Cundy gets call-up as Chinnor pull off stunning fightback

Dan Cundy. Picture by Peter Matthews
Dan Cundy. Picture by Peter Matthews

Chinnor Rugby Club scrum half Dan Cundy has been called up to represent Malta in a pre-European Nations Cup friendly against Gibraltar which takes place on March 7.

The 19-year-old, who also represents Buckinghamshire U20s, qualifies for Malta as his mother, Amanda, was born in the Military Hospital in the island’s capital, Valetta, when her father was stationed there.

Meanwhile, back at the club, Chinnor’s first team pulled off a sensational fightback at the weekend when they came from 14-0 down and a man down to beat Old Elthamians 26-24 in National League Two South.

The home side made a flying start and with only six minutes on the clock, they took a deserved lead when scrum-half Matt Bressons fed Tom White, who put James Golledge away for the first try.

White added the extras and Elthamians were immediately back on the attack with Kristian Cook’s break finished off by Lee Nelmes, who put the home side into a 14-0 lead inside the opening 10 minutes.

Things then turned from bad to worse for Chinnor when they were reduced to 14 men after hooker Joe Pickett saw red, leaving them with a mountain to climb.

The red card seemed to galvanised the Chinnor pack, however, with powerful number 8 Alfie To’oala causing problems as winger Ashley Smith went close to scoring in a sustained period of pressure, which eventually culminated in a try for Andrew Tibbatts.

Ed Keohane added the extras and with their tails now up, Chinnor’s forwards took control and a rolling maul from the halfway line almost brought another try, but they didn’t have long to wait to bring the scores level with the resulting penalty leading to a scrum, from which the referee awarded a penalty try.

Keohane’s conversion saw Chinnor go into half-time all square at 14-14, but the visitors made a slow start to the second half as White penalty followed by a try from James Golledge put Elthamians back in control, leading 24-14 with less than 10 minutes to play.

Chinnor seemed down and out but they handed themselves a lifeline when, with nine minutes to play, some good mauling saw Jack Hayes scamper over for a third try.

Keohane added the extras to bring the visitors to within three points and with just minutes to go, a mistake from the hosts led to a Chinnor penalty, which was kicked to touch and from the resulting line-out, they pushed the home side back over their own line with replacement Guido Cambareri touching down.

Although Keohane missed the conversion, there was barely any time left and Chinnor saw out the finals few seconds to claim a memorable victory by just two points.

Chinnor lie sixth in the table and are without a match this weekend before returning to action at home to Canterbury on March 7.