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RUGBY: Chippenham 22 Old Centralians 17
12:40pm Monday 9th September 2013 in Sport
SKIPPER Bobby Lyons celebrated his 100th consecutive game for Chippenham with a win as they saw off Gloucester's Old Centralians 22-17 in their National Three South West opener at Allington Field.
The home side fielded a slightly changed team with a mixture of established and new players and were missing a number who were unavailable.
Promoted Centralians won the toss and elected to kick-off into the light breeze but made a botch of this and soon Chippenham were on the front foot.
From a resultant scrum, Chippenham won but conceded possession and through their eagerness to win back the ball conceded a penalty. Cents attacked using their preferred option of using the amply sized props as battering-rams and this gained some yards.
The pressure built and they camped in Chippenham territory, the referee eventually producing the first of the game's three yellow cards to Frazer Cliverd for not binding properly.
Despite this the seven-man Chippenham pack held out well but back came the visitors and, when a lineout splintered, prop Sam Preece touched down for an unconverted try..
From the restart, Chippenham showed their ability with swift possession, only for a quick dart by Harry Taylor to be snuffed out.
But when full-back Dom Riccio gathered a clearance, he threw a cut-out pass to Rupert Crockett who created space and found storming winger Matt Rhodes on the outside, who touched down, Taylor converting.
Chippenham were now looking like a side that had swept away the per-season cobwebs and from the restart, Jon Squire caught superbly and scorched back up the pitch, evading three defenders in the process, only for the attack to be broken down illegally.
From the penalty, Chippenham opted to kick for touch and they swiftly won possession and Cliverd crashed over for the second try, with the conversion narrowly missed.
Centralians kept to their attacking pla, but the Chippenham defence, with Crockett, Gary Champion, Lewis Surry and debutant Tom Knight prominent forced the errors.
The second half nearly brought a try for Lyons, but for a slight knock-on and Chippenham missed out on numerous chances to extend the lead.
Cents made a foray into the Chippenham half and again used the attacking prop option, this time freeing scrum-half James Knight to jink his way through the defence and score under the posts, Connor Gwilliam adding the conversion to level the scores.
Chippenham picked up the pace and the introduction of Aaron Clarke added some beef into the attacks.
The pressure built and Cents' number eight Rich Pinkney was sin-binned.
Chippenham attacked and a fine pass from Surry gave Rhodes the space to shoot down the touchline and score his second.
Back came Cents with a real intent, Champion being given a yellow card.
Frome an attacking line-out from, the visitors swiftly moved the ball blindside and impressive winger Matt Humphries touched down to level again.
Chippenham were finally galvanised into playing their typical fast flowing rugby and created chance after chance.
Rhodes was unlucky not to score when he fielded his delicate kick ahead and was held up short.
Chippenham kept on the front foot and, in the last couple of minutes, a solid attacking scrum 15 meters out, saw some quick hands and a forceful run by Riccio who crashed over the line for the winning try and additional bonus point.
Chippenham go to Newton Abbot this weekend.
REACTION & PICTURES FROM SATURDAY'S WIN FOR CHIPPENHAM IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD
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