MATT Williams is in an upbeat mood after retaining the majority of his promotion-winning Chinnor side.

Twenty of last season’s squad will stay on as the Thame-based club embark on their first campaign in National League 1.

Centre Danny Barnes, who will remain captain, is one of those players as Chinnor kickstart their preparations for the season-opening fixture at Plymouth Albion on September 1.

Director of rugby Williams has already added Dan George and Paddy Gill to his coaching set-up and is pleased to have a strong playing base to build on.

He said: “I’m delighted with the retention list.

“It was important to keep the nucleus of the matchday 20 and there are some guys in there who really pushed close last year and would have been disappointed not to have broken in.

“They more than deserved a chance to be in the squad in National 1.”

Among those to be given an opportunity is openside flanker Zinny Norman, who was an ever-present in Chinnors 2nd XV – the Falcons – in 2017-18.

Williams said: “He was travelling reserve for the first team a couple of times, but never got on the pitch.

“He was the standout player for the Falcons and he will be one of my three sevens this year – I really hope he gets on the pitch in National 1.

“He is a great example of the Falcons being an important part of what we do.”

Tighthead prop Rory Mason, flanker Alex Bradley and scrum half Mike MacDonald are all moving on.

Winger Luke Hibberd, who scored a try in Chinnor’s play-off final victory over Sedgley Park, has signed for National League 1 outfit Caldy, where he spent a period on loan last season.

But the biggest loss will be fly half Jonny Bentley, who was also backs coach.

Williams said: “He has decided his time is up in England and he is going back to New Zealand via a season in Spain.

“He just felt it was the right moment to bow out of the country with a promotion.

“He will be sorely missed, he was a great player, coach and bloke.”


Ricky Cano, Tom Price, Jack Gilding, Nick Bingham, George Oliver, Jack Ramshaw, Tom Ranaboldo, Ben Manning, Will Bordill, Zinny Norman, Alex Waddingham, Greg Goodfellow, Josh Barton, Bertie Hopkin, Danny Barnes, Alex Dancer, Orisi Nawaqaliva, Oscar Heath, Kieran Goss, George Grose.