Promotion agonisingly eludes Chinnor despite final day victory

Chinnor director of rugby Matt Williams
Chinnor director of rugby Matt Williams

Chinnor will have to wait another season to gain promotion out of National League Division Two South after agonisingly losing out to Old Elthamians by virtue of games won this season.

Chinnor have scored more points than any other team this season, racking up a mighty 1,110 in total, but despite boasting a superior points difference than Old Elthamians, the fact they won a game less means it is the London side who go into the promotion play-off game after both teams finished level on points in second place behind champions Bishop’s Stortford.

Going into their final game of the season at London Irish Wild Geese, Chinnor knew they required a bonus-point victory to have any chance of finishing outright second and they made the ideal start when Ali Bone broke through and teed up Alex Bradley to dot down.

Basil Strang converted and Chinnor maintained the early pressure and took possession from a five-metre line-out. A quick pass to Bevon Armitage had him held up on the line but with Ben Manning adding weight to the cause, they both went over the try line with Armitage claiming the score.

London Irish gradually clawed their way back into the game and a rolling maul put Karl Gibson over for an unconverted try.

This boosted their confidence and they began to play a much more expansive game which took them deep into Chinnor’s territory. Fluent handling along their backs gave wing Matt Killeen the room to round the visiting defence and score with Kitching converting and levelling the scores at 12-12.

Just before half time, Chinnor’s full-back Goss’s attack broke the Irish defence and the supporting CJ Osazuwa took play near to the try line. From the resulting scrum, Ali Bone broke blind to score out wide. Strang converted for a 19-12 lead to Chinnor.

Five minutes into the second-half, forward dominance put Manning over for a bonus-point try converted by Strang.

Manning began to assert his authority with more penetrating runs into the Irish 22metre area where a driving maul put Lamont over for Chinnor’s fifth try, converted by Strang.

London Irish continued fighting back and illegal defensive work by Tom Burns earned him a yellow card, allowing the home side pack to bulldoze their way over the Chinnor line for Gibson to score their third try which was unconverted.

This raised their game even more and their attacking play was stopped by flanker Pienaar whose tactics were deemed inappropriate and he too had a yellow card.

With Chinnor now down to 13 players, the Irish pushed the Chinnor defence back until they were able force their way over the line for Moore to score the final points of the game.

With second place Old Elthamians also winning their game with a bonus-point, Chinnor are left to wait until next season to achieve their aim of promotion.