MATT Williams is expecting a scrum battle when Chinnor and Rams lock horns tonight.

The mouth-watering clash at Kingsey Road is the Thame-based club’s first league match on a Friday night and the stage is set for a thrilling derby.

Chinnor head into the fixture fourth in National League 1, just two places and nine points behind the visitors.

There was little to separate the sides in Berkshire in September and director of rugby Williams expects a similarly bruising encounter.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

“It’s always a spicy game when we play Rams.

“It’s two very committed teams and everyone knows what is coming – two big packs going at each other hammer and tongs.

“The team that comes out on top is going to be the one that gets the upper hand in the set piece – scrummaging will be big.”

Williams added: “Back to my days as a player, I used to love a game under lights.

“I don’t know why, but it certainly changes the feel and the atmosphere.”

Chinnor began the new year with a 54-7 win at Hull Ionians last weekend.

Williams was particularly pleased with the second half performance and the impact made by his replacements.

“It’s good,” he said.

“At this level when you only have five on the bench they have to make an impact, you have to have players who can cover multiple positions and that was seen on Saturday.

“It adds exciting selection problems as opposed to worrying about having enough players fit.

Henley Hawks host a formidable foe in the form of Taunton Titans in National League 2 South.

Tomorrow’s visitors are third in the table, just four points and one place below Luke Allen’s men, and triumphed 25-17 when the sides met earlier this season.

Samir Kharbouch starts at centre following his return from injury, with Jack Robinson dropping to the bench, while Tom Emery returns at hooker.

In South West 1 East, Oxford Harlequins make three changes for their home game against bottom club Salisbury.

John Derrick comes in at scrum half, Martin Nutt starts at centre and Tony Turetta is at full back.

Grove will look to increase their lead at the top of Southern Counties South with a win over second-placed Frome.

Ben Nicholl comes in for Rauf Birler (concussion) in the only change to the starting line-up.

Witney make two changes for their derby at home to Didcot in Southern Counties North.

Gareth Campbell replaces the unavailable Arron Lambourne and Reiss O’Callaghan Howard makes his first team debut.


Chinnor (v Rams, home): from Ehizode, Dancer, George, Goss, Harries, Hodson, Kirwan, Laverick, Manning, Marley, May, Parilli-Ocampo, Ramshaw, Rees, C Ryan, W Ryan, Selway, Southworth, Tyas, Watson, Worrall, Yawayawa.


Henley Hawks (v Taunton Titans, home): G Wood, G Griffiths, X Andre, S Kharbouch, R Norville, B Bolster, E Fenley, G Primett, T Emery, C Hughes, J Albon, D Hyde, M Lowe, S Lunnon, A Bradley. Reps: R Mason, Z Clarke, W Bordill, J Wright, J Robinson.

Oxford Harlequins (v Salisbury, home): C Cashman, R Painton, J Hopkins, A Purchase, F Myatt, J Crowe, N Harris, M White, J Derrick, E Yeates, J Henderson, C Williams, M Nutt, M Henderson, A Turetta. Reps: S Graddon, S Macdonald, A Moore.

Grove (v Frome, home): D Hales, S Dixey, T Grundy, M Roberts, P Miles, B Law, R Gratwhol, B Nicholl, O Nicholl, J Wiltshire, H Lewis, T Clipsham, G Nicholl, S Tokelove, A McCarthy. Reps: J Monks, K Lambourn, G Hook.

Witney (v Didcot, home): D Wilson, R Harris, S Morris, D Webb, M Webb, L Allen, J Edwards, R Coe, G Campbell, T Puddle, R Morgan, C Godfrey, M Clarke, R O’Callaghan Howard, T Gaffney. Reps: R Dore, F Ayris, J Merriman.