Che­sham teens vic­to­ri­ous de­spite last minute pull-outs

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

ONLY hav­ing 14 play­ers due to last minute sick­ness pull-outs did not stop Che­sham RFC U16s reach­ing the Bucks Plate fi­nal on Sun­day.

De­spite their nu­mer­i­cal dis­ad­van­tage, the Stags pro­duced a re­mark­able dis­play to beat Mil­ton Keynes 21-5 and set up a fi­nal against Bletch­ley on April 17.

Che­sham started strongly but could not con­vert their pos­ses­sion into points, and when MK came back strongly, stout de­fence from Jarred Searle and Will Scott kept them at bay.

Some as­tute tac­ti­cal kick­ing from the base of the scrum by fly-half Luke Bouch­ier put Che­sham back on the front foot, and they fi­nally broke the dead­lock when Ben Popely broke off a pow­er­ful maul to score at the base of the post, and Bouch­ier con­verted.

From the restart, cen­tre Luke Daw­son showed his skills by gath­er­ing the ball from a chip ahead, beat­ing two de­fend­ers then sprint­ing 30 me­tres to score un­der the posts, but MK pulled one back in the last play be­fore half time, de­spite a brave ef­fort from Max McLough­lin to pre­vent it.

Che­sham had the half-time lead, but now faced a heav­ier pack, play­ing up the slope and still with a player less – and MK started the se­cond half pound­ing away with their heavy­weight pack.

But the Stags showed their met­tle with some ag­gres­sive tack­ling, no­tably from Po­p­ley and Archie Bail­lie, and their front row started to dom­i­nate, with ex­cel­lent work from props Harry Pawlak and Matt Chapman.

Pow­er­ful run­ning from Tom Collins, James Hogg and Ed Lunt saw Che­sham weather the storm, and they nearly scored again as Mark New­some clev­erly chipped through, only to be de­nied by the bounce of the ball.

With 10 min­utes to go, they did score the fi­nal try as a turn over in the middle of the field saw the ball quickly spun out wide for McLaugh­lin to score in the cor­ner, and Bouch­ier con­verted once more.

“I’m very proud of the lads,” said U16 head coach, Michael Bouch­ier.

“While I was dis­ap­pointed we could only field 14 play­ers. Those who turned up per­formed mag­nif­i­cently and showed true Che­sham spirit.”

Ac­tion from Che­sham U16s v MK U16s in the semi

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