Chesham teens victorious despite last minute pull-outs
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