Chinnor 24 Tonbridge Juddians 20
TONBRIDGE JUDDIANS had been in poor form recently but they left that back at home as they travelled to Chinnor in Oxfordshire and put up a valiant challenge against the second-placed side in National Two South.
On 15 minutes Chinnor opened the scoring through No 8 Ben Manning, but TJs hit back with Mike O’Sullivan crashing over after a series of picks and drives, fly-half Jonny Bentley converting.
Nathan Holmes’ conversion attempt from wide out hit the post and bounced back, so TJs trailed 7-5 at the break but were certainly still in the hunt.
In fact they took the lead just after the interval. Lock Luke Bellinger broke away from the maul and a long cut-out pass found flanker Richie Bent in space and able to cross for TJ’s second try.
The conversion was wide but now TJs were ahead 10-7. Chinnor hit straight back as slick, close passing saw Manning force a break in TJs’ defence to cross for his second, Bentley adding the extras.
Galbraith-Lowe got back to scoring ways with an effort of his own, though the conversion went astray again to go 15-14 ahead.
Chinnor had to go for a penalty to get back in front at 17-15. After a nail-biting passage of play in which territory was hotly disputed, the hosts eased their nerves with a break on the right wing which ended in a try for Tom Ranaboldo.
Bentley converted to give them a cushion of nine points at 24-15. The home side’s defensive line was proving very difficult to break through so fly-half Liam Prescott decided to go over it with a cross-field kick.
This time Watson made no mistake. He caught the ball and crashed over in the corner. Once more there was no conversion but with the score at 24-20 TJs were at least in possession of two bonus points: one for their four tries and one more for being within seven points of the victor.
Chinnor Director of Rugby Matt Williams said: “TJs were the best team to come to Kinsey Road this season. We lost the collisions in the first half, we took our chances but credit to Tonbridge who made us work very hard.”
Tonbridge would have taken two points but after a superb effort they came away wanting more.
Another challenge awaits on Saturday as third-placed Cinderford arrive at The Slade (kick-off 3pm).