After the disappointments of last year, Saturday saw the fruits of a root and branch reorganisation of the coaching structure and the composition of the team and a growing crowd was extremely pleased to see Chiltern turn over Brentwood rather more easily than the score line suggests.

Fielding six new starters in the Chiltern ranks, the crowd were treated to some exciting play combined with an outstanding scrum performance and efficient lineout.

Brentwood have been in the top three of this league for the last three seasons, have a big aggressive pack and ran Chiltern very close twice in their promotion season two years ago.

On a cloudless, warm day at Weedon Lane, both sides had periods of possession and attacking play in the first 15 minutes but generally Chiltern were on the front foot.

Playing controlled rugby and kept in position by new fly half Stuart Pearham, Chiltern built several good phases of play and it was no surprise when the ball was worked quickly to the blind side for new Samoan wing Tala Petolo to outflank the Brentwood defence and to score the first try, nicely converted by Jack Kenyon, 7-0.

The pack were comfortable and, after another long phase of possession, Michael Brothers saw a big gap that gave him the opportunity to score Chiltern’s second, try this time unconverted, 12-0.

The score stayed like this until the last minute of the half. Brentwood worked a very good overlap and only a superb covering tackle stopped a try being scored. From the subsequent lineout on their own 5m line Chiltern inexplicably threw the ball long, made a complete hash of it and allowed Brentwood to score an unconverted try so 12-5 at half time.

The second half was scrappy, with Chiltern being sucked into an arm wrestle rather than using their higher skill level to take them clear.

A period of pressure moved Chiltern up into the 22 and a lovely little kick over the top of the defence by Josh Davis resulted in a blatant obstruction by a Brentwood player. Arguably it could have been a penalty try but the ref gave a yellow card and Kenyon kicked the goal, 15-5. Wasting some good field position let Brentwood back into the game and a well worked move resulted in a converted try, score narrowing to 15-12.

Chiltern calmed down and focussed themselves much better. They took up position in the Brentwood 22 and, after getting closer and closer to the line, an obvious offside prevented a score and the ref had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try, 22-12.

With the clock ticking down, a speculative pass gave Brentwood good field position and the opportunity to score their third try which was converted, 22-19 with four minutes to play. 

In reality, Chiltern were calm in defence and played out time to secure an excellent first win of the season.

Chiltern travel to Old Haberdashers near Watford next week, a side they have not played before.