Old Redcliffians 10-11 Amersham & Chiltern
AMERSHAM & Chiltern survived a late scare to edge a relegation thriller in Bristol against Old Redcliffians - and save themselves from the drop.
The Bristol side were two points ahead of Chiltern going into the match, so it was a winner-takes-all contest with the loser going down.
A huge number of supporters travelled down from Amersham to cheer on the side and their efforts were rewarded, but Chiltern made rather heavy weather of it and could so easily have lost in the final quarter of the game.
Chiltern fly half Rob Smalley landed a penalty for the visitors after 10 minutes to put the first points on the board.
Ten minutes later, and more Chiltern pressure brought an even greater reward, with flanker Wayne Wilson crossing the line. The conversion was missed, but at 8-0, Chiltern were in the driving seat.
Chiltern lost centre Ross Bugden to injury mid-way through the half and Jack Perkins came in at fly half, with Rob Smalley moving to the centre and they turned around with the lead intact.
Recliffians still fancied their chances in the second half, playing with the wind and the slope, and after 20 minutes, some sustained pressure told with a converted penalty bringing the score up to 8-3.
For much of the half, however, Chiltern seemed the likelier team and only fumbles in the act of scoring, a penalty carelessly given away, or the ball lost in a tackle, denied them reward.
A Smalley penalty made it 11-3, but from the restart, the home side forced a scrum on the Chiltern 22m line. A Redcliffians centre appeared to knock-on from the set piece and Chiltern players stopped, expecting another scrum to be awarded in their favour. It was a fatal error and the hosts scored to bring the score to 11-10 with 10 minutes to go.
Redcliffians threw everything at Chiltern and had three chances to snatch victory, with two penalties and a drop-goal attempt that all went just wide.
The final whistle brought huge cheers of relief and jubilation from the travelling support. The celebrations started immediately, and went on well into the nigh