Chinnor took a long while to get into this match in the Forest of Dean but eventually triumphed 23-22 over Lydney.
Lydney opened the scoring on the third minute when, following a chip over the Chinnor defence, full back Colver was tackled into touch. From the resultant line out, a catch and drive saw prop Dan Allison go over for Lydney. Chinnor struggled to get hold of the ball and struggled with knock ons and imprecise handling on the few occasions they secured possession.
On the 11th minute, Lydney increased their lead to 8-0 from a penalty goal from Lydney’s fly half Wicks, after Chinnor went offside at a ruck. Five minutes later, a Lydney scrum moved the ball quickly to the wing and two rucks later, Lydney lock Charles Daniell sauntered through a hole in the Chinnor defence for Lydney’s second try. Wicks’ conversion saw the home ahead 13-0.
Chinnor finally got on the score sheet in the 21st minute when Stoop took the ball up in midfield and managed to slip the ball at the tackle to Gray whose diagonal line took him to the posts for 13-5.
From a midfield penalty, Lydney took a quick tap and then booted the ball downfield. Chinnor collected the kick but were penalised for holding on. Lydney elected for a lineout from which Chinnor stole the ball to deny the home side a score.
Chinnor again withstood Lydney pressure but this time to their advantage. Lydney, 10 metres from the Chinnor line, tried repeatedly to breech the visitors defence. With Joe Kava at the centre of the defensive effort, Chinnor’s rush defence forced a Lydney handling error. Goode fly hacked the loose ball downfield. Gray hacked again and, in a footrace with his opposite number, was first to ground the ball behind the try line to bring Chinnor back to 15-10 on the 32nd minute.
Five minutes into the second half, Chinnor reduced the deficit to 15-13 with a penalty goal from James Cathcart. From a penalty against Chinnor, Lydney went for a lineout and a powerful rolling maul saw player-coach Duncan Bell score Lydney’s third try. Wicks’ conversion stretched the home side’s lead to 22-13 with 52 minutes played.
Three minutes later Chinnor reduced the gap to 22-18 with a try from Fielding. From line out ball, Goode ran back against play. From his pass, Stoop slid a precise grubber to the corner flag. The foot race between one Chinnor and two Lydney players went to Chinnor when Fielding was adjudged by the touch judge to have been first to ground the ball. Cathcart’s conversion brought the score to 22-20 in favour of Lydney.
In the 70th minute, Lydney ran a garryowen back from a mark but were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown. Cathcart stepped forward to slot the penalty goal which proved to be the last score of the match to win it for Chinnor 23-22. The last 10 minutes were nervy for both teams but a penalty for tackling a player in the air allowed Cathcart to boot the ball off the park for a hard earned victory for the visitors.
Lydney got off to a flying start in the first half but met stiffer opponents in the second half. They will rue, however, passing up several scoring opportunities by poor ball handling.
Chinnor looked a pale imitation of the organised and skilful team of the previous week and hardly saw the ball for most of the first half. Things settled down enough in the second half to shore things up and steal the match by one point. The coaching staff will be looking to instil some consistency into team performance over the next few weeks with a run of matches against high achieving opponents looming.