Chinnor held off a late Old Elthamians rally to see out a vital 34-31 away victory that keeps them in the mix for promotion in Division Two South.
Chinnor had to sit and watch as title rivals Bishop’s Stortford won their game in hand to go top, however this trip to London presented them with the opportunity to establish themselves in second place.
In an enthralling and compelling affair played in gusting wind, Chinnor made a bright start and were ahead after just five minutes when slick passing along the backs put Henry Lamont over in the corner.
John Bentley’s backed up his subsequent conversion with a penalty but Old E’s gradually got their act together with some penetrating drives, enabling Wilkins to score near the posts with fly-half Robinson adding the conversion.
Bentley and White exchanged penalties before Chinnor used the wind to good effect by pinning Old E’s deep in their own half, resulting in two vital scores in succession.
A quick interchange of passes allowed CJ Osazuwa to crash over, followed by Greg Goodfellow who scored a classic scrum-half try from a five-metre scrum, nipping through and scoring under the posts.
Bentley converted both of those tries and now leading 27-10 with the bonus-point only one try away, Chinnor were sitting pretty at half-time.
Facing the strong wind, the second-half was always going to be a test for Chinnor but after the home side’s Golledge carved through a gap to score their second try, the visitors immediately responded through Ali Bone who broke from the base of the scrum and went over for a debut try.
Bentley’s conversion extended the lead to 34-17 and with only 15 minutes to go, Chinnor looked home and dry.
However, Old E’s running and recycling tactics put them right back in the game with quick hands sending winger Brown over in the corner for a try converted by White, and just five minutes later, Brown was put away for a 35-metre sprint for his second, again converted by White to bring them to within three points.
With 10 minutes to go, Chinnor’s Ali Bone was given a yellow card for a late tackle and Old E’s constantly drove at the Chinnor line but time and time again the visitors’ defence was resolute.
The final whistle came with much relief to Chinnor whose bonus point win keeps them in the promotion race.
They are second, five points behind Stortford, ahead of their clash with Canterbury this weekend.