10:00am Friday 27th September 2013
By Mark Edwards
CHINNOR head coach Matt Goode admits he has been delighted – but slightly surprised – at his side’s flying start to the season.
The National 2 South team go into tomorrow’s clash at home to Redruth having won three out of three.
And after a turbulent summer which saw new head coach Craig Chalmers leave three months after joining, a fast start to the campaign was not expected.
Coupled with some heavy defeats in the summer, including a 107-5 loss against London Welsh, there was a lot of scepticism ahead of the the season.
“A lot of people thought we would struggle because of what happened with Craig,” Goode said.
“We didn’t have the best of pre-seasons and I did fear it could be a long, long season.
“But it’s down to the boys at the club, who have all been superb.”
He added: “We have belief in what we are doing as coaches, but didn’t know the lads would respond this well to us.
“It’s made the team stronger and some of the onus has come onto the senior members of the squad, who have been phenomenal.”
Chinnor name the same squad as in last week’s 24-19 win at Shelford, with Will Millett likely to come into the starting XV.
Goode has two more matches before having surgery on a thumb.
“My operation has been brought forward and I will obviously be out for a while,” he said.
“But I’m already looking at other options, and some of those might work better than if I was playing – although I maybe shouldn’t say that,” he joked.
Henley Hawks hope to have fly half James Comben and prop Dai Maddocks back from injury for a trip to Coventry in National 1.
But prop Dave Manning is out after suffering a double fracture to his fibula last week.
Simon Perry is added to the squad as cover for the backs.
Coventry lie third in the table, having won all three games so far.
Oxford Harlequins bid to also make it four wins out of four when travelling to South West 1 East basment boys Salisbury.
Matt Edney comes in for the unavailable Nick Marshall, while it’s all change on the bench as Jackson Achilles and Richard Battson return and there’s a first call for Kiwi back Mike Lee.
“The league is still sorting itself out, so don’t read too much into them being bottom. It will be a hard game,” said head of rugby Steve Chadbone.
Wing James Monks replaces Rhys Morgan as the only change for Witney’s home clash with Reading.
Morgan is on the bench, with Lee Douglas missing from the squad that won 42-24 at Cheltenham.
Grove travel to Buckingham after getting off the mark with a 30-24 win over Windsor last week.
Henley Hawks (v Coventry, away): from Milford-Scott, Had-field, Penny, Brennan, Maddocks, Woodward, Reeves, Dwyer, Stapley, Long, Haynes, Carter, Allen, Comben, Awcock, O'Neill, Baggett, Wells, Nutt (capt), Perry.
Chinnor (v Redruth, home) from Jones, Cathcart, Fielding, Millett, Goode, Farr, Mountford, Whelan, Winpenny, Wood, Hopwood, Corpe, Tichard-Jones, Vickers, Berry, Mowbray, Gilbert, Tibbatts, Hastings, Smith, Hirskyj-Douglas.
Oxford Harlequins (v Salisbury, away): Robinson, Johnson, Walsh, Fisilau, Seals, Norris, Jones, Edney, Rodriguez, Boulton, Purchase, Brown (capt), Bennett, Selby, Toupou. Reps: Achilles, Battson, Lee.
Witney (v Reading, home): H Lamb, Monks, J Lamb, Hyde, L Collins, Thomas, G Campbell, Richardson, A Copperwheat (capt), Richens, Bennett, M Copperwheat, Hicks (capt), Muller, Rowles. Reps: Burke, C Campbell, Morgan.
Grove (v Buckingham, away): from R Sevier, Carr, N Sevier, B Nichol, G Nichol, Maryon, Gustafson, Eckert (capt), Wall-bridge, Lane, Miles, Wright, Peel, Young, Gratwohl. Reps: Wilk-inson, Haire, Bellinger.
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