National 2 South
Chinnor 38, Taunton Titans 29

CHINNOR proved the league table right when they came from behind to claim the full five points they required to stay in the mix for a playoff place with one week to go, writes Keith Brooking.

It must be said, though, that the Titans – vying for fourth spot – pushed them all the way.

It was the home side that started brightly, putting the Titans under pressure early on and from a powerful scrum that turned over the Titans ball the Chinnor number 8 Tom Burns crashed over in the seventh minute.

Former Cornish Pirate and Gloucester fly half John Bentley converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead.

Taunton then started to get into the game and had the upper hand against Chinnor’s large pack.

While under pressure the Chinnor back row Alex Bradley got a yellow card, and with a kick to the corner from the penalty the Titans pack rumbled forward for hooker Jon Gatford to score on 20 minutes, with Gary Kingdom converting from the try-line to tie the score.

The visitors then took the lead when number 8 Arron Gibbs showed great strength to power over for a 28th-minute try, and with Kingdom’s conversion it made the score 14-7 to the visitors.

Taunton then extended their lead on the stoke of half time with a carbon copy of the first try, as from a kick to the corner the pack drove over for Gatford to claim his second try.

Kingdom missed the conversion from the touchline, but still the Titans led 19-7 at half time.

Chinnor are unbeaten at home in the league this season and the second half showed why.

Five minutes after the restart Burns claimed his second try to close the gap to seven points.

Kingdom kicked a penalty to make it 22-12, but Chinnor then took control.

With a yellow card for Titans captain Nick Mason for a deliberate knock on and the referee awarding a penalty try in the process, the home side closed the gap to three points with Bentley’s conversion on 56 minutes.

While Taunton were down to 14 men Chinnor showed their experience and used the extra man well, scoring a further two tries and effectively finishing the game as a contest.

First over was winger Charles Broughton, followed by centre Daniel Barns, and with Bentley converting Broughton's score the hosts took a 31-22 lead.

The Titans tried to get back into the game but a turnover lead to a further try for Chinnor, scored by hooker Jamie Townsend and converted by former Redruth scrum-half Greg Goodfellow, giving them a 16-point lead with five minutes to go.

Taunton pushed for a bonus-point try and were rewarded in the last minute when scrum-half Lewis Webb belly flopped over the line.

A full-blown skirmish erupted from nowhere before Kingdom could kick the conversion and bring the game to a strange end, with the home side deserved winners.

Chinnor: Goss, Hibbard, Barnes, Armitage, Broughton, Bentley, Goodfellow, Price, Darlington, Tyack, Osazuma, Manning, Thorpe, Bradley, Burns.
Replacements: Hutchinson, Townsend, Pienaar, Fatialofa, Strang.

Taunton Titans: Kingdom, Massy-Birch, Mason (captain), Popham, Fraser, Landray, Webb, Chase, Gatford, Tribble, Persey, Lonsdale, Harbison, Frost, Gibbs.
Replacements: Rhodes, Roofe, Lugg, Lawday, Siddle.

Referee: Mr Veryan Boscawen

Attendance: 793