Cracks in A&C pack a cru­cial fac­tor in de­feat

In­ex­pe­ri­ence up front caused by in­juries and ab­sences

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Andy Gil­lan­ders tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­

NA­TIONAL THREE LONDON & SOUTH EAST Amer­sham & Chiltern 13 London Ir­ish Wild Geese 28 IN­JURIES and other ab­sences from the pack proved cru­cial as Amer­sham & Chiltern lost at home for the first time this sea­son on Satur­day.

Coach Richie Wil­liams had billed the clash with London Ir­ish Wild Geese as the test of the sea­son so far, but was forced to com­mence bat­tle with­out three spe­cial­ist tight-head props, who are cur­rently in­jured, and his pow­er­house of re­cent weeks, Stu­art Day, who was un­avail­able.

Sec­ond row Dean McLen­nan stepped for­ward to fill the piv­otal role, but his lack of ex­pe­ri­ence told in the end as the home scrum con­ceded a penalty try and two penal­ties – almost the en­tire mar­gin be­tween the sides at the end – as it creaked un­der the pres­sure.

The hosts be­gan well enough, hit­ting back after con­ced­ing an early penalty to score with the best move of the match.

A se­ries of phases took them to the five-me­tre line and from the re­sult­ing ruck scrum-half Rhys Keith dived over a pile of bod­ies to score a try, con­verted for a 7-3 lead. Another penalty fol­lowed, but the prob­lems up front then be­gan to sur­face.

Wil­liams’ men col­lapsed a scrum near their own line to con­cede a penalty try, which lev­elled the scores.

The vis­i­tors were now in full flight and another try from a fine break and a penalty meant the hosts trailed 18-10 at the break.

An ex­change of penal­ties soon after the restart, one of which by the vis­i­tors was missed, but was as­ton­ish­ingly awarded moved the score onto 21–13.

The home side hung on for the rest of the half with some brave tack­ling that pre­vented any fur­ther score in the reg­u­la­tion 80 min­utes, but in in­jury time the vis­i­tors forced a line-out on the home side’s10-me­tre line on the left.

A catch-and-drive for the line was held up, but when the ball was re­leased the classy vis­i­tor’s fly-half pro­duced a beau­ti­fully weighted chip for his cen­tre to run on to and to score near the posts.

Wil­liams will hope one or two of his in­jured props will be fit for Satur­day’s trip to CS Rugby 1863.

Else­where, Bea­cons­field and Drifters re­turn to South­ern Coun­ties North ac­tion on Satur­day when they host Ayles­bury and Walling­ford re­spec­tively.

Che­sham were beaten 31-3 in the Bucks Se­nior Plate semi-fi­nal and are at home to Chip­ping Nor­ton in the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier this week­end.

Photo by Ross Thom­son

DIV­ING IN: Amer­sham & Chiltern’s Rhys Keith goes over for a try against London Ir­ish Wild Geese

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