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1st Team - Match centre

Chipping Norton
Grove
Sat 5 Dec 14:15 - South West Division - Southern Counties North Full time

Saturday 5th December – Chipping Norton 8 Grove 10

Grove still in the race for league title after a close encounter with Chippy

Grove kept up their title challenge on Saturday but only just, when they beat Chipping Norton
by 10 points to 8 at Chippy. Chippy started strongly, attacking Grove from the outset and
gained a kickable penalty inside a minute. The kick from Adam Smith went wide of the posts
but Chippy came back strongly from the restart and kept possession away from Grove for the next
ten minutes. Grove's defence was good however and despite one or two missed tackles Chippy were
unable to break through for a try. Prop Richard Keen was outstanding as he often single-handedly
drove the Chippy forwards back in contact. Finally after 15 minutes of play and pressure Grove
did concede a penalty in front of the posts and Chippy took a deserved lead of 3 points. This
time the restart worked much better for Grove with Ben Nicholl taking a clean catch from fly half
Roger Sevier's kick. Then, burrowing deep into Chippy territory he passed to Hayes who moved the
ball to centre Ben Law. The big centre took the ball forward and after a chip through from scrum
half Hayes, Chippy cleared their lines. With Flanker Guy Nicholl stealing ball from the Chippy
line out and the scrum dominant, Grove continued the pressure. Chippy gamely ran the ball back
at Grove whenever they could but several huge hits on both forwards and backs by Keen stopped
them in their tracks. Late in the half, flanker Guy Nicholl, anticipating a pass that never came,
took out the dummy runner which led to a harsh yellow card. The resultant penalty took Chippy
right to the Grove try line and they had the platform for a try which came in the corner when
Chris Dixon broke Nick Sevier's despairing tackle. With no conversion made, Chippy now had an
8 : 0 lead. The restart from Grove was poor but Chippy kicked long to Nick Sevier who ran the
ball back strongly before being caught. Although Grove looked dangerous in attack, they kept
turning the ball back over to Chippy with basic mistakes just when space was starting to open
up which gave Chippy the chance to counter attack. In particular flanker Dawson was beginning
to look dangerous with ball in hand but great tackling from Keen and Roger Sevier in particular
held them at bay. With Grove still under pressure Chippy attempted a drop goal which was missed.
Grove got back into the Chippy half and with a penalty award Roger Sevier brought Grove back
into the game with a good 3 point kick. With half time looming and with Chippy having had
virtually all of the possession and pressure an amazing turnaround happened when, from his own
22 metre line, Roger Sevier, seeing the Chippy centres were too far forward, threw out a huge
long pass over their heads to brother Nick who collected and sprinted up the field, beating
three men with superb side steps before passing to the supporting Burns who then scampered his
way to the Chippy line and although tackled near the line, was able to touch down one handed for
a terrific try. Roger Sevier's conversion giving Grove a somewhat unexpected half time 10 : 8 lead.Grove started the second half still making mistakes with the Chippy handling by and large very
efficient but Grove made up for it with superb defence and some colossal clearance kicks by Roger
Sevier. Yet again Richard Keen was everywhere, tackling like a demon. When Grove's backs did cut
loose however, they looked by far the more dangerous outfit. Centre Ben Law, using his undoubted
strength, tried time and time again to crash through the Chippy back line but eventually should
have passed to his supporting players. Eventually Law was replaced by Dave Maryon, who made a
strong impact in both defence and attack. The Grove forwards continued the good approach work
and pressed right to the Chippy line and lock Lee Wright in particular was unlucky not to crash
over. Grove's pack, ably led by skipper Steve Maryon, did manage to drive their counterparts over
the try line but the referee brought them back for a 5 metre scrum. Despite continued pressure
Grove eventually were turned over and with a couple of quick penalties and a number of missed
Grove tackles Chippy were once again back in the Grove half. This time the Chippy pressure was
relentless and immense and for fully ten minutes Chippy were camped on the Grove try line. Grove's
defence was tremendous and equal to the pressure however, as the pressure from the Chippy forwards
was relentless. Following one 5 metre scrum Fredericks was superb in single-handedly driving the
Chippy attackers back from what looked like being a certain try. Eventually Chippy must count
themselves unlucky when what looked like a definite try, was refused by the unsighted referee.
Despite this setback Chippy again attacked ferociously this time through their backs but again
some terrific tackling held them at bay. Finally Grove's Ben Nicholl fought for and won the ball
and passed back to Roger Sevier who launched an absolute monster of a kick to take Grove deep into
the Chippy half. After this it was Grove's turn to attack and again it was the ubiquitous Keen who
emerged with ball in hand, tearing up the park smashing opponents out of the way as he went.
Grove's reward was a difficult penalty attempt from which Roger Sevier was unsuccessful. With time
running out Chippy threw everything at Grove but again Grove's defence was superb and finally
this exiting game came to a close with no scoring in the second half but with Grove just doing
enough to get the result to maintain their promotion challenge.Man of the match Richard KeenGrove team:G Eltham, J North, R Keen, S Maryon, L Wright, J Fredericks, G Nicholl, B Nicholl,
Hayes, R Sevier, Peel, B Law (D Maryon), J Burns, B Lane, N SevierReps, T Eltham, N Brooks, D MaryonScorers: Grove, Try - Burns, Conversion - R Sevier, Penalty - R Sevier.Chipping Norton: Try - Dawson, Penalty - Smith.

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

League round up

Other Southern Counties North results

Aylesbury
18
10
Amersham & Chiltern
34
13
Swindon
Slough
11
6
Beaconsfield
23
13
Witney
9
11
Windsor

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
1. Witney 22 42
2. Amersham & Chiltern 22 38
3. Grove 22 27
4. Swindon 22 24
5. Milton Keynes 21 23
6. Windsor 22 23
7. Beaconsfield 22 18

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