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Home > News > Witney 30 - Chipping Norton 0
Your News Witney 30 - Chipping Norton 0

Local derbys are always tough no matter where the relative positions of the

sides in the League and this was no different. Witney started as favourites

but knew they would have to play well from the start especially as the

elements were against them in the opening half. The home side were buoyed by

a fair sized crowd and started well dominating the opening 15 minutes and

creating numerous chances. Crucially though they failed to convert any and a

mixture of knock ons, forward passes and committed Chippy defence saw none of

the half chances converted into tries. An Ed Mitchem penalty calmed the

nerves and when Chippy were warned after numerous transgressions, their prop

was the unlucky one who was given a ten minute sabbatical and perhaps now

Witney could make their territorial advantage tell. They did so in great

fashion with the forwards again winning good ball and Henry Lamb and James

Lamb linking to James Monks who timed his intrusion well and sliced through

for a super score under the sticks, Mitchem converting.

The lineouts were going well with Charlie Bennett, Carl Campbell and Jez

Hicks dominating and the scrums were also going Witneys way. The front row of

Jamie Burke, Sam Collins and Alan Richens let the opposition know they were

in a match from the opening set piece and rarely took a backward step all

afternoon. Carl Strutt nearly saw Louie Collins cut through but the pass was

deemed to be forward (it was) and another chance was gone. Chippy defended

well and cleared their lines onlt to see some sublime Witney counter

attacking but again once the home side got into the 22 metre line, they

lacked composure and the killer touch. Another Mitchem penalty followed as

the visitors returned to full numbers and started to string some good play

together. With their number ten calling the shots for them, they started to

build up some better phases and for the first time, Witney had to knuckle

down in defence with Carl Campbell, Tim Muller and skipper James Lamb to the

fore. Louie Collins swept round the back to thwart a dangerous chip over the

top but generally that was about as close as the visitors got. Their late

pressure did bring one successful penalty and right on the brink of halftime,

they were awarded another but surprisingly failed to convert from in front of

the sticks, 30 metres out.

Despite missing that chance to get back in the match Chippys late pressure

had lifted them and so the opening score of the second period was crucial. It

cam from a mistake from the visitors where their full back chose to kick open

when a punt down the near touchline seemed a better option (but its easy from

the sidelines!). Louie Collins ran onto the kick and get inside his opposite

number and round the remaining cover to score a fine opportunist try. Ed

Mitchem converted to make the game almost secure at 20-3.

The rest of the half barely saw the visitors break out of their half but fair

play to them they were totally committed in defence and made Witney work for

every yard. At the heart of Witneys effort was second row Owen Fowler who

calmed things down when they needed calming and provided some great €œgo

forward€ all match. Skipper James Lamb made one quality break and should

probably have backed himself but instead looked for support and Chippy

regrouped well. Gareth Campbell made another searing break and was a handful

all afternoon while his halfback partner Henry Lamb was starting to dictate

play from fly half. Pressure eventually told and it was fitting that it came

from a 5 metre scrum after good work from Gareth Campbell had forced the

situation. The pack drove forward and Jez Hicks finished the move from the

base of the scrum and while he scored the try, all the pack were responsible.

It was the last action for Jamie Burke and Mark Fuller came on as replacement

and was equally effective in the last 20 minutes.

He was soon followed by Will MacBurnie and Aaron Lambourne who came on and

also had effective cameo€™s. The remaining part of the match saw Witney press

and they almost scored a classic as Louie Collins was released after some

great hands but the pass inside was again deemed to be forward (not sure this

time) and the chance was gone. Mitchem missed with a penalty attempt but

Chippy struggled to break out of their half and the pressure looked like it

would have to tell. Aaron Lambourne threatened but was bundled into touch,

Tim Muller made a great break from the base of a scrum but failed to link or

burrow over and the pack drove forward ominously but lost control at the

vital moment. The final score came from Aaron Lambourne who was given a

couple of metres of space and three defenders to work in but his fleet footed

scamper saw him stretch over for a well taken try.

Chippy broke into Witneys half for the last couple of minutes and showed

great spirit without creating any chance late on and the final whistle went

to finish another local derby. Witney can feel content they have another two

points and rarely get anywhere near 30 points against their local rivals

while Chippy showed enough spirit to show they will not go down this season

without one hell of a battle. Next up, its Newbury Stags and Witney will be

unlikely to be allowed to squander so many chances and get away with it in

that match.

1st XV

Mitchem, Collins(L), *Lamb(J), Strutt, Monks, Lamb(H), Campbell(G): Burke,

Collins(S), Richens, Fowler, Bennett(C), Muller, Campbell(C), Hicks(J)

Repl : Fuller(Burke-60), MacBurnie(Bennett-65), Lambourne(Monks-65)


The territorial advantage Witney had really meant that the result was never

in too much doubt but that vital second try was still very much of a relief

for the watching faithful. Some great handling right up until the killing

zone was the highlight with back row trio of Muller, Campbell and Hicks

always in the thick of things and always in support. The forwards provided a

great platform with Owe€™s €œhaving a goodun€ and really leading from the

front. Nice to see a referee who played advantage and both side benefited

from this and it made the match far more of a spectacle than with some

referees who seem to play to the book and enjoy nothing more than the sound

of their own whistle. Well done to the man in the middle and well done to the

Witney squad who put their local rivals to the sword but were made to work

for every yard in doing so. Next week its Stags are always a really difficult

proposition at home and Witney have tasted defeat there all too often in

recent seasons, lets hope they can turn it round and keep up the pressure on

high flying Amersham and Chiltern.

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