Tough day at the office!
- Versus Chingford
Tring's first defeat of the season was not a match that they lost; they were beaten on the day by a team who were better in most, if not all, aspects of the game.
After Newton's long range penalty attempt struck the uprights and fell safely the visitors took the lead converting first one and then a second penalty.
Tring will rue a few missed opportunities when the final pass failed to connect cleanly but more often than not it was dogged defence from Chingford which kept Tring out and them in front.
Chingford will surely admit that their first try had an element of luck to it when a pass looped high over it's intended recipient but fell fortunately for their number 8 who made it to the line with a straightforward run in. The try was easily converted to increase the lead to 13 points with 35 minutes played.
Tring tried hard to get back in the game before half time and Chingford's tight head was penalised for going over the top of the ruck once too often and got himself a yellow card for his troubles. Surely taking on 14 men for the opening 10 minutes of the second half would be the break Tring needed.
Starting strongly after the break Tring played well in an attempt exploit the man advantage but they were undone by a sublime bit of play which led to Chingford's second try. If luck played a hand in the first score then the second was all vision and skill. Chingford's centre got the ball 10m inside his own half and threaded a delicate kick through the advancing Tring line for their winger to run onto. With ball in hand the winger drew two defenders before offloading to his supporting runner who beat the covering defender to score. With the conversion added Chingford were cruising at 20-0 and had not suffered for the loss of their forward, winning that 10-minute period 7-nil.
Two further well taken penalties kept the scoreboard ticking over and by the hour mark Tring were 26-0 down, and only clever defending of their own kept them from conceding more tries as Chingford's confidence saw them mounting attack after attack. This team were not going to rest on their laurels and nor were they running out of steam as so many others had done before them.
Tring eventually got the try that they had been threatening and arguably deaerved. As has been the case so often this season Sam Barnes got the ball on the wing, saw a gap barely big enough and availed himself of it, using his speed and strength get over the line. Chennells added the conversion. Yet with little over 10 minutes left only the most optimistic supporters could see Tring getting the 3 converted scores needed for them getting anything from game.
Maybe Tring did have a bit more in the tank as the match entered the final throws but Chingford were still more than capable in defence with their replacement flanker (22) in particular earning plaudits for his relentless harrying work at the breakdown.
All too late Barnes scored his second with a great break through midfield from the 22 yard line and cleverly followed up with a drop-kick conversion to avoid wasting time. But there simply wasn't enough time to mount any more attacks and Chingford saw the game out to inflict that first defeat of the season on the league leaders.
Tring will look at the injuries to Radley in the first half and Newton, in the second, as being factors in the loss but to focus on them and call them game changers would be a huge disservice to Chingford who worked their socks off to earn a deserved win.
Elsewhere Brentwood won away at Sudbury and have closed the gap at the top of the league to 7 points. There are four matches left, Tring next play on 25th March, away to Ruislip, and then welcome Fullerians to Cow Lane (1st April) before travelling to Brentwood on the 8th April in the penultimate fixture of the season; a game which now has more significance after today's results.
There is rugby at Cow Lane next weekend with the 2nd XV taking on Old Albanians 2nds in the semi final of the Herts RFU President's Cup. Kick off is tbc but turn up at 2pm and you certainly won't miss anything. After the match Ireland v England will be shown live in the clubhouse.