Chipstead were beaten 91-5 by the OW's early in the season when Chipstead turned up with only 4 backs in a squad dominated by forwards - fast forward to Saturday and of the 20 players available to the coaching team, of Brian and Chey, there were only 3 recognised backs this time and so early thoughts were of a damage limition exercise !
Whether the, overheard, OW's pre-match discussion of moving the ball and running in easy tries got the team in an over-confident mind-set or the fact that this time Chipstead had worked on a game plan and pleasingly executed it very well the turn around in result was unbelievable.
From the first scrum to the last the power through the Chipstead tight eight meant OW's were only able to play with a quarter of their set piece balls as the rest were delivered to Tony at the back of the Chips scrum as the OW's pack were put to the sword. From the platform of the scrum Tony was able to pick up from the base and use his power, pace (!) and reach to score an early try in the opening minutes.
Fortunately the 3 backs available were positioned at 9, 10 and 12 to give some direction to the forwards that were outside them. Ultimately the two half-backs of Andy and Piers, who were joint MoM's, made the difference. The last other back Bridgey formed a formidable centre partnership with, back-row, Hollidge (one supplying the brain the other the brawn .....!) and the three other flankers of Adam, Fraser and Jamie filling in the other back three positions in a very impressive manor.
It wasn't just in the set piece that the forwards excelled Trigger made a number of impressive tackles in his first game of the season - The older heads of Simmo, Forrest and Coach Brian marshalled the troops and allowed Big Face and Paulie to roam free to create openings. A second try was scored when Big Face smashed his way over.
Half-time: Chipstead 10-0 OWs
The second half was much closer OW's finally looked a threat but were not able to capitalise on a number of good oppurtunities when unforced mistakes just cost them on the final pass much to the frustration of the coaching staff. On one occasion they attempted to move the ball wide a little too quickly Paulie was able to break the line take an impressive intercept and run extremely quickly from his own half into the OW's half (10 yards) and had the presence of mind to loop an excellent pass out to Skipper Jamie, who had struggled to keep up, before he accelerated away to score close enough for Forrest to nudge the conversion.
Eventually OW's were able to exert a continued amount of pressure as the Chipstead pack understandably tired and were able to register a try on the board with a successful conversion. There was enough time on the clock to give OW's encouragment that a win was still on the cards.
Fortunatley Chey was able to go to the bench and Wobble who had turned up to watch (Skiing Monday is an excuse apparently) meant we were up to 4 backs ! The fact his first play in the match was to superman himself into a ruck and luckily avoid a forced return to the sidelines is just his way of introducing himself to new potential friends. APG made a brief appearence just to say he'd been in a side that had beaten his old team before walking off moments later in case he hurt his wrist. Ponytail George came on and lasted as long when he tweaked his hamstring so although not quite the expected impact the desired result was that it had disrupted the game and Chipstead actually finished the stronger and Big Face picked up his brace after another excellent run down the touchline by 'winger' Adam.
A throughly deserved win and actually a very entertaining match to watch - even Greg White had wandered down to watch !
A rest week next Saturday but support for the 1st XV cup game against Ashford is a must....