On Remembrance Sunday our available players made the trip over to Chipping Norton, the squad was made up of 3 players making their club debut (Matt Littlejohn, Ben Kelly, and Leo Jackson) and for Matt, this was his rugby debut, so a special moment for them and after the game they all received a club tie.
The Starting line out was:
1. James Morton
2. Jacob Wheater
3. Scott Perkins
4. Harry Maunder
5. Eddy Sulley
6. Anthony Ellacott
7. Bodhi Smith
8. Oliver Bakewell
9. Theo Jones
10. Harry Beesley
11. Matt Littlejohn
12. Harris Pearce Bates
13. Jake Metcalfe
14. Ben Kelly
15. Leo Jackson
The game kicked off after 2 minutes of silence and straight away Chipping Norton kicked deep into the GAB half and won a penalty, the resulting play saw chippy find an overlap and score in the corner, the conversion wasn’t successful and the scoreboard was 5-0. The game restarted and the ball was kicked for field position the resulting phases saw Chipping Norton chip over the top and this was skilfully collected before being scored under the posts, this time the conversion was successful and the scoreboard moved to 12-0 which after only 5 minutes of game time was not the start we needed. By this point the Chipping Norton players had realised we had some venerability down one wing and in the backfield and therefore they kicked at every opportunity, this exposed GAB again and the score increased to 19-0 with only 15 mins played.
The game seemed to settle and our players grew into the game stringing a few phases together and venturing into the Chipping Norton half, however, a ball spilt in the 22 gave Chipping Norton the platform to score on the outside and increase the scoreboard to 24 – 0. So it was time for a change in the GAB team, Leo came off and Joe Beesley came on, Harry Beesley then dropped to full back, which further stabilised the squad. During the following periods of play, both teams competed well in the midfield for the ball and this saw the GAB Pack win several scrums, which allowed Gosford to put pressure on the chippy line which didn’t result in points despite changing the point of attack. The first half finished 29 – 0 however the performance from the GAB lads deserved points.
Half-time changes saw Harry Maunder replaced by Daniel Hall, Eddy Sulley replaced by Sam Werren, Scott Perkins was replaced by Dylan Hickling, and finally Ollie Bakewell was replaced by Aaron Ruazol.
The second half started with lots of forwards involvement, seeing 6 scrums in the first 10 minutes and 4 lineouts, neither side had the upper hand. During this period we had to bring Matt off due to injury but his debut performance was great. However, after a sustained period of pressure, Chipping Norton managed to find a gap outside and scored again, 34-0. Gosford responded with several entries into the Chipping Norton 22, but due to a solid defensive effort, we didn’t score.
Two final changes for GAB were made seeing Jacob off and Ollie back on & Ben who had a wonderful debut for the club was replaced by Leo, the pressure from GAB continued with the ball staying in the Chipping Norton half until the ball was spilled and resulted in a deep kick from Chipping Norton and some pressure on the GAB try line, this was defended well for several phases, until again Chipping Norton scored, the conversion was missed but the scoreboard moved to 39 – 0.
Despite the scoreline the restart was chased by the GAB lads like it was the start of the game, which resulted in a scrum, and a quick tap penalty was taken, the ball was shifted across the pitch and then following a goal line tackle the ball was turned over, the clearing kick made touch and the final line out of the game was won by Chipping Norton and the final whistle was blown.
The scoreline looks harsh but the lads should be very proud of the performance.