Saturday morning dawned to find Alex Nielsen laid low by a stomach bug necessitating a change on the wing. In addition, Alex was due to bring four other players with him and they had to rapidly rearrange their transport plans. Matt Farnes was called up from the As to replace Alex, making it to the club for the bus in less than 30 minutes.
Arriving at Chinnor, the pitch was in excellent condition and bathed in sunshine with a breeze blowing down the slight slope. A short sprint was enough to further disrupt proceedings, with Matt Miles forced to pull out due to a hamstring problem. Kieron Dawson was added to the bench, although he arrived late due to traffic problems.
Chinnor kicked off with the wind and slope in their favour, the ball was knocked forward at the receipt and three missed tackles later Stoop was in under the posts for the home side. Cathcart converted and The Raiders were behind with two minutes gone. (7 0)
The visitors set about getting into the game but their rugby was not in the usual flowing style. Two clear cut chances for scores on the left wing were squandered and a promising break on the right was thwarted by a deliberate knock on by the home No. 8 Kava, earning him a ten minute rest. In the 25th minute a series of phases led to Rob Smith powering over near the posts and Matt McLean added the extras. (7 7)
Within five minutes the home side had retaken the lead. An attempted grubber kick struck a Raiders boot and ricocheted millimetre perfect into Chinnor hands. With the defence caught flat footed the ball carrier drew Matt McLean and then passed inside to Gray who grounded under the posts to give Cathcart an easy conversion. (14 7)
The visitors attempted to press for another equaliser but turned over possession and allowed the home side to set up field position for a kick to the corner. As McLean ran back to field the ball it took a vicious bounce backwards, struck him just below the throat and bounced into touch for an attacking lineout 7 metres from the Raiders line. Chinnor secured the ball and having drawn the defence in tight spun the ball out wide for Fielding to score, Cathcarts conversion being the last score of the half. (21 7)
Jordan Burns replaced Kieran Leeming at half time and The Raiders started the second half in fine style, pressure from the kick off, phases, a flowing move and, with a minute gone, McLean finishing under the posts to give himself an easy conversion. (21 14)
Back in the game, the visitors had a couple of promising moves but concentration lapsed after a knock on was called and the home side broke through for their bonus point try which Cathcart converted. (28 14)
Within four minutes the gap had closed again after Harry Sloan finished off a move with good acceleration and staying strong in the tackle. (28 21)
Two minutes later, another defensive lapse allowed Chinnor second row Mowbray to run in for his sides fifth try and again put them two scores ahead. The conversion was missed but a late penalty ended the game with the Raiders empty handed. (36 21)
A disappointing result but Chinnor were organised and committed, kept to their game plan and were well worth their win. Elsewhere Henley defeated Launceston but not by a huge score, whilst Hartpury scored heavily at home to Barking. Clifton won the local derby with Lydney and Dings picked up four points at home to Bournemouth, whilst Taunton had a good win on the road at Southend. Next weeks opponents Redruth defeated Canterbury at home 36 19. Hard work for The Raiders on the training field this week and also for the physios in the treatment room.
Team: Cleveland Pointing, Burns (Joe), Stutchbury, Barlow, Heaver, Hewick, Smith, Leeming, Dudley, Farnes, Sloan, Richards, Maslen, McLean. Subs: Dawson, Clayton, McIntyre, Govett, Burns (Jordan).