Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Rams lose out in 13-try thriller

RAMS director of rugby Seb Reynolds admitted Chinnor deserved their dramatic 43-40 National Division 1 home win in what he admitted was an ‘odd game’, writes Richard Ashton.

The end-to-end nature of the Friday night lights clash at Kingsey Road ended with the lead changing hands eight times, 13 tries being scored and the hosts having their own fairy-tale ending as hooker Mark Darlington — who returned to the club in the new year expecting to play in their vets and Falcons teams — went over with the decisive score on his 50th first-team appearance.

In the midst of the chaos, Henry Bird also grabbed his first Rams’ hat-trick in the space of less than 15 minutes, yet still ended up on the losing side.

An early Jason Worrall try put Chinnor in front only for visiting skipper Robbie Stapley to make it four in two games against his opponents this season, ex-Chinnor Colt Sam Nicholls converting for 7-5.

The sides shared seven-pointers as home captain Ben Manning touched down before Bird scooped up a loose ball in midfield, only for Chinnor to go into the break 19-14 up when Nick Smith added the extras to a Willie Ryan effort.

The second half started in fast forward as Bird doubled his tally with a sensational solo effort down the left, just touching down his grubber kick, Chinnor hitting back with a brilliant score of their own from Josh Hodson and Bird then catching the restart to run in for his hat-trick.

With all those also converted, Rams were 28-26 up, and they pulled the furthest either side had been in front when Stevie Bryant crossed for Nicholls to add the kick.

However, Chinnor continued to battle and Fred Tuilagi went over at the back of a maul, only for Connor Hayhow to intercept a pass in his own 22 before going almost the length of the pitch for Rams.

He was brilliantly tackled by Hodson, but the ball went right to Drew Humberstone to cross, Nicholls’ effort striking the post.

And it was Chinnor who would have the final word, Luke Carter sniping over for Smith to cut the gap to two, before Darlington landed the decisive blow from close range with the penultimate play.

Reflecting on the match Reynolds said: “It was an odd game and was probably a product of both sides being in a similar position at the end of the season — it wasn’t one for the defence coaches.

“You’ve got to credit Chinnor, I thought they had the edge in attack — they looked dangerous moving the ball to the width — and they deserved the win in the end.

“They made a couple of errors which gave us tries, so perhaps the score-line could have been a little more in their favour.

“We weren’t quite at the races and that happens after a long season. There were elements we were hoping to see in action which we didn’t really, but we’ve got to keep pushing and hopefully put that right next week.”

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