|Chinnor 10 - 13 Maidenhead|
A try from captain Peter Hickey proved decisive as Maids continued their winning run with a slender 13-10 victory at Chinnor.
Despite playing the first period with a strong wind at their backs, Maids struggled to gain any territorial advantage and spent much of the first quarter camped in their own half. Only strong tackling kept the visitors in the game, until a rare foray into Chinnor territory produced a kickable penalty, which winger Tom Day converted confidently.
The lead galvanised Maids into action and Hickey tipped the tie in favour of Maids when he side-stepped through the Chinnor defence before powering over the line to score, with Day adding the conversion.
The wind had dropped by half time, allowing the visitors to dominate possession in the second half. Some unfortunate knock-ons prevented certain tries for Maids, but a penalty from centre Rick Thorley put some distance between the teams with 20 minutes to go.
Chinnor refused to give in and a break into Maids half was rewarded with a penalty in front of the posts. Maids forwards immediately resumed their dominance but despite sustained pressure, were unable to cross the line. A rare lapse in concentration gifted Chinnor a converted try in the final seconds which flattered the home side, making the winning margin only 3 points at the final whistle.
Maids hope to continue their unbeaten start to 2011 away to Bicester 3rds on Saturday.
Maidenhead 4th XV made it 3 wins from 3 in 2011 with a close fought 13-10 victory over Chinnor 4ths on Saturday. The performance, however, was not a pretty one, with events on field more akin to those which you would find at the local supermarket meat counter, as chance after chance was butchered throughout the game.
Maids started fairly subdued, giving away a number of penalties and making some minor errors around the park. After 15 minutes, a nasty leg injury to one of Chinnorís brighter players led to a change of pitch and suddenly Maids became more prevalent. On the new pitch, Maids were able to exert more pressure on the clearly shell shocked Chinnor team and gain some deserved territory. Following an offence at the breakdown by Chinnor, Tom Day took the teams first opportunity for points, kicking a smart conversion to make it 3-0.
Maids then got some rhythm into their play as they started to control more possession. A smart break, which drove Maids into the opposition 22, led to Captain Peter Hickey scoring Maids only try of the match, using one of his mesmeric side steps to leave the Chinnor full back floundering. The conversion was calmly slotted over by Tom Day to make it 10-0, and the score remained the same until half time.
Following the break, Maids failed to capitalise on more opportunities as chance after chance was missed through knock ons and forward passes. Maids were becoming their own worst enemy, giving away possession through mistakes and careless penalties at the break down. One such penalty was given 30 yards out, in front of the posts, and Chinnor duly registered their first points of the game, taking the score to 10-3 with 20 minutes remaining.
Maids then set up their most promising period of the game. With the backs having failed to profit from their possession throughout the game, the last 15 minutes saw Maids forwards take the initiative and go for glory themselves. However, this also did not work, with some awful white line fever ruining huge overlaps which Maids had created. However, one such drive did lead to a penalty just outside the Chinnor 22, which Rick Thorley kicked. 13-3 to Maids.
With time ticking down, Chinnor made one last throw of the dice, making some clean breaks through the now tiring defence, and pushing Maids back into their own half. Chinnorís procession was only halted by some stern tackling by all 15 players, but most notably Andy Wells who had a fantastic game. Chinnor eventually got the chance to go over under the posts, when Maidsí tired defence ended up out of position. However it was too late as this was the last play of the game. The successful conversion, followed by the refereeís final whistle, ended the game 13-10.
A strong defensive performance but weak attacking display made the win fairly unsatisfactory, with the Maidenhead team knowing they could have done so much more. Striving for better performance is a good sign however, and Maidenhead will head to Bicester this weekend keen to rack up the points, with the home side 2nd from bottom in the league.