Chess Valley 1stXV — Gladiators

Gladiator’s ruthless end game topples Chess Valley

OAs Gladiators complete home and away wins against Chess Valley 1st XV with resilient first half defence and blitzing second half attack.

Man of the Match Connor Mitchell celebrates with fellow Colts stars George Middleton, Sam Atkinson and Charlie Ringland

Another week, and another game on the road for The Gladiators in filthy conditions, but this did not prevent the Gladiators playing their brand of fast and accurate rugby, built of disciplined and resilient defence.

Having narrowly beaten Chess Valley early in the season OAs knew they would use their sizeable pack in attempt to pummel us through multiple carries and rucking to score. OA’s response to this game plan was to play up hill in the first half, defend strongly and exhaust their large pack, hoping to be in touch at half time and use the slope and OA’s superior fitness and speed from their Colts and youth to blitz the second half. And so it was to be.

The first ten minutes consisted of many phases of this dogged style of rugby. In the filthiest of conditions The Gladiator’s defence held firm and OAs cleared their lines after ten minute’s of defence to return Chess Valley back to the halfway.

After the line out OAs aggressive counter-rucking created opportunity to sack the scrum half, but Chess Valley’s prop risked both penalty and backache by illegally holding Rob Fenton’s ankles. To get the referee’s  attention, and potentially Pep Guardiola’s, Rob’s committed a flailing, comical dive. The referee awarded the penalty to OAs, then reversed it, stating that Rob’s theatrics were too ‘aggressive’.

Comedy over, but the incident had tragedy, as Chess Valley now had a line out on OA’s 5 metre line. After many short pick and goes were resisted, Chess Valley successfully ground out the first score. Converted 7-0.

OAs were unconcerned, knowing Chess Valley would eventually tire, and space would open up for them. From the restart OA’s chased down Chess Valley and forced a turn over. Fast play on the left wing from Toby, Jimmy and Fernando resulted in Fernando breaking into the 22 close to the touchline. Obviously concerned that his captain Rob could earn D*** of the Day for his theatrics, he magnanimously touched the ball down on the 5 metre line instead of the try line, to become the lead contender for the honour!

OA’s first score eventually came from a turnover on OA’s ten metre line. Jimmy McCormick and Devon Graham broke brilliantly down the right, Devon popped inside to Rob Fenton who took the ball into the 22, pinned the full back and released No. 8  Maish, who brushed off the winger to score in the corner. Unconverted score: 7-5, game on, from a well executed counter attack.

At thirty minutes, the sodden shirts were hanging heavier on Chess Valley’s pack, and spotting a mismatch in midfield the rapid winger Fernando stepped and gassed into the space behind to score the second try, this time on the correct line. Converted 7-12.

Chess Valley are a team that never gives up, and they camped for the rest of the half inside OA’s 22. At a five metre line out Connor Mitchell tackled their jumper preventing their characteristic driving maul, a tactic he heroically performed all day long to great success. Chess Valley resorted to pick and goes, running through over ten phases from within five metres of the try line. Through discipline and heroic hits, particularly from George Middleton, Connor Mitchell, and Sam Atkinson – three young Colts were relishing the opportunity to destroy senior men. So OA’s defence held firm. Half-time. And the first part of the game plan executed heroically and accurately.

OA’s launched into the second half with renewed vigour, and the slope. A halfway line break from replacement winger Hugo Rawlinson resulted in a penalty for OA’s from Chess Valley killing the ball. OAs formed a maul from the penalty driving within the 22. Rob released the ball to flyhallf Toby who drew in his opposite number, popped inside to the unmarked Maish who flew towards the posts and offloaded out-the-back to centre Niall who slid in to score between the posts. Easily converted 7-19.

OA’s next score was initaited by the flying Irishman Jimmy McCormick who attacked from his own half and chip-chased into the opposition 22. The ball was quickly recycled, and Charlie Ringland flung a huge and accurate pass to George Middleton, and whilst he ignored the open Devon Graham on the wing, he shouldered the opposition’s largest forward five metres backwards to the delight of the Colt’s coaches on the touchline. He set-up the ruck, and after two more phases from Sam and Lloyd, Connor Mitchell smashed over from two metres out to score.

Converted 7-26.

OA’s back row continued to exert huge defensive pressure on Chess Valley, causing their ten to lose possession on the halfway. Toby distributed to the onrushing centre Charlie Ringland who took the ball flat and spotted full back Jimmy out-the-back, flinging a deft pass behind the winger, for Jimmy to take at full pace and break the defence to score.

Converted 7-33.

Chess Valley launched an attack from the restart with their lock crashing through the OA’s defence and ten metre line. Captain Rob chased and tackled the lock three metres short of the try line, but injured his thumb and went off, and was replaced by Charlie Ringland at 9. At this moment Connor, having secured his Man of the Match performance, wanted more trophies and announced that “Charlie’s now captain everyone!” despite Vice Captain and pack leader Steve Maishman standing right behind him. D*** of the Day well earned against ferocious competition.

Well done 😉

Shortly after, Chess Valley got just-reward for their continued aggressive mauls, rucks and disciplined retention from the forwards to score in the corner.

Unconverted 12-33.

OAs would finally cap off an exhilarating performance and expertly executed game plan with a Fernando special. Catching a clearance kick in middle of his own half, Fernando looped thirty metres horizontally to the left wing, evading tiring defenders and using a narrow channel on the touchline sprint another fifty metres to score. Converted by Toby for 83% kicking stats.

FINAL SCORE: Chess Valley 1st XV  12 –  OAs Gladiators 40

Massive performance from the Colts debutants Charlie Ringland and George Middleton, and also his second match for Gladiators No. 5 Sam Atkinson who judging by the colour of his shirt at the halftime photo, put in more hits and work than any other forward!

The OAs are certainly happy with talent like this coming through the ranks.

Well done lads.

1 Gyan Rhodes. 2 Russell Atwood. 3 George Middleton. 4 Connor Mitchell.
5 Sam Atkinson. 6 Lloyd McConkey. 7 Lyle Stewart. 8 Steve Maishman (vc).
9 Rob Fenton (c) 10 Toby Daley. 11 Tanyaradzwa Fernando. 12 Niall Keane .
13 Charlie Ringland. 14 Devon Graham. 15 Jimmy McCormick.

Alan Kirk (Gyan Rhodes), Pete Doyle (Lloyd McConkey), Hugo Rawlinson (Tanyaradzwa Fernando), Tanyaradzwa Fernando (Rob Fenton)

Steve Maishman, Tanyaradzwa Fernando x2, Niall Keane, Connor Mitchell, Jimmy McCormick
Toby Daley 5 from 6

Connor Mitchell

Rob Fenton
Gladiators Captain

Match Gallery


Chess Valley Rugby Football Club
Chess Valley Rugby Football Club, Croxley Guild Of Sport, The Green, Croxley Green, Rickmansworth WD3 3HT, UK

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