasingly 'competitive'. Crowhurst, the bloodied Woodhouse, and the free running Bliss were always in the thick of the action and were instrumental in driving Effingham into the danger zone. Camped deep in Chipstead territory Effingham were held up on one occasion, but Mead calmly switched play out left for renewed attempts to breach the Chipstead defence. Finally with one great surge Buisson forced himself over in the left corner leaving himself a very difficult conversion attempt. Striking the ball beautifully it soared between the posts to improve his stats! (12 - 17).
Effingham needed to consolidate their lead, however they soon found themselves under pressure as a serious injury to Murray forced him to retire, and a rapid reorganisation of resources was required. Sensing their opportunity to get straight back into the game, Chipstead won a line out on the right and worked the ball back inside where their Centre surged for the line close to the uprights. With the conversion successfully executed, Chipstead restored their lead (19 - 17).
Back came Effingham, always looking to play attacking rugby, but at times perhaps just lacking that little bit of composure and thought. No one's fault just a collective learning point for next season, to prevent any cruel and undeserved retribution. This time however, retribution was instant, as Chipstead capitalised on an error in midfield and a free run from halfway increased their lead under the posts (26 -17).
Admirably Effingham didn't allow this disappointment to affect them and, aided by the fresh legs of Lonsdale and Jones, responded immediately. The intensity was immense and further charges up field towards the Chipstead '5' metre line increased. Re-grouping and after being held up on two occasions, Gibbons scooped up the loose ball and dived high over the line to score. Buisson unluckily hit the post with a tricky conversion attempt and Effingham had just four minutes to try and get the winning score (26 - 22).
Cue further intensity as Effingham fought in vain to get back on level terms. It was a heroic effort, but in the end a valiant final drive into the Chipstead '22' came to no avail as the ball went into touch, forcing the excellent referee to bring proceedings to a close securing a narrow victory for Chipstead (26 - 22).
Not for the first time this season we had all witnessed a hugely entertaining and attack minded game; and although there was plenty of disappointment in and around the changing room, the lads should be proud of their efforts, not only in today's game, but also in the way they have stuck together all season.
No doubt there is plenty to work on, but there is most certainly plenty of talent to work with, as we reflect on a transitional season and a League Position of 5th in a particularly competitive 2nd Division. With one or two breaks going in our favour, who knows how this position might have been improved upon.............
Nonetheless, everyone deserves a well earned break before we can all start looking forward to next season. Have a great summer.
Man of the Match
Stevie Warr - Kept a cool head in the high intensity challenges and led superbly by example when changes to the team were forced upon him; Stevie showed impressive maturity in all aspects of his game.
First half: 0-5 Meek try; 5-5 Chipstead try; 10-5 Chipstead try; 12-5 Chipstead conv; 12-10 Bone try;
Second half: 12-15 Buisson try; 12-17 Buisson conv; 17-17 Chipstead try; 19-17 Chipstead conv; 24-17 Chipstead try; 26-17 Chipstead conv; 26-22 Gibbons try;
Gibbons; Bate; Sharpe; Warr(c), Carter, Godwin; Crowhurst; Woodhouse; Mead; Murray; Meek; Bone; Wright; Daly; Buisson; Bliss; Smitheman, Lonsdale; Hammerson; Parsons; Jones;
22nd April 2012