U16 Dorset & Wilts Cup Final
Tense encounter draws season to a close
v Chippenham RFC (neutral venue, North Dorset RFC)
30 April 2017
The finale to not only this season but also Youth rugby was played out on a windy day in the north of the county. Cup finals are usually nervy affairs, and this was no different. Immediately Wimborne were deemed in front of the kicker and brought back for an attacking scrum to Chippenham. Their sharp No.8 powered off the base and gained ground, setting up a series of rucks. This platform provided the Chippenham inside-centre to break wide and showing exceptional pace, rounded two defenders to score in the corner. Barely 90 seconds had passed. It wasn't a day for long conversions, and the score stayed at 5-0. Wimborne needed to score next to boost their confidence and for the next 20 minutes controlled the game and kept the ball in the Chippenham half. Cup final nerves got the better of them and twice the last pass went astray in scoring positions. Leo went close and was held up following a quick tap penalty. Closer still, on the half hour mark, Robert was put clear following an excellent break by Ethan and link up play by the backs, only to have the ball knocked out of his hands as he was tackled crossing the try line. Chippenham's defence was proving well organised and seemingly impenetrable.
Wimborne kept up the pressure and just a minute before half time, Ethan powered through the defence from the 10m line to weave his way to cross in the corner. No conversion, so with scores tied at the break, and the boys getting the upper hand, the second half would be played into the strong wind.
Chippenham came out strongly, and retained possession well, and moved the ball wide where possible and cleverly used the wind to gain territory. The strong wind however played havoc with long passes not going to hand, causing knock ons and missed opportunities. Very little time was spent by either team in the opposing 22, both defences were effective, but neither team could add to their score. The Wimborne pack had worked their way towards the Chippenham 22 and were awarded another penalty at the breakdown, pretty much in front of the posts. Jake sent it through and with 15 minutes left on the clock, the boys in black held the narrowest of 3 point leads.
Chippenham now ramped up their exertions and managed to pin down Wimborne into their own half. Occasional respites from relieving kicks were welcome, but Chippenham were controlling possession and desperately trying to find an opening. Normal time had finished, but the referee was playing a penalty advantage for offside when Noah hurt his neck making a last ditch tackle. The ref stopped the play before Chippenham could take it quickly, and there was a short delay whilst the injury was assessed. It turned out to be quite serious and would require an ambulance so the game couldn't be continued in open play. During the hiatus, Chippenham discovered that if there was a draw, having scored the opening points of the match, they would be declared victors. They opted for the kick, and their fly-half calmly slotted the penalty to draw the match. Certainly, it was an uncomfortable outcome to a pulsating match, and in reality a draw was the right result.
The boys have shown themselves to be a formidable group this season, growing in confidence with every game. They now move into senior rugby with colts next season and will look to continue their development.
Final Score 8 - 8
Morgan Goddard, Noah Clark, Lorne Bray, Tom Holden, Wiggy Wilkes, Alex Robinson, Barnaby Booth, Johannes Ludick, Jake Allder, Ben Tinsdale, Jude Blackham-Byrne, Leo Marenghi, Dan Clark, Robert Thorne, Ethan Bell, Declan Miller, Harrison Kendall, Harry Hughes, Arthur Perkins, Connor Sharp, Edward Allam, Tadhg Harries.
Scorers: Try: Ethan Bell
Penalty: Jake Allder