Chinnor 27-29 Birmingham Moseley
by Paul Smith – Sunday Mercury
Scrummaging power eventually won the day for Birmingham Moseley who edged past Chinnor with their second penalty try awarded from the final play of the game seven minutes into stoppage time.
The home front row conceded 11 set-piece penalties across 80 minutes while the hosts also had four players yellow-carded, with hooker Cameron Terry seeing red as a result of his second sin-binning in the dying seconds.
Despite their disciplinary and scrummaging issues the Oxfordshire-based hosts seemed likely to claim the spoils for much of a match in which they never trailed prior to the contest’s final play.
Things looked especially ominous for Moseley during a first half-hour which – perhaps because it contained very few scrums – saw the free-flowing hosts score three tries while building a 19-7 advantage.
The first of these, which came from a 25-metre driving maul, was touched down by prop Elliot Chilvers and converted by James Bourton.
The visitors responded with a brilliant 60-metre counter-attack score, created by Elliot Bale’s long pass and Andy Bulumakau’s neat inside offload which sent Tom Benjamin racing over for a try which Bale upgraded.
However, Chinnor promptly grabbed two further touchdowns in quick succession. Good forward interplay sent flanker Willie Ryan over for the first of these – converted by Bourton – before Jason Worrall reacted fastest when former Moseley no.10 Caolan Ryan’s chip took an awkward bounce close to the visitors’ posts to claim the score.
The first sign of shifting sands came late in the first half when Moseley won a series of scrum penalties deep in the home 22. The third of these saw Terry despatched to the bin, and when Chinnor infringed again referee Andy Wigley marched to the posts to award a seven-pointer.
Bourton kicked a penalty just before the interval and Chinnor extended their lead to 13 points when winger Kieran Goss coasted over following a midfield turnover four minutes after the restart.
Thereafter Moseley’s scrum dominated the final quarter which started with Chinnor’s former Wasps prop Alex Hunt (scrum offence), their scrum-half Jack Walsh plus Moseley replacement winger Aquile Smith, who were both guilty of deliberate knock-ons, in the sinbin.
After missing a good chance when they opted against spreading the ball wide against 13 defenders, Moseley made little headway until Isaac McNulty broke two tackles to claim a brilliant long-distance individual try.
Allsop’s conversion hit the bar, but when he kicked a simple penalty to bring Moseley within range three minutes remained.
And this was enough time for Moseley to camp in the home 22, Terry to see red and the visitors’ juggernaut pack to win the match-clinching penalty try in a heart-stopping finale.
Tries: Chilvers, Ryan, Worrall, Goss
Cons: Bourton (2)
Tries: Penalty Try (2), Benjamin, I.McNulty