Chingford U14's narrow defeat
By Andrew Metcalfe
Clacton opener offers positives in an even contest
The Chingford U14's travelled to the edge of the known world at the weekend with only Ipswich between them and (dare I say it) foreign waters. It was an encounter that could have so easily been postponed, but as it transpired was a useful starter for the season.
A lively start saw an evenly contested first five minutes, both teams guilty of fumbles and running the ball back inside. A scrum turnover allowed Clacton to grab an early lead, this despite Ollie putting in a great tackle. A clean conversion opened Clacton's account at 7-0.
A much steadier Chingford pressed well for the next ten minutes and this ultimately allowed Ryan through to give Chingford a return score. The conversion achingly missed off the post so scores were now 7-5.
There now followed a piece of play best described as 'breathtaking'. From a lineout won by Daragh, Ryan, Devin, Oskar, and Josh, Jack drilled the ball out to Seb and then down the line to Ethan, Will and Ollie. Ollie returned the ball back to Will then Ethan and then to Arthur who opened up a sprint from left to right, straightening up and sprinting over the right hand side line. A proper 'coast-to-coast' try and a great team effort. No conversion but scores at 7-10. Half time.
The start of the second half was pivotal, and pivotal in Clacton's favour. A keen substitution married to an effective strategy of switching at the fly-centre to go blindside, opened up our defence and Clacton duly scored a well deserved try and conversion. Score 14-10.
Chingford really battled for the next ten minutes, Kayden repeatedly trying to sprint free, Antonio doing likewise on the other wing. Joe was poised to make a good run only to be checked at the last second. Harry continually pushed for more from the team. Ollie will be wanting for more fullback opportunities.
At one point, some over excitement in the ruck resulted in Chingford players becoming spectators for a few minutes (best way I can describe it without writing out the Froch Groves rematch) and lessons will need to be learned from this. Enough said.
A later try from Clacton sealed it in their favour 21-10 but for most of the game it was very evenly matched.
The reception from Clacton after the match was very good with rousing words from Clacton's U14's coach. As he explained, it is a match that could have easily been postponed but wasn't; both teams need player numbers and both teams played very well. In conclusion, the friendly re-match later in the season will be a good opportunity to keep in touch with a very similar team.
Chingford go away from this match knowing they have the potential to win future games. They also know their potential for winning the drinking games too, something I always knew we'd be good at!