NATIONAL 2 SOUTH
CHINNOR suffered last-gasp agony to lose 21-20 at home to Shelford, despite outscoring them three tries to two.
The hosts led 20-9 with 15 minutes to go, but Shelford’s powerful pack came on strong, with replacement Redmond Newberry being driven over for the winning try from the final play.
It was payback for the Cambridgeshire club, who were beaten 24-19 thanks to a last-minute try from Chinnor’s Tristan Corpe in the reverse fixture.
Shelford, therefore, lifted the Tom Wood Cup, which was presented by Atlet in memory of the Chinnor player who died last year aged 38.
Thame-based Atlet was Wood’s employer and also has strong links with Shelford.
While most local fixtures fell foul of the wet weather, Chinnor’s Kingsey Road surface held up well.
Defeat leaves Chinnor 11th and just 12 points above the relegation zone.
With the wind behind them, Chinnor had much the better of the opening half.
Shelford fly half Elliot Bale kicked them ahead with a fourth-minute penalty.
Chinnor took the lead when prop Joe Pickett finished off an excellent driving maul.
It got even better for the hosts on 25 minutes, when fly half Will Millett took advantage of a mix-up between Shelford wing Shingai Chiwanga and full back Adam White to run in try No 2.
Millett, who converted his own try, deserved credit for chasing wing Leo Fielding’s kick, but Shelford had plenty of time to clear their lines.
Chinnor player-coach Matt Goode was then sin-binned for a third match running after an altercation with Shelford lock Ed Mills, who was also yellow-carded.
However, Goode’s side maintained their attacking momentum and wing Joe Marston was held up after breaks from Millett and lock Andrew Tibbatts.
As half-time approached, Chinnor struck again with a fine stretching finish from Marston after Goode and Millett created space on the right.
Chinnor’s intensity dropped in the second half as Shelford fought their way back.
Bale slotted a penalty before Chinnor replacement Tom Whelan was sin-binned for a high tackle.
Another Bale penalty made it 17-9 and Marston went off injured after sliding in well to stem a Shelford attack.
Chinnor enjoyed more territory and were rewarded with a Millett penalty.
But they conceded too many penalties and kicked the ball away too often when they needed to close it out.
Shelford gave themselves hope with a pushovertry from No 8 Rupert Ransom on 76 minutes, which Bale converted for 20-16.
Chinnor still lacked the necessary control and suffered a sickening blow when Newberry went over in the final minute.
Chinnor: Stoop, Marston (G Blewitt 60), Goode, Barnes, Fielding, Millett, Jones, Winpenny (Titchard-Jones 77), Townsend (Whelan 46-56 [blood]), Pickett (Whelan 70), Tibbatts, Smith, Hastings, Harrison, Gilbert (capt). Rep not used: Vickers.
Referee: C Howard (London).