RAMS Director of Rugby Seb Reynolds paid tribute to the outstanding defensive display which helped Chinnor secure their National One Christmas No. 1 slot following the 21-7 defeat at Kingsey Road.

In a top-of-the-table contest, Rams took the lead when Ben Atkins burrowed over from close range, Fraser Honey with the extras at the end of the first quarter.

However, Chinnor rallied superbly and having sealed a penalty on their own five-metre line, worked their way down-field before the outstanding Luke Carter touched down on the right.

George Worboys nailed a brilliant conversion, and after Charlie Robson was sin-binned for a knock-on, James Bourton went over on the brink of half-time.

Worboys again knocked over the kick, and he did the same again when Connor Brockschmidt rumbled over six minutes into the second period.

Rams rallied, but they met a defensive wall of the highest intensity and execution which ultimately limited them to the tiniest of scoring chances.

And Reynolds admitted: “Chinnor absolutely deserved to win and credit to them, they had an extra energy to their game and while we started well – going a try up and knocking on the door again – they defended well, did a good job at the breakdown slowing us down and it was one of those nights.

“It didn’t go our way, if we’d gone another try ahead maybe the game goes in a different direction, but it goes with discipline.

“Early on we were good, they gave penalties away and we were 7-0 up, but then there’s a five-penalty swing, a yellow card and then two scores to them.

He continued: “At half-time we’re well in the game and even when they go 21-7 up we believe we can come back, we were knocking on the door, but I can’t fault the players and it’s 1-1 in terms of fixtures this season!”

In front of a colossal crowd of 2,437 – the biggest ever at Chinnor – the two sides threw punch after punch at each other which again showcased the talent on display at Level Three of the English game.

But the hosts’ know-how – led by the brilliance of second row George Merrick and Carter – helped them dictate the tempo through-out the contest, Rams’ mistakes continually punished.

And the DoR admitted: “What we have to learn is these games swing on small moments.

“We didn’t fire enough at them – we need to be bolder in these games and really go for it, try and take it by the scruff of the neck.

“(The mistakes) It’s no-ones fault, it’s just the rub if the green, the way the ball bounces and one of those things.

“You’d love for everything to stick in your hands, run in loads of tries, but it wasn’t to be.

“Our defence was superb against some very big boys, they looked good in attack but we forced some errors and it’s a continuation of what we’ve done in the first half of the season.”

One player who again caught the eye was former Rams’ Mini, George Makepeace-Cubitt, whose David Campese-esque footwork conjured a couple of breaks and hints at a bright future back at Old Bath Road.

Other young players such as props Paddy Harris and Paul Englezos, replacement back row Calum Scott and Makepeace-Cubitt allowed the head coach to look forward positively as he said: “George came on and challenged the line, took it to them and it was fantastic to see a teenager come on and having that fearless approach to the game.

“Our side is improving. There are new faces coming in and while the cohesiveness is going to take some time, I’m pleased with where our game is at and how we’re attempting to evolve it – you’ll have knocks along the way and it’s all part of it.”

The defeat drops Rams to second place in the National One table – three points adrift of Chinnor – but with 12 games to go, the second half of the campaign promises to be every bit as exciting as both the first half and the extraordinary conclusion to 2022.23.

And Reynolds ended: “We take loads from a very positive first half of the season.

“The guys have done an amazing job; they’ve earned a break and they’ll come back ready to go – we cannot wait for the Ramily to continue to join us.”

Rams next host Sedgley Park on Saturday, January 13.